This article was found pasted into a scrapbook entitled, “1838 Patriot War.” The scrapbook is located at the Flower Memorial Library Genealogy Department at Watertown, New York. This article, one of a series written by L. N. Fuller, was copyrighted in 1923 by the Brockway Company, Publishers of the Watertown Daily Times. The series appeared in the Watertown Daily Times in March, April, and May of 1923. John B. Johnson, Jr., Editor/Co-Publisher of the Watertown Daily Times has granted me permission to incorporate these pieces on my website. I feel very honored to have been given this permission. (Shirley Farone)
Attempt To Get Patriots
Back To American Shores
Little Force Depleted By Casualties and Desertion Hangs
Grimly On to Position, Waiting For the End -- Truce
Granted to Bury the Dead -- American Troops Prevent
Communication Between Two Countries.
NORTHERN NEW YORK IN THE PATRIOT WAR
By L. N. FULLER
(Copyright, 1923, by the Brockway Company, Publishers of the Watertown Daily Times.)
To Preston King, the postmaster at Ogdensburg, was entrusted the delicate task of conveying the information to the Patriots. Volunteers boarded the vessel which went to the vicinity of Windmill Point. One of the volunteers, a member of a Hunter’s Lodge, who knew the passwords of the organization, went to the stronghold. The steamer was obliged to lay off shore a considerable distance as there was no wharf and passage had to be made by a small boat.
This messenger had an interview with Von Schoultz and asked him which he would prefer, a boat to take the force away or 600 reinforcements. “Send the 600 men and we will get away ourselves,” was the reply. The messenger gave information that reinforcements might be expected and advised the Patriots to hang to their position.
After waiting some time a small boat pushed out from the shore, rowed by two men, and containing one wounded man. Then those on the Paul Pry learned for the first time that the Patriots expected reinforcements. Mr. King, himself, went to the windmill and saw Colonel Von Schoultz, telling him that he entertained false hopes and that not more than 20 men would join him. He stated the folly of holding out for any further length of time and tried to persuade Colonel Von Schoultz to take advantage of the opportunity that was offered.
The divided councils rising from the report of the reinforcements caused a delay and at last Colonel Von Schoultz asked Mr. King if he would remove the wounded to the American side where they could receive proper attention. The wounded were conveyed to the bank of the (not legible) where they lay in the rain and (not legible).
Those on the Paul Pry became impatient and insisted that the steamer return. Mr. King was thus reluctantly compelled to give up his entreaties and he went on board the steamer. Before the Paul Pry would get the wounded on board the steamer Experiment, which had finished her repairs, hove in sight and cut off any further opportunity of rescue. The Paul Pry returned to Ogdensburg with five or six men who had given up the fight, including one who was severely wounded.
With heavy hearts those in the windmill went to the shore and removed to their uncomfortable beds in the mill the wounded, who had hoped to go to the American shore where they would receive the attention that their wounds demanded.
Late that afternoon the British returned heavier artillery, 32-pounders from Kingston and when they were endeavoring to place them in position one of the wheel horses was killed and the team ran away. The attempt to get the guns in position that night was abandoned.
Thursday night was even more gloomy than those preceding it. The Patriot force by death, desertion, wounds and capture had dwindled down to 117 men who were able for service. Captain Heustis was approached by two of his men who had found an old canoe. They said that they had determined to get back to America, and as the canoe held three they gave him the opportunity to make his escape. He told them that he did not blame them for trying to make their escape, that they had fought well and that nothing would be gained by remaining, nothing but death or capture awaited them, but that he felt that he could not desert the young men whom he had persuaded to join the hazardous enterprise.
That evening the steamer United States, in charge of Captain Vaughan of the navy, started back to Sackets Harbor. She met the British steamer Brockville which ordered her to stand to and send a boat aboard. The skipper of the United States refused to answer to their insulting demand and continued on. The British steamer followed for some distance and then turned around, continuing on to Prescott, where she bought some more artillery.
The greatest excitement prevailed in Watertown during the progress of the battle of the windmill. There were no daily papers in the village then and most of the information was received in private letters from Ogdensburg or by persons who had come from there. The wildest rumors were afloat, and the force of the British was variously estimated at from 1,000 to 5,000 men. One report reached Watertown before the battle was over that the entire Patriot force had been captured and all had been executed. Another report was that all had been killed while resisting the attacks of the British.
The battle was resumed on the morning of Friday, Nov. 16. The British had been reinforced by 400 regulars and by gun boats with ordnance heavy enough to batter down the windmill. They set themselves systematically at work to accomplish their mission. An 18-pounder was posted back of the mill, a gunboat below the mill and an armed steamer above it, so that a converging fire could be poured in. They were beyond the range of rifle shot. The firing was kept up until 1 in the afternoon with no appreciable effect. At that time the British sent out a flag of truce asking for an armistice to bury the dead and a two hours’ respite was granted. Two wounded British who had been carried into the windmill by the Patriots so that they would be out of harm’s way were turned over to the attacking force.
When the truce had expired firing was resumed by the British and the battle raged once more. During the whole of Thursday a white flag had been displayed by the Patriots and it had been fired on and they finally nailed it to the side of the stronghold, where it continued to remain all day.
In the meantime the British had received further reinforcements until their force was about 2,600 men, together with gunboats and armed steamers which lay in the river. The Patriots made the startling discovery that their cannon balls were exhausted, so they loaded their cannon with scrap iron and fired point blank into the British, causing considerable damage. Once in a while the British fired a six-pound shot which exactly fitted the cannon of the Patriots, and they eagerly seized on it, rammed it home and sent it back to the British.
During all this time the United States steamer Telegraph with Colonel Worth and two companies of American troops on board cruised up and down, preventing any communication between the Patriots and their friends on the American side. Hunter C. Vaughan, son of Captain Vaughan of the Telegraph, was one of the band of Patriots at the windmill and seeing his father pacing the deck of his ship, he waved his hand at him.
Towards night Colonel Abbey proposed to Colonel Von Schoultz that the force surrender to avoid further bloodshed. Colonel Von Schoultz told him that he could do what he thought best. Abbey told his men not to surrender, but to hold out to the last. He then went to the enemy and surrendered. He later told the men that he took his action in hope of persuading the British to spare them. As for himself, he said that he knew what his fate would be as he was a high officer. His fears were not ungrounded as he was later hanged at Kingston.Index of All Patriot War Articles
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