James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Daniel Parker, 11 August 1813

From Daniel Parker

War office August 11th. 1 o’Clock

D. Parker, of the War office, has the honor to enclose to the President of the United States the first report of the commandant of the fortress at Lower Sandusky, stating the result of the enemy’s attack on that place, on the 2d instant.1

The details, as reported by Genl. Harrison, will be published in the paper of tomorrow.2

No other communication of moment has been received at the War office since General Armstrong left town (yesterday at 4 P.M.).3

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, ML). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Enclosed was a copy of Maj. George Croghan’s 3 Aug. letter to William Henry Harrison (1 p.) reporting that the troops under his command had repelled a British attack on Fort Sandusky the previous evening. The British had lost “at least 200 killed, wounded & prisoners,” while the U.S. losses were “but one in killed, & but few wounded.”

2Harrison wrote John Armstrong on 4 Aug. 1813, enclosing Croghan’s letter to him of 3 Aug. After bombarding Fort Sandusky with little effect, Harrison reported, the British had attempted to storm it, and had just entered the ditch surrounding the fort when “a masked port hole was suddenly opened and a six pounder with an half load of powder and double charge of leaden slugs, at the distance of 30 feet poured destruction upon them.” The surviving British troops “retired in disorder,” removed most of the dead and wounded during the night, and departed “with the utmost precipitation.” Before the battle, an emissary of the British commander, Gen. Henry Procter, had demanded that the U.S. forces surrender the fort or face massacre by Procter’s Indian allies, “whom it was impossible to control.” The American representative replied “that it was the determination of Major Croghan, his officers and men, to defend the garrison, or be buried in it.” Croghan, Harrison declared, although only twenty-one years old, was “a hero worthy of his gallant uncle (general Geo. R. Clark).” Harrison’s letter was printed in the Daily National Intelligencer on 12 Aug. 1813.

3Armstrong was on his way to the northern theater of the war, where he attempted to direct the fall campaign from Albany and Sackets Harbor. His efforts were less than successful. Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson, the senior officer in the region, did not appreciate Armstrong’s interference, and Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton, stationed at Lake Champlain, threatened to resign if forced to take orders from Wilkinson, whom he despised. Plagued by Wilkinson’s repeated illnesses and delays in moving troops and supplies, Armstrong was unable to orchestrate an assault on Kingston or to coordinate the movements of his two feuding generals in an attack on Montreal. Having failed to achieve either of the main objectives of the campaign, he returned to Washington in late December (Skeen, John Armstrong, 137, 138, 159–61, 162–66).

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