Sacketts Harbor, April 19, 1813
Your letter of the 4th reached me this morning – and as it states that you are all well, was productive of much pleasure.
I have been to Kingston, (Canada) with a Flag of Truce, and have therefore had an opportunity of seeing some of our Enemies. The rest of the men enlisted in your neighborhood are all well except Andrew Aston, who had his feet froze on the march to this place….
I shall send enclosed in this letter a certificate of the pay due Charles Wilson at the time of his death.- The Certificate must be presented at the War Office, in Washington City for payment. Their best way will be to get Grandfather Lambert, to carry it on when he goes to Washington again.
…We are now living in small Log huts without, chimneys, or windows, and you will judge from this description, that they are not quite so comfortable as the generality of the Houses in your country. However we have got use to this mode of living and can be as cheerful here as in the best quarters in the world. We now have very fine fish in abundance that are caught in these Lakes.
Lieut. Runk is now at this place in good health. He appears to be too lazy to write as I have frequently wished him to do- He told me today he had written but one letter since he left home. Give my love to Susan and William. My respects to Grandfather Lambert Grandfather Hoppock and all enquiring friends and relations. Tell Maria and the Girls in the neighborhood that I frequently think of the many fine frolics we had once, and that I hope to be amongst them again to torment them as much as lays in my power. Tell Wm Prall, that I shall write him again as soon as we give our British friends one good Drubbing. Wishing you and all our friends may enjoy good health, I remain Yours Affectionately
John Lambert Hoppock
P.S. We have this day received orders to embark, on board the ships tomorrow – what is to be our place of destination, or our fate, time alone can determine. Goodbye.
John L. Hoppock, 15th Infantry
“Let my fate be what it may, I assure you that my name shall not be coupled with that of Dishonor, nor shall my friends ever blush with shame that they assisted me in procuring my present appointment.” —John L. Hoppock November 17, 1812 , Captain 15th Regiment U. S. Infantry
Pike’s Oath: “We solemnly swear, that we will defend this standard against all the enemies of our country, and that we will never desert it in the field of battle or hour of danger, so help us God.”
Extract from a Letter from Lieut. Fraser, Aide de Camp. to Brigadier- General Pike, Published in the Aurora, of Philadelphia, May, 1813:
“We embarked the 22d and 23d of April last; the weather being stormy we returned into port and sailed again on the 25th, and arrived at York in Upper Canada the 27th, about 7 o’clock a. m., and immediately prepared to land opposite the old site of Fort Toronto. A body of British grenadiers were paraded on the shore, and the Glengarry Fencibles, a corps which has been disciplined with great pains for six months past, appeared at another point. Bodies of Indians were perceived in large groups in different directions, and a considerable number in some woods and underwoods on our leeward flank. About the site of the old French fort of Toronto, of which scarcely any vestiges at present remain, we could discern a few horsemen, who we perceived afterwards moving into the town, where strong field works had been thrown up to oppose our landing. As soon as the horsemen had entered the town we saw the Indians moving in gangs along the skirts of the woods under the direction of British officers, taking post at stations pointed out to them, apparently calculated with some skill as to the point at which the water and the weather must compel us to land. After these Indians, acting as tirailleurs, were thus disposed we perceived very distinctly the regulars moving out of their works in open columns of platoons and marching along the bank in that order. When they reached the plain of the old fort Toronto they were wheeled off by heads of platoons into the woods and soon appeared in the same order below the plain, just at the position at which our troops were under the necessity of landing. Major Forsyth and his excellent and gallant rifle corps, who had been placed in two large batteaux, palled undauntedly towards the cleared ground where he had been ordered to land, but he was forced by the wind a considerable distance below his destined point. The fire of musketry and rifles here commenced from the shore, the enemy being within a few feet of the water and in a considerable degree masked by the wood and copse. Here Major Forsyth ordered his men to rest for a few moments on their oars and soon opened a galling fire upon the enemy. In the moment when Forsyth’s corps were lying upon their oars and priming, Gen. Pike was standing on the deck, and, impatient at the apparent pause of an instant and seeing that the rifle corps had been driven by the wind beyond the point at which they were to have disembarked, exclaimed : ” By I can’t stay here any longer,” and addressing himself to his staff : ” Come, jump into the boat,” which we immediately did, the Commodore having reserved a boat specially for him and his suite. The little coxswain was immediately ordered to steer for the middle of the fray, and the balls whistled gloriously around, probably their number was owing to seeing so many officers in one boat, but we laughed at their clumsy efforts as we pressed forward with well pulled oars. The infantry had, according to orders, embarked at the same time and formed platoons as soon as they reached the shore. The General took command of the first platoon he reached and formed it below, and ordered the whole to prepare for a charge as soon as we reached the top of the bank. We proceeded in high spirits and mounted the bank under a volley of musketry and rifle shot, but we had not time to force our platoon completely when the British grenadiers showed us their backs. At the very moment of their turning tail the sound of Forsyth’s bugles was heard with peculiar delight, as it was the indication of his success ; the effect of the bugle upon . the nerves of the British Indians was electric, for they no sooner heard it than they gave a diabolical yell and fled in all directions. , The Glengarry corps skirmished with Forsyth’s while the infantry were landing, and Brigade-Major Hunter formed the troops for action as they landed and reached the plain. The volunteer corps, commanded by Colonel Maclure, flanked the reserve, and the light artillery, commanded by Major Eustis, acting as infantry, covered the left. It is proper to state in this place the masterly co-operation of Com. Chauncey and the naval squadron under his command. He sent his schooners mounting heavy metal to cover the landing, and kept up so well directed and incessant a fire of grape on the woods as to effectually cover our right flank and afforded us great facility in forming our platoons, besides producing the utmost consternation among the Indians. A shot from one of the schooners killed a horse under the aid of the British General, but owing to the shallow ness of the water neither the ship nor the brig could be brought in to participate in the action, but the Commodore was through the whole of the action in his- boat, encouraging and giving orders to the different schooners. The navy lost two gallant midshipmen and about 20 seamen were killed and wounded in the service of landing. The troops ordered to land by General Pike when he went on shore were the three companies of Captain Hoppock, (who was mortally wounded in the boat,) Capt. Scott and Capt. Youngs of the 15th Regiment United States Infantry, all under the command of Major King, (the same who gallantly distinguished himself at Queenston,) their orders were to reinforce Major Forsyth and effect a landing, and they were forbidden to load or use powder ; the riflemen of Forsyth, as the enemy came up, opened a heavy and effective fire upon the enemy, and the three companies landed in the most complete style: the enemy gave way before our troops could come to the bayonet’s point, and were pursued up the bank by our troops. At the top of the bank a fresh body of British grenadiers, (said to be the 8th or King’s grenadiers,) made a formidable charge on this column of ours and compelled us for an instant to retire, but our troops instantly rallied and returned to the charge, and with the most complete success, not a man of the grenadiers escaped our fire or charge, and our troops, just reinforced by the remainder of the 15th, remained undisputed masters of the bank. This reinforcement brought the colors of the 15th, which accompanied the platoon of Capt. Steele. / The enemy presenting a fresh-, front the troops were instantly formed for the charge by Major King, who gave them Yankee Doodle, but the enemy did not like our music nor our pikes any better than our rifles — they gave way and fled in the utmost disorder. As soon as our forces were all landed and collected we were formed into platoons and marched in that order towards the enemy’s works, flanked by the rifle corps. Our march was by the lake road in sections, but the route was so much intersected by streams and rivulets, the bridges over which had been destroyed by the enemy as they retreated, that we were considerably retarded in our progress ; we collected logs and by severe efforts at length contrived to pass over one field piece and a howitzer, which were placed at the head of our column in charge of Captain Fanning of the 3d Artillery, and thus we proceeded through a spacious wood, as we emerged from which we were saluted by a battery of 24-pounders, but excepting some pikes broken and some bayonets bent these guns gave us no annoyance. The General then ordered one of his aids (Fraser) and a sergeant to proceed to the right of the battery in order to discover how many men were in the works. We did so and reported to him the number and that they were spiking their own guns towards the shipping. The General immediately ordered Captain Walworth of the 16th, with his company of grenadiers, to make the assault. Walworth gallantly ordered his men to trail arms and advance at the accelerated pace, but at the moment when they were ordered to recover and charge the enemy broke in the utmost confusion, leaving several men wounded on the ground, which they abandoned. We then proceeded in admirable order on a gradual ascent, when a fire was opened upon us of round and canister from the quarters of the British Governor. The General here ordered the troops to lie close while the artillery battery under Major Eustis was brought to the front and silenced the enemy’s battery. The firing very soon ceased altogether, and we were expecting a flag of surrender at the very moment when a terrible explosion of the British magazine took place. The explosion was stupendous, and at the instant the common supposition was a subterraneous mine. The General had just aided in removing a wounded man with his own hands and set down on a stump with a British sergeant we had taken prisoner, whom the General with Captain Nicholson and myself were examining when the explosion took place. The General,’ Captain Nicholson and the British sergeant were all mortally wounded, and I was so much bruised in the general crash that it is surprising how I survived ; probably I owe my escape to the corpu lency of the British sergeant, whose body was thrown upon mine by the concussion. Brigade-Major Hunter, assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell of the 3d Artillery, who acted as a volunteer upon the expedition, formed the troops and we were ready to give or receive a charge in five minutes after the explosion. The wounds of General Pike were of such a nature as to dis able him from all further service, and the command devolved on Colonel Pearce of the 16th Infantry, as the senior officer, who sent a flag demanding an immediate surrender at discretion. They made only one stipulation, which was granted without hesitation, that is, that private property should be respected. The British General made his escape and a body of regular troops with him, in what direction I have not heard. When the surgeons were carrying their wounded General and his aids from the field our troops, which had just formed, gave a tremendous huzza. The General turned his head anxiously to enquire what that was for. A surgeon who accompanied him said: ” The British Union Jack is coming down, General, the Stars are going up ;” he heaved a heavy sigh of ectasy and smiled even amidst the anguish which must have been inseparable from the state of his wounds. He was carried on board the Pert schooner, together with his Aid-de-camp Fraser, and from thence on board the Commodore’s ship, accompanied by the Commodore, who came to attend him. On board the Commodore’s ship his gallant spirit fled.” (File in Philadelphia Library.)
The Capture of York:
“The following is given as an accurate list of the (Americans) killed and wounded at York, Upper Canada, April 27. Killed in battle — 1 subaltern, 2 sergeants, 1 corporal, 2 musicians, 8 privates 14 Killed by explosion — 1 captain, 4 sergeants, 4 corporals, 29 privates 38 Total killed 52 Wounded in battle — 2 captains, (one since dead,) 1 subaltern, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 22 privates 32 Wounded by the explosion — 1 Brig-Gen., (since dead,) 1 aid-de camp, 1 acting aid, 1 volunteer aid, 6 captains, 6 subalterns, 11 sergeants, 9 corporals, 1 musician, 185 privates 222 Total wounded 254 Killed 52 Of the navy — 2 midshipmen and 1 seamen killed, 11 seamen wounded ; …. 14 Total killed and wounded 320” (Niles’s Weekly Register, 12th June, 1813.)
Return of Killed, Wounded, Prisoners and Missing of the (British) Troops at York under the Command of Major-General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe, on the 27th (April):
Kingston, May 10th, 1813.
Royal Artillery — Three gunners killed; one driver wounded and prisoner, one bombardier, three gunners prisoners; total 9.
8th or King’s Regiment — One captain, one sergeant-major, four sergeants, 40 rank and tile killed; two sergeants, two rank and file wounded, 25 rank and file wounded and prisoners, one rank and file missing; total 77.
Royal Newfoundland Regiment — One sergeant, one drummer, ten rank and file killed; one drummer, six rank and file wounded ; one lieutenant, three sergeants, one drummer, eight rank and file wounded and prisoners; two rank and file prisoners, two rank and file missing; total 36.
Glengarry Light Infantry — Two rank and file killed; one ensign, three rank and tile wounded; three rank and file missing.
49th Regiment — Three rank and file wounded and prisoners; two rank and file missing, in hospital; total 5.
One captain, one sergeant-major, four sergeants, one drummer, fifty-two rank and file killed ; one ensign, two sergeants, one drum mer, thirty rank and file wounded ; one lieutenant, four sergeants, one drummer, thirty-six rank and file, one driver, wounded and prisoners ; six rank and file, one bombardier, three gunners, prison ers ; six rank and file, one gunner, missing.
NAMES OF OFFICERS KILLED AND WOUNDED.
Killed — 8th or King’s Regiment — Captain McNeal, Volunteer Donald McLean, Clerk of the House of Assembly. Wounded — Royal Newfoundland Regiment — Lieutenant De Koven, (prisoner.) Glengarry Light Infantry — Ensign Robins, slightly. General staff — Captain Loring, 104th Regiment, slightly. Incorporated Militia — Captain Jarvis, volunteer; Mr. Hartney, barrack master. No return yet received of the loss of the militia.
Richard Leonard, Acting-Deputy- Assistant- Adjutant-General.
Edward Baynes, Adjutant-General, North America.