The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Defence of Stonington (Connecticut)
Against a British Squadron, August 9th to 12th, 1814, by J. Hammond Trumbull

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Title: The Defence of Stonington (Connecticut) Against a British Squadron, August 9th to 12th, 1814

Author: J. Hammond Trumbull

Release Date: October 18, 2008 [EBook #26946]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jane Hyland and the Online Distributed
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[Pg i]


Defence of Stonington



AUGUST 9TH TO 12TH, 1814.

"Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona."

[Pg ii]


[Pg iii]


[Transcriber's Note: the various spellings of Ramilies have been retained in the text.
Similarly, some opening quotes are not always matched with closing quotes.]


Introductory Notepage v
Record of the extraordinary Attack on Stonington9
Names of Volunteers, from the Connecticut Gazette20
Muster-roll of Capt. Wm. Potter's Company22
Account of the Attack, published by the Borough authorities24
Letter from Capt. Amos Palmer to the Secretary of War33
Extract from Gen. Root's Speech in Congress, 181737
The Battle of Stonington, by Philip Freneau38
Celebrations of the Anniversary42

[Pg iv]



he repulse of a British squadron, at Stonington, by a few undisciplined volunteers, having only two effective guns, imperfectly protected by a low earth-work,—and this repulse accomplished without the loss of a single life,—was not the least glorious achievement of the War of 1812-14. The fiftieth anniversary of the action is close at hand. Few who witnessed,—only three or four who participated in it, survive. In this day of great events, when armies and navies are gathered on a scale of magnitude of which our fathers never dreamed,—when from the heights of modern science, we look back to the guns and the ships of war of the last generation, as to the toys of childhood,—when we are in the very crisis of a war greater in itself, and waged for a grander issue, than the world has hitherto witnessed,—it is not surprising that so few find [Pg v]leisure or inclination to look from the present to the past, or to recall to memory the heroism of their fathers.

Yet there are some for whom the story of The Attack has not yet lost its interest. They learned it in childhood, from the lips of those who shared the perils and the glory of the action. They grew up, amid associations which could hardly fail to kindle an honest pride in their birth-place. To them, the "Tenth of August" was not merely a school-holiday, but an anniversary entitled to equal honors with Independence Day itself. They have helped draw the "old Eighteens," through the streets of the Borough, in solemn procession to the site of the demolished Battery. They have seen the cherished Flag—pierced and torn in a dozen places by the enemy's shot,—float again from the flag-staff, in honor of the day: and some of them were standing by when "Old Hickory" bared his head to salute it, and bade the citizens preserve, with all care, this precious memorial of the courage and patriotism of their townsmen.

It is for these—the companions of my own school-days,—and in honor of the volunteers of 1814, that I have reproduced some of the contemporary accounts of the attack and defence of Stonington. The first (pp. 9-20) was written by Col. Samuel Green, the pub[Pg vi-vii]lisher of the Connecticut Gazette, who visited the Borough during the action, and obtained his knowledge of facts of which he was not an eye-witness, from the actors themselves and from official sources. This account, printed in the Gazette, of August 17th, was copied into many of the newspapers in the northern states, and appeared in Niles's Weekly Register, November 5th, with some additional particulars.

Following this, are copies of the muster-roll of the Borough company of militia; the official account furnished for publication by the magistrates, warden and burgesses (pp. 24-32); and a letter from Capt. Amos Palmer, chairman of the citizens' committee of defence, to Mr. Crawford, secretary of war, containing a concise narrative of the action. Philip Freneau's Battle of Stonington,—though not of the highest order of lyric excellence,—challenges favorable comparison with many of the loyal effusions which have found their way to the public, during the present war; and will be welcomed as an old friend by some who value patriotism more than poetry.       T.

Hartford, Conn., July 28th, 1864.

[Pg 8]


[From the Conn. Gazette, Aug. 17th, 1814.]

Record of the Extraordinary Attack on Stonington. [1]

New London, August 17, 1814.


n Tuesday the 9th instant, at 5 P. M. the Ramilies, 74, Pactolus, 38, a bomb ship, and the Dispatch, 22 gun brig, arrived off Stonington, and a flag was sent on shore with the following note—

"On board his Majesty's Ship, Ramilies,
Stonington, Aug. 9.

To the Magistrates of Stonington.

Gentlemen—One hour is allowed you from the receipt of this communication, for the removal of the unoffending inhabitants.


[Pg 9]

This notification was received by two magistrates[3] and Lieutenant Hough of the drafted militia, who went off to meet the flag. The officer was asked whether a flag would not be received on board. He said no arrangements could be made. They inquired whether Com. Hardy had determined to destroy the town. He replied that such were his orders from the Admiral, and that it would be done most effectually.

When the gentlemen reached the shore, a crowd waited with great anxiety for the news; which being stated, consternation flew through the town. An express was despatched to General Cushing,[4] at New London. A number of volunteers hastened to collect ammunition; others ran to the battery, which consisted of two 18 pounders and a 4 pounder, on field carriages, with a slight breast work, 4 feet high. The sick and the aged were removed with haste: the women and children, with loud cries, were seen running in every direction. Some of the most valuable articles were hastily got off by hand, others placed in the gardens and lots, or thrown into wells, to save them from the impending conflagration. The sixty minutes expired, but the dreaded moment did not bring the attack. Nelson's favorite hero and friend was seized with the compunctions of magnanimity;—he remembered what ancient Britons were; he remembered that something was due to the character of Sir Thomas M. Hardy. Three hours in fact elapsed, when at 8 in the evening the attack was commenced by a discharge of shells from[Pg 10] the bomb ship. Several barges and launches had taken their stations in different points, from whence they threw Congreve rockets, and carcasses. This mode of attack was continued incessantly till midnight; and the fire was returned occasionally from the battery, as the light of the rockets gave opportunity with any chance of success.

The few drafted militia which had been sometime stationed there, under command of Lieutenant Hough, were placed in the best directions to give an alarm in case a landing should be attempted. During the night the volunteers and militia had assembled in considerable numbers; and the non-combatant inhabitants had generally removed to the neighboring farm-houses, in the momentary expectation of seeing their abandoned dwellings in flames. It was a night of inexpressible anguish to many a widow and orphan, to many aged and infirm, whose little pittance they were now apparently to lose forever. But Providence directed otherwise. This compact little village of 100 buildings had been for four hours covered with flames of fire and bomb shells, and not a single building was consumed nor a person injured.

At the dawn of day on the 10th, the approach of the enemy was announced by a discharge of Congreve rockets from several barges and a launch, which had taken their station, on the east side of the town, and out of reach of the battery. Several volunteers, with small arms and the four pounder, hastened across the[Pg 11] point, supposing the enemy were attempting a landing. Colonel Randall of the 13th regiment, who at the time was moving towards the battery with a detachment of militia, ordered them to assist the volunteers in drawing over one of the 18 pounders to the extreme end of the point; the fire of which in a few minutes compelled the barges to seek safety in flight. During this time the brig was working up towards the Point, and soon after sunrise came to anchor, short of half a mile from the battery, (or more correctly, the breastwork). Our ammunition being soon exhausted, the guns were spiked, and the men who fought them, being only about 15 or 20,[5] retired, leaving them behind for want of strength to drag them off.

The brig now continued deliberately to pour her 32 pound shot and grape into the Village, without our having the power of returning a shot, for an hour, and the bomb ketch occasionally threw in shells. A fresh supply of ammunition being obtained, the 18 pounder was withdrawn from the breastwork, the vent drilled, and the piece taken back again, when such an animated and well directed fire was kept up, that at 3 o'clock the brig slipped her cable and hauled off, with her pumps going, having received several shots below her water line, and considerable damage in her spars, &c. During this action between the eighteen pounder and the brig, Mr. Frederick Denison was slightly wounded in the knee,[6] by a fragment of a rock, and Mr. John Miner, badly burnt in his face by the premature di[Pg 12]scharge of the gun. The flag, which was nailed to the mast, was pierced with seven shot holes,[7] the breast-work somewhat injured, and 6 or 8 of the dwelling-houses in the vicinity essentially injured. At this time a considerable body of militia had arrived, and Brigadier-General Isham[8] had taken the command; the inhabitants had recovered from the consternation of the first moments; and were deliberately moving off their furniture and goods. At 1 o'clock the Ramilies and Pactolus had taken stations about two and a half miles from the town, when resistance appearing hopeless, the Magistrates as a last resort applied to the General for permission to send a flag off, being impressed with the opinion that there must exist some latent cause of a peculiar nature to induce a commander who had heretofore distinguished himself for a scrupulous regard to the claims of honorable warfare,—to induce him to commit an act so repugnant to sound policy, so abhorrent to his nature, so flagrant an outrage on humanity. The General, we understand, would not sanction, nor did he absolutely prohibit, a flag being sent. They, therefore, on their own responsibility, sent on board the Ramilies, Isaac Williams and Wm. Lord, Esquires, with the following letter.[Pg 13]

Copy.)        Stonington August 10, 1814.

To Sir Thomas M. Hardy,

Sir—Agreeable to notice received from you yesterday, this town is now cleared of "unoffending inhabitants," and they feeling anxious about the fate of their village, are desirous to know from you, your determination respecting it. Yours, &c.

Amos Denison, Burgess.
William Lord, Magistrate.

The deputation proceeded on board the Ramilies, and shortly after an officer informed the boatmen that they might return to the shore, as the gentlemen would be landed in a boat from the ship; and that Captain Hardy had declared that no further hostilities would be committed against the town. After remaining on board an hour, or more, the deputation were conveyed in a flag from the ship, which was met by one from the shore. They brought with them a very singular and extraordinary communication. An exact copy cannot at present be obtained, as official etiquette will not permit; but having read it when it was received on shore, as far as memory serves us, it was as follows:

On board H. M. Ship Ramilies, off Stonington, Aug. 10.

Gentlemen—You having given assurances that no torpedoes have been fitted out from Stonington; and having engaged to exert your influence to prevent any from being fitted out or receiving any aid from your [Pg 14]town: If you send on board this ship tomorrow at eight o'clock, Mrs. Stewart, wife of James Stewart esq. late His Majesty's Consul at New London, and their children, I engage that no further hostilities shall be committed against Stonington; otherwise I shall proceed to destroy it effectually.—For which purpose I possess ample means.

T. M. HARDY, Capt.

This letter was received indignantly. No answer was given. It was a fact well known that no torpedoes have been fitted out at Stonington, and that the inhabitants are unfriendly to the system; but neither individuals nor the town have power to prevent their resorting to that place. The condition sine qua non, is truly tragi-farcical. Neither the town of Stonington or the State of Connecticut, had any legal power to comply with it, which Capt. Hardy well knew. And if Stonington Point with its rocky foundations had been in danger of being blown up, scarcely a voice would have been raised to have saved it on such disgraceful terms. The first duty of a citizen we are taught in Connecticut, is to obey the laws. Mrs. Stewart is under the protection of the government of the United States, and the petition of her husband for a permission for a departure is in the hands of a proper authority, who will undoubtedly decide correctly in the case.[9]

Our countrymen at a distance, from the importance Capt. Hardy has attached to the circumstance of Mrs.[Pg 15] Stewart's being sent off to the British squadron, may possibly apprehend that she has received insult, or signified some fears for the personal safety of herself and children.—So far from this being the fact, no lady ever experienced greater civilities from the citizens; as no one has better deserved them. And her feelings during the proceedings at Stonington, demanded the sympathy of her friends.

By the terms offered by Capt. Hardy, it was impossible to discover whether he was most doubtful of his ability to accomplish the destruction of the town, or desirous of a pretext to save it. He assured the gentlemen who accompanied the flag that this was the most unpleasant expedition he had undertaken.

The truce on the part of the enemy having expired at 8 o'clock on Thursday morning, a flag was soon after observed at the battery to be coming on shore, and there not being sufficient time to give information of the fact at head quarters and receive instructions, it was determined by the officer then commanding to send a boat off to receive the communication. Mr. Faxon, of Stonington, took charge of the boat, met the flag, and offered to convey the dispatch agreeable to its directions. The British officer, Lieut. Claxton, questioned his authority to receive it; enquired whether Mrs. Stewart would be sent off; and said he would go on shore. Mr. Faxon replied, that he knew nothing of Mrs. Stewart; and that if he attempted to proceed for the shore, he would undoubtedly be fired on. He continued his[Pg 16] course, when a centinel was directed to fire forward of the boat, but the ball passed through the after sail. They immediately put about and steered for the ship; the lieutenant swearing revenge, for what he termed an insult to his flag.

An explanation of the circumstance was immediately transmitted by General Isham to Capt. Hardy, which he received as satisfactory.

At the moment, a flag had started for the Ramilies,[10] from the civil authority of the town, which was received on board; by which was sent the following letter:—

Stonington Boro', Aug. 14, 1814.

To Thomas M. Hardy, Commander of H.B.M. Ship Ramilies.

Sir—Since the flag went into New London for Mrs. Stewart, and family, General Cushing, who commands at New London, has written, we are informed, to the Secretary of War on the subject, and it is our opinion that the request will be complied with. But whatever may be the result of the communication from Gen. Cushing, you will be satisfied it is not in our power to enter into any arrangement with you respecting her.

From yours, &c.

Isaac Williams,} Magistrates.
William Lord,
Alexander G. Smith,
Joseph Smith,    Warden.
Geo. Hubbard,} Burgesses.
Amos Denison,

[Pg 17]

To this letter, Capt. Hardy replied verbally, that he should allow till 12 o'clock for Mrs. Stewart to be brought on board.[11] At this time the principal part of three regiments of militia had arrived, and the town was perfectly secure against a landing.

At 3 o'clock, the bomb ship commenced throwing shells into the town; and being out of reach of our cannon, the General withdrew the militia, excepting a guard of 50 men who were ordered to patrol the streets for the extinguishment of fire, should any happen. The bombardment continued till evening.

On Friday morning the bomb ship renewed her operations a little before sunrise, while the Ramilies and Pactolus were warping in. At eight o'clock the frigate opened her fire and was soon followed by the Ramilies. At this time the cannon were ordered to be moved to the north end of the town, where they would have been serviceable if an attempt had been made to land under cover of the ships. This was a very hazardous service, as the party would be entirely exposed to the fire of the enemy. Volunteers in sufficient numbers instantly offered their services; among whom were upwards of twenty of the Norwich artillery. The command of the party was entrusted to Lieutenant Lathrop,[12] of that corps. They marched to the battery and brought off the pieces without the smallest accident; exhibiting all the steadiness which characterises veteran soldiers.

This tremendous cannonade and bombardment continued till nearly noon, when it ceased; and about[Pg 18] four o'clock the ships hauled off to their former anchorage.

During the succeeding night a large force was kept on guard, in the expectation and hope that a landing would be attempted. The militia during this afflicting scene discovered the very best disposition, and were eager to take revenge of the enemy or sacrifice their lives in the contest.

It may be considered miraculous that during the several attacks, while so many were exposed to this terrible and protracted bombardment and cannonade, not a person was killed, and but five or six wounded, and those but slightly. Among the wounded is Lieutenant Hough[13] of the drafted militia.

On Saturday morning the enemy relinquished the hope of burning the town, weighed anchor, and proceeded up Fisher's Island sound.

The volunteers who so gloriously fought in the battery, deserve the thanks of their country. No men could have done better. Their example will have the happiest influence.

About forty buildings are more or less injured, 8 or 10 essentially so; and two or three may be considered as ruined. The damage was principally done by the brig. Many shells did not explode, several were extinguished. The Congreve Rockets which were frightful at first, lost their terrors, and effected little.

The inhabitants, fearing another attack, have not returned to their dwellings, and their desolate situation[Pg 19] calls loudly upon the philanthropy of their fellow citizens. If a brief should be granted for collections in the churches of the State we trust very essential aid will be furnished. Nineteen-twentieths of the inhabitants, it is said, have no other property than their dwellings.

A Nantucket man has been on board the British fleet to redeem his boat, and learned that the Dispatch had 2 men killed and 12 wounded; her loss was undoubtedly much greater.


[From the Conn. Gazette, Aug. 24th.]

The following is handed us as a list of the volunteers (tho' presumed not entirely perfect,) of those who so bravely stood the brunt of the attack of Stonington Point:—

Of Stonington:—

Capt. George Fellows,  Gurdon Trumbull,
Capt. Wm. Potter,  Alex. G. Smith,
Dr. Wm. Lord,  Amos Denison jun.,
Lieut. H. G. Lewis,  Stanton Gallup,
Ensign D. Frink,  Eb. Morgan,
John Miner.

[Pg 20]

Of Mystic:—

Jesse Deane,Jeremiah Holmes,
Deane Gallup,N. Cleft,
Fred. Haley,Jedediah Reed.

Of Groton:—

Alfred White,Frank Daniels,
Ebenezer Morgan,Giles Moran.

Of New London:—

Major Simeon Smith,
Capt. Noah Lester (formerly of the Army),
Major N. Frink,Lambert Williams.

From Massachusetts:—

Capt. Leonard, and Mr. Dunham.

[From the Conn. Gazette, Aug. 31st.]

By an error of the compositor, the following names were omitted in the list published in our last paper, of volunteers who so greatly contributed to the glorious defence and preservation of Stonington, viz.:—

Simeon Haley,    Thomas Wilcox,
Jeremiah Haley,    Luke Palmer,
Frederick Denison,    George Palmer,
John Miner,    Wm. G. Bush,
Asa Lee.

There were probably others, whom we have not learnt.[Pg 21]

[From the original in the Comptroller's office, at Hartford.]

Muster Roll of the 8th Company of Infantry under the command of Captain Wm. Potter in the Thirtieth Regiment of Con. Militia in service of the United States, at Stonington, commanded by Lieut. Col. Wm. Randall, from the 9th of August when last mustered, to the 27th of August 1814.—

Names and Rank.  Commencement
  of service.
  of service.
Alterations and Remarks
since last muster.
Captain, William Potter,Aug. 9Aug. 27
Lieut. Horatio G. Lewis,"     9"    27
Ensign, Daniel Frink,"     9"    23{detached for service
and ordered to N.
London, Aug. 22.
Francis Amy,"   19"    27
Charles H. Smith,"     9"    27
Peleg Hancox,"   22"    27
Gurdon Trumbull,"     9"    27
Azariah Stanton jr.,"    16"    27
Junia Cheesebrough,"      9"    27
Joshua Swan jr.,"    22"    27
Phineas Wilcox,"      9"    23{detached for service
and ordered to New
London, Aug. 23.
Hamilton White,"      9"    27
Henry Wilcox,"      9"    23{detached for service
and ordered to New
London, Aug. 23.
Nathan Wilcox,"      9"    27
Samuel Burtch,"      9"    27
Jonathan Palmer,"      9"    27
Andrew P. Stanton,"      9"    27
James Stanton,"      9"    27
Thomas Breed,"      9"        {Volunteer exempt,
discharg., Aug. 17.
Amos Loper,"      9"        {Volunteer exempt,
discharg., Aug. 20.
Samuel Bottum, Jr.,"      9"    27
Benj. Merritt,"      9"        {Produced certificate
of parole on 15th
Aug. & discharged.
Elisha Cheesebrough Jr.,"      9"    27
Christopr. Wheeler,"      9"    23{detached for service
and ordered to New
London, Aug. 23.
Amos Hancox,"       9"    27
Zebadiah Palmer,"     15"    27
Nathl. Waldron,"     15"    27
Thomas Spencer,"     19"    27
Nathl. M. Pendleton,"     20"    27
Simon Carew,"     22"    27
Elisha Faxon Jun.,"     22"    27
Ebenezer Halpin,"     22"    23{detached for service
and ordered to New
London, Aug. 23.
Asa Wilcox Jun.,"     22"    23{detached for service
and ordered to New
London, 23 Aug.
Warren Palmer,"     22"    27
Joseph Bailey Jun.}Waiters,"       9"    27{Waiter to Capt.
Wm. Potter.
Nathl. Lewis,       "      " "    23{Waiter to Lieut.
G. Lewis

I certify, upon honor, that this Muster Roll exhibits a true statement of the 8th Company; and that the remarks set opposite the men's names are accurate and just.

William Potter, Capt.
[Pg 23]

We certify upon honor, that the foregoing Muster Roll exhibits a true statement of Captain William Potter's Company; and that the remarks set opposite the men's names are accurate and just.

John Jamieson Jr., Asst. Adjt. Genl. &
Mustering Officer, per order

Wm Lord, Regimental Surgeon.

Account of the Attack, furnished for publication, by the Magistrates, Warden and Burgesses.[14]

[From the Conn. Gazette, Sept. 7th,]

Stonington Borough, Aug. 29, 1814.

Mr. Green—In relation to the extraordinary attack of the enemy, of the 9th inst., on this village, the public have been furnished with various accounts; and though the circumstantial and generally correct account given in your paper [of the 7th of August,] precludes the necessity of a recapitulation of the whole transaction, yet this village having been the object of the attack and resentment of Sir Thomas, the Magistrates, Warden and Burgesses residing therein, feeling deeply interested that some official document comprehending a supply of some facts not given, and alteration of[Pg 24] others, and a general statement relative to the whole, should be published,—offer the public the following statement:

On Tuesday afternoon of the 9th inst. anchored off our harbor, the frigate Pactolus, the Terror, a bomb ship, and the brig Dispatch of 20 guns. From the difficulty of the navigation in Fisher's Island Sound, we have been generally impressed that such ships of war dare not approach us; but the presumption of the enemy has created new fears, and we think it our duty to say, that further means of defence and protection ought to be afforded us; this we have often requested. Various were the opinions respecting the object of the enemy, but soon all was settled. A flag was discovered to leave the frigate and row towards the town. The impropriety of suffering them to come on more was suggested; and a boat was immediately obtained, Capt. Amos Palmer, William Lord Esq., and Lieut. Hough of the detachment here, selected, and the flag of the enemy met by ours, when we received the following unexpected and short notice—(This not having been furnished the public correctly we give it at length:)

His Britannic Majesty's ship Pactolus,
9th of August, 1814, halfpast 5 o'clock, P. M.

Not wishing to destroy the unoffending inhabitants residing in the town of Stonington, one hour is given[Pg 25] them from the receipt of this, to remove out of the town.

T. M. HARDY, Capt. of H. B. M. Ship Ramilies.

To the Inhabitants of the Town of

From the date of this communication it will appear that Commander Hardy was himself on board the Pactolus to direct the attack; the Ramilies then laying at anchor at the west end of Fisher's Island. The people assembled in great numbers to hear what was the word from the enemy; when the above was read aloud. The enemy in the barge lay upon their oars a few moments, probably to see the crowd and if some consternation might not prevail. Whatever effect was produced, this we know, that Sir Thomas's "unoffending inhabitants" did not agree to give up the ship, though threatened by a force competent, in a human view, to destroy them, when compared with the present means of defence in their power. It was exclaimed, from old and young, We will defend. The male citizens, though duly appreciating the humanity of Sir Thomas, in not wishing to destroy them, thought proper to defend their wives and their children, and, in many instances, all their property; and we feel a pleasure in saying that a united spirit of defence prevailed, and, during the short hour granted us, expresses were sent to Gen. Cushing at New London, and to Col. Randall,[15] whose regiment resided nearest to the scene[Pg 26] of danger. The detachment stationed here under Lieut. Hough was embodied; Capt. Potter, residing within the Borough, gave orders to assemble all the officers and men under his command that could be immediately collected. They cheerfully and quickly assembled, animated with the true spirit of patriotism. The ammunition for our two 18-pounders and 4-pounder was collected at the little breast-work erected by ourselves. The citizens of the Borough, assisted by two strangers from Massachusetts, manned the 18-pounders at the breast-work, and also the 4-pounder. One cause of discouragement, only, seemed to prevail, which was the deficiency of ammunition for the cannon. This circumstance, however, together with the superior force arrayed against us, did not abate the zeal for resistance. Such guards of musketry as were in our power to place, were stationed at different points on the shores. In this state of preparation we waited the attack of the enemy. About 8 o'clock in the evening they commenced by the fire of a shell from the bomb-ship, which was immediately returned by a shot from our 18-pounder. This attack of the enemy was immediately succeeded by one from three launches and four barges, surrounding the point, throwing rockets and shot into the village. This also was returned as often as, by the light of the rockets streaming from the barges, we could discover them. Assisted by the above military force, the inhabitants alone, some seventy years old, defended the town until about 11 o'clock; and had it not been for[Pg 27] the spirited resistance manifested, a landing no doubt, would have been effected. At this time Col. Randall had arrived, and having issued orders to the militia under his command, they began to assemble, and from the short notice given them were truly prompt and active in appearing at the post of danger: some volunteers had also arrived. From this additional strength, the apprehensions of the enemy's landing, in a measure vanished. Their shells, rockets and carcasses, having been prevented from spreading the destruction intended, they ceased firing them about 12 o'clock. All was still from this time until day-light. A fire of rockets and shot from the launches and barges again commenced, which was spiritedly returned from our artillery taken from the breast-work, in open view of the enemy and exposed to their shot, on the end of the point, and they [were] compelled to recede. This truly hazardous service was nobly performed. Col. Randall having been prompt in his appearance, as were all the officers and soldiers of his regiment, they were now organized, ready and eager to receive our invaders. From the spirit manifested among the citizens, volunteers and soldiers, and the judicious arrangements made of the troops assembled, had a landing been attempted a good account would no doubt have been given of them. We were now also assisted by numbers of volunteers. The barges having receded from the fire of our four and eighteen-pounder on the Point, they were taken back to the breast-work.[Pg 28]

About 8 o'clock in the morning of Wednesday, the Brig [Dispatch] hauled within half a mile of our breast-work, and opened a well directed and animated fire. Our few guns being now well manned by citizens and volunteers, from Stonington, New London, Mistick and Groton, they were ready to receive her. Her fire was returned with a spirit and courage rarely to be equalled,—and of those gallant souls who stood this conflict, we can only say, they gloriously did their duty. Heroes having so nobly acted, with ours, will receive the plaudit of their country. What effect such bravery had on the enemy, will appear from the fact, that the brig was compelled to cut her cable and retire out of reach of our shot. Her anchor has since been taken up, with a number of fathoms of cable. No attack was afterwards made by the brig. This contest with the brig (called the Dispatch), continued on our part from the breast-work until the ammunition was expended. To this circumstance, unfortunately for the village and mortifying to those so gallantly engaged in the defence, may be attributed the principal injury sustained by the buildings. For two hours or more, she kept up a constant fire without having it in our power to return a shot: during which time, we are confident, had there been a supply of ammunition, she would have been taught the use and meaning of her name.

The further particulars which transpired on Wednesday and Thursday, having been noticed by you, in[Pg 29] the publication above referred to, very correctly, the public must be satisfied without any comments from us. In the publication of the transactions of Friday, we have discovered one error. Amidst the combined fire of the Ramilies, frigate and bomb-ship, Lieut. Lathrop and volunteers from the Norwich Artillery, in fact did proceed, to undertake in assisting to get off the cannon from the breast-work, but they met other brave lads who had accomplished this hazardous duty. The praise therefore of this performance, however they may have distinguished themselves in other duties, is not correctly bestowed.

In passing the proceedings of Thursday and Friday, we would not overlook the singular communication received from Commodore Hardy, which preceded the fire on Thursday. Two subjects esteemed very important by Sir Thomas seem connected, Torpedoes and Mrs. Stewart,—a lady we presume worthy of the notice even of Commodore Hardy. But a demand made on those with whom, it was well known, no power existed to comply, is not a little extraordinary: besides, this communication is totally different from and unconnected with the one it was sent as an answer to. It would appear from reading the documents, that assurances were given that no torpedoes ever did, or ever should, go from this place. This was not the fact; no promises or confessions of any kind were ever made. To this singular letter no general reply was given; that part, only, [was] noticed, relative to Mrs. Stewart.[Pg 30]

The enemy left us on Friday, without having accomplished that destruction which they told us was to be effected. The damage done the buildings is estimated at about four thousand dollars. This would undoubtedly have been much greater, had not the volunteer vigilant firemen[16] from Capt. Potter's company before mentioned, and others, continued firm at their posts, determined that not a flame kindled by those fiery engines of the enemy but should be extinguished,—and it was done. This duty, perhaps, was as important and useful for the salvation of the village, as any performed during the conflict.

The list of individuals given to the public as distinguishing themselves during the contest, we esteem very imperfect. To give a correct list of all those who did distinguish themselves in the various duties that were performed, is not easy to do; we shall therefore forbear. Having thought proper to bestow a just tribute of praise on the officers and soldiers of the 30th Regiment, who first arrived at the scene of action, it becomes us to express, also, the high sense which we entertain of the services and judicious and soldier-like conduct of Brigadier-General Isham, and the officers and soldiers of the 8th and 20th Regiments, assembled under his command.

During this protracted bombardment, nothing more excites our astonishment and gratitude than this, that not a man was killed on our part. We understand from good authority, the enemy had a number killed and[Pg 31] several badly wounded,[17] in this unprovoked attack upon us.

We have made some estimate of the number of shells and fire carcasses thrown into the village, and we find there has been about three hundred. The amount of metal fired by the enemy will exceed, we think, fifty tons. About three or four tons of bombs, carcasses and shot have been collected.[A]

William Lord,}Magistrates.
Alex. G. Smith,
Joseph Smith,Warden.
Amos Palmer,}Burgesses.
Amos Denison,
Geo. Hubbard,
Thomas Ash,
Reuben Chesebrough,


[A] "Some respectable citizens from motives of curiosity weighed several shells &c., and found their weight to be as follows.

One of the largest carcasses, partly full of the combustible,216lb.
One of the smallest sortdo.103
One of the largest kind empty,189
One of the largest bomb shells,189
One of the smallestdo.90
One, marked on it (fire 16 lb)16

One of the largest carcasses partly full, was set on fire, which burnt half an hour, emitting a horrid stench; in a calm the flame would rise ten feet. Some of the rockets were sharp pointed, others not, made of sheet iron very thick, containing at the lower end some of them a fusee of grenade, calculated to burst, and if they were taken hold of before the explosion, might prove dangerous; one or two persons received injury in this way. They appear to contain a greater variety of combustibles than the fire carcasses.

[Pg 32]

Letter from Capt. Amos Palmer, to the Secretary of War.

[From Niles's Weekly Register, Oct. 21, 1815.]
Defence of Stonington.

The defence of Stonington by a handful of brave citizens was more like an effusion of feeling, warm from the heart, than a concerted military movement. The result of it, we all know, and it afforded sincere delight to every patriot. But the particulars we have never seen so accurately described as in the following concise narrative from the chairman of the committee of defence, to the Secretary of War, of which we have been provided with a copy for publication.—Nat. Intelligencer.

"Stonington Borough, Aug. 21, 1815.
To the Hon. Wm. H. Crawford,
Secretary of War.


The former Secretary of War put into my hands, as chairman of the committee of defence, the two 18-pounders and all the munitions of war that were here, belonging to the general government, to be used for the defence of the town,—and I gave my receipt for the same.[Pg 33]

As there is no military officer here, it becomes my duty to inform you [of] the use we have made of it. That on the 9th of August last [year], the Ramilies 74, the Pactolus 44, the Terror bomb-ship, and the Despatch gun brig, anchored off the harbor. Commodore Hardy sent off a boat, with a flag; we met him with another from the shore, when the officer of the flag handed me a note from Commodore Hardy, informing that one hour was given the unoffending inhabitants, before the town would be destroyed.

We returned to the shore, where all the male inhabitants were collected, when I read the note aloud; they all exclaimed, they would defend the place to the last extremity, and if it was destroyed, they would be buried in the ruins.

We repaired to a small battery that we had hove up—nailed our colors to the flag staff—others lined the shore with their muskets.

At about seven in the evening, they put off five barges and a large launch, carrying from 32 to 9 lb. carronades in their bows, and opened their fire from their shipping, with bombs, carcasses, rockets, round, grape and cannister shot, and sent their boats to land under cover of their fire. We let them come within small grape distance, when we opened our fire upon them, from our two 18-pounders, with round and grape shot. They soon retreated out of grape distance, and attempted a landing on the east side of the village; we dragged a six-pounder that we had mounted over,[Pg 34] and met them with grape, and all our muskets opened fire on them, so that they were willing to retreat the second time. They continued their fire 'till 11 at night.

The next morning at seven o'clock, the brig Despatch anchored within pistol shot of our battery, and they sent five barges and two large launches to land under cover of their whole fire (being joined by the Nimrod 20 gun brig). When the boats approached within grape distance, we opened our fire on them with round and grape shot. They retreated and came round the east side of the town. We checked them with our six pounder and muskets, 'till we dragged over one of our 18 pounders. We put in it a round shot and about 40 or 50 lbs. of grape, and placed it in the centre of their boats as they were rowing up in a line and firing on us. We tore one of their barges all in pieces; so that two, one on each side, had to lash her up, to keep her from sinking. They retreated out of grape distance, and we turned our fire upon the brig, and expended all our cartridges but five, which we reserved for the boats, if they made another attempt to land. We then lay four hours without being able to annoy the enemy in the least, except from muskets on the brig, while the fire from the whole fleet was directed against our buildings. After the third express to New London, some fixed ammunition arrived. We then turned our cannon on the brig, and she soon cut her cable and drifted out.

The whole fleet then weighed, and anchored nearly[Pg 35] out of reach of our shot, and continued this and the next day to bombard the town.

They set the buildings on fire in more than twenty places, and we as often put them out. In the three days' bombardment they sent on shore 60 tons of metal, and, strange to say, wounded only one man, since dead. We have picked up 15 tons, including some that was taken up out of the water, and the two anchors that we got.[18] We took up and buried four poor fellows that were hove overboard out of the sinking barge.

Since peace, the officers of the Despatch brig have been on shore here: they acknowledge they had 21 killed, and 50 badly wounded; and further say, had we continued our fire any longer, they should have struck, for they were in a sinking condition: for the wind then blew at S. W. directly into the harbour. Before the ammunition arrived, it shifted round to north, and blew out of the harbour. All the shot suitable for the cannon we have reserved. We have now more 18 pound shot than was sent us by government. We have put the two cannon in the arsenal, and housed all the munitions of war."[Pg 36]

Extract from the Speech of Gen. Erastus Root, of New York,

In the House of Representatives, on the Bill to provide for the payment of Militia called out by State authority, and not placed under the command of the United States.

[After animadverting with great severity on the affair at Pettipaug point,[19] and the course pursued by Governor Smith, of Connecticut, for the defence of New London]—

"There was one achievement, said Mr. R., which brightened the annals of Connecticut and shed lustre on the American character. He alluded to the Defence of Stonington. A more brilliant affair, said he, had not taken place during the late war. It was not rivalled by the defence of Sandusky, the glorious triumph on the Niagara, nor the naval victories on Erie and Champlain. And yet that heroic exploit is claimed in favor of Governor Smith's militia, and is to gild the pill which we are called upon to swallow. The detached militia, said Mr. R., had nothing to do in that affair. It was achieved by fourteen democrats, volunteer democrats, who were determined to defend the town or perish in its ruins. Commodore Hardy, fearful that that democratic town would send torpedoes among his squadron, demanded a pledge that no harm should be done to his ships. No pledge being given, and after[Pg 37] advising the removal of women and children from the town, the enemy made a vigorous attack, first in barges, and afterwards in a brig of war. This heroic little band, with a single gun mounted on a small battery, drove off the brig as they had before driven off the barges. They sent havoc and death among the enemy,—saved the town,—and crowned themselves with never fading laurels."—The (Hartford) Times, March 18, 1817.

The Battle of Stonington, on the Seaboard of Connecticut.

by philip freneau.

In an attack upon the town and a small fort of two guns, by the Ramillies, seventy-four gun ship, commanded by Sir Thomas Hardy; the Pactolus, 38 gun ship; Despatch brig, and a razee, or bomb ship,—August, 1814.

Four gallant ships from England came
Freighted deep with fire and flame,
And other things we need not name,
To have a dash at Stonington.
Now safely moor'd, their work begun,
They thought to make the Yankees run,
And have a mighty deal of fun
In stealing sheep at Stonington.
[Pg 38]
A deacon then popp'd up his head,
And Parson Jones's sermon read,
In which the reverend doctor said
That they must fight for Stonington.
A townsman bade them, next, attend
To sundry resolutions penn'd,
By which they promised to defend
With sword and gun old Stonington.
The ships advancing different ways,
The Britons soon began to blaze,
And put th' old women in amaze,
Who feared the loss of Stonington.
The Yankees to their fort repair'd,
And made as though they little cared
For all that came—though very hard
The cannon play'd on Stonington.
The Ramillies began the attack,
Despatch came forward—bold and black—
And none can tell what kept them back
From setting fire to Stonington.
The bombardiers with bomb and ball
Soon made a farmer's barrack fall,
And did a cow-house sadly maul
That stood a mile from Stonington.
[Pg 39]
They kill'd a goose, they kill'd a hen,
Three hogs they wounded in a pen—
They dash'd away,—and pray what then?
This was not taking Stonington.
The shells were thrown, the rockets flew,
But not a shell, of all they threw,
Though every house was full in view,
Could burn a house at Stonington.
To have their turn, they thought but fair;—
The Yankees brought two guns to bear,
And, sir, it would have made you stare,
This smoke of smokes at Stonington.
They bor'd Pactolus through and through,
And kill'd and wounded of her crew
So many, that she bade adieu
T' the gallant boys of Stonington.
The brig Despatch was hull'd and torn—
So crippled, riddled, so forlorn—
No more she cast an eye of scorn
On the little fort at Stonington.
The Ramillies gave up th' affray,
And, with her comrades sneaked away.
Such was the valor on that day,
Of British tars, near Stonington.
[Pg 40]
But some assert, on certain grounds,
(Besides the damage and the wounds,)
It cost the King ten thousand pounds
To have a dash at Stonington.

[Few of Freneau's earlier and better poems were so popular as this of "The Battle of Stonington," in its day. All Connecticut boys knew it by heart, and it had an established place among the 'declamations' of school exhibitions. Until within a few years it was to be found in the assortment of every street vender of ballads and patriotic poems,—sometimes in its original form, but more often, with 'emendations and corrections.' In the broad-side from which I first learned it (bought at a stall in the neighborhood of Fulton market, some thirty years ago,) for the twelfth and thirteenth verses was substituted this:—

"They bored the Despatch through and through,
And kill'd and wounded half her crew;
'Till crippled, riddled, she withdrew,—
And curs'd the boys of Stonington."]
[Pg 41]

Celebrations of the Anniversary of the Attack.


Thursday, Aug. 10th, the first anniversary of the battle, was observed as a day of thanksgiving and prayer. The old flag was again hoisted on the flag-staff at the battery: and a procession, formed at that place, marched to the Congregational meeting-house, to listen to a discourse by the pastor, Rev. Ira Hart. On its conclusion, the procession returned to the battery, where the exercises of the day were closed by prayer. "On Friday evening a grand anniversary ball was given; the assembly being both numerous and brilliant."—Conn. Gazette, Aug. 23d.


Celebration at the Borough, on Monday, Aug. 10th. "The company was very numerous, and the business of the day went off with great eclat."—Id. Aug. 12th, 1818.


An Oration was delivered at the Congregational meeting-house, by Rev. David Austin, "characteristic of his talents, patriotism, and eloquence." The concourse of citizens from Stonington and the neighboring towns was unusually large and respectable. An excellent dinner was provided by Major Babcock, at the Borough Hotel, to which a large number of citizens[Pg 42] and invited guests did ample justice. The following were among the volunteer toasts:

By Capt. Edmund Fanning. The Grasshopper Fort[B]—may it never be forgotten by those whom it defended.

By Samuel Copp, Esq. American Eighteen-pounders—as handled in the Grasshopper Fort.

By Gen. J. Isham. August 10th, 1814—May no vile calumniator hereafter attempt to tarnish the hard earned fame of the heroes of that day.

By Gurdon Trumbull, Esq. John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson—Their elevation to the first offices of our government, will demonstrate that sovereignty is yet with the people, and guarantee the defence of our national rights, whether assailed by the pen or the sword.

By Dr. Swift. Capt. Amos Palmer—His memory; his energy and perseverance.

By W. Storer Jun. Gen. La Fayette[C]—Whom God doth bless, we will honor.

By Jesse Dean, esq. Major Simeon Smith—Who made cartridges of his stockings, for our defence, on the day we celebrate.—New London Gazette, Aug. 18th.


The installation of Benevolent Chapter of Royal Arch Masons took place at Stonington, on the anniversary of the attack. The revenue cutters Eagle, from[Pg 43] New Haven, the Newport cutter, and the steamboat Long-branch (Capt. Mather), from New London, brought numerous masonic and other guests,—military companies,—and a band of music. A procession of some three hundred brethren and companions was formed, by order of Doct. Thomas Hubbard, M. E. G. H. P., under the direction of Companions Gen. W. Williams, Samuel F. Denison, and others, as marshals. The procession marched to the site of the battery, where a spacious tent had been erected, with seats for 2500 persons,—and listened to a prayer from the Gr. Chaplain, Rev. Seth B. Paddock, and an Oration by Asa Child, Esq.; after which the new chapter was dedicated in ample form, and the several officers duly installed. A grand dinner closed the exercises of the day.—N. L. Gazette, Aug. 16th.


A grand celebration, on the battle ground, where a large tent had been erected. Among the guests were his Excellency Governor Tomlinson and his staff. The procession formed early in the morning, and marched through the principal streets, escorted by the Stonington artillery and Norwich rifle companies, to the tent,—where an address was delivered by Gurdon Trumbull, Esq.: after which, the procession re-formed, and proceeded to the dinner table (spread in Mr. Faxon's rope walk, under the supervision of Major Paul Babcock). Samuel F. Denison, Esq., presided at the table, assisted[Pg 44] by Major General Wm. Williams, George Hubbard and B. F. Babcock, Esquires. A long account of the celebration, with the toasts drank at the dinner, &c.—is given in the New London Gazette, of August 15th.


[B] "Alluding to a term used by the Rev. Orator of the day."

[C] Gen. La Fayette's arrival at New York was daily expected. He landed at Castle Garden, Aug. 16th.

[Pg 46][Pg 45]


Note 1, page 9.

Stonington Borough, incorporated by the Legislature [of Connecticut,] in 1801, is situated on a narrow point of land about half a mile in length, at the eastern extremity of Long Island sound. On its eastern side lies Paucatuck bay, and on its west the harbour, terminating in Lambert's Cove. It has four [two] principal streets running north and south, intersected at right angles by nine cross streets, and contains about one hundred and twenty dwelling houses and stores. It has also two houses for public worship, an academy, where the languages are taught, and two common schools; two rope-walks, commodious wharves, and ware houses for storage.... In the census of 1810, the town contained 3043 inhabitants, and there are now [1819], 335 qualified electors.—Pease & Niles's Gazetteer of Connecticut.

Note 2, page 9.

Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Bart.—afterwards Vice-Admiral, and G. C. B.,—was at this time not far from thirty-five years of age. He entered the British navy, as a midshipman, at twelve; and was promoted to the rank of commander in 1797, for distinguished gallantry in the capture of a French brig, under the walls of Vera Cruz. He commanded the Mutine brig, in the battle of the Nile,—became the favorite of Nelson, and was appointed to the command of his flag-ship, serving with him, successively, in the Vanguard, the Namur, the St. George, (at the battle of Copenhagen), the Iris and Amphitrion, and the[Pg 47] Victory, on board which Nelson conquered and fell at Trafalgar. Capt. Hardy was created a baronet, in February, 1806; from which period, until 1824, he was almost constantly on active duty in the West Indies and on American stations. He was made a knight commander of the Bath, Jan. 1815, and knight grand cross, in 1831. In October, 1827, he retired from the service; was appointed a lord of the admiralty in 1830; and governor of Greenwich Hospital, in 1834, retaining that office until his death, Sept. 20th, 1839.—Annual Register, vol. lxxxi, p. 363. Dispatches & Letters of Nelson.

[Col. Green gave the substance of this note, from memory. A correct copy of it was published with the official account, in the Gazette of Sept. 7th. Commodore Hardy wrote from on board the Pactolus,—his own ship, the Ramilies, then lying at anchor off the west end of Fisher's Island.]

Note 3, page 10.

Capt. Amos Palmer, and Dr. Wm. Lord. The former was the senior warden of the Borough, and chairman of the committee of citizens who had been entrusted, some months previously, with the preparations for defence. "He was distinguished for his integrity, his republican principles, and his patriotism."—Pease & Niles's Gazetteer, 1819. Capt. Palmer's own account of the attack (in a letter to the Secretary of War,) will be found on pages 33-36. He died at Stonington, March 1, 1816, æt. 69.

Note 4, page 10.

Brigadier-General Thomas H. Cushing, who commanded at New London. After the ratification of peace, in 1815, General Cushing received the appointment of collector of the port of New London, and retained the office till his death, Oct. 19th, 1822, æt. 67.—Hist. of New London, p. 649.[Pg 48]

Note 5, page 12.

An account of the "Bombardment of Stonington" [by the Rev. Frederick Denison] printed in the Mystic Pioneer of July 2d, 1859, contains many interesting particulars, "gathered from the lips of prominent actors in the battle." This account says, "The first men, so far as remembered, that took stations in the battery, were four, William Lord, Asa Lee, George Fellows, and Amos Denison. Just before six o'clock, six volunteers from Mystic, Jeremiah Holmes, Jeremiah Haley, Ebenezer Denison, Isaac Denison, and Nathaniel Clift, reached the place, on foot, and ran immediately to help to operate the gun in the battery."...

... "The battery being small, but few men could work in it, and at this time [later in the morning of the 10th,] it was operated, as nearly as remembered, by Jeremiah Holmes, Simeon Haley, Jeremiah Haley, Isaac Denison, Isaac Miner, George Fellows, and Asa Lee." This list is not complete, but is doubtless correct so far as it relates to the Mystic volunteers.

Note 6, page 12.

The wound proved mortal. Mr. Denison died November 1st, 1814. He was the fourth son of Isaac and Eunice [Williams] Denison, of Mystic, born Dec. 27th, 1795. On the morning of the attack, Frederick,—a youth not yet nineteen years old,—hastened, on foot, to the Borough, to join the little band of volunteers, with whom were already his two elder brothers, Ebenezer and Isaac, and his brothers-in-law, Capt. Jer. Holmes and Capt. Nath. Clift. He went immediately to the battery, where he helped to work the guns, and during the heat of the action, when the match-rope proved unserviceable, volunteered to go out to procure a new supply. While on this dangerous errand, he was struck by a shot from the brig, or, as other accounts say, by a fragment scaled from a rock by a passing ball. The wound was not considered dangerous, and if surgical aid could have been promptly obtained, Mr. Denison's life might have been spared.

In May, 1856, the Legislature of Connecticut made an appropriation[Pg 49] for a suitable monument to his memory, which was erected in Elm Grove Cemetery, at Mystic.—F. D. [Rev. Fred. Denison,] in Mystic Pioneer, Aug. 27th, 1859.

Note 7, page 13.

"The colors on the flag staff were shot through nine times. A fence near by was pierced by sixty-three balls."—Mystic Pioneer. The flag has been carefully preserved, and was in the keeping of Francis Amy, Esq.,—orderly sergeant of Capt. Potter's Company, at the time of the attack,—until his death in 1863. Its future preservation should be insured by depositing it with the Connecticut History Society.

Note 8, page 13.

Jirah Isham, Esq., commanding the 3d Brigade of the State Militia,—in the 3d Division, (William Williams, Esq., Major General.)

Note 9, page 15.

"On Sunday [Aug. 7] a flag came up [to New London] from the frigate Forth, Com. Hotham. The object was to obtain permission for James Stewart, Esq., formerly consul here, to take off his family. Mr. Stewart was on board. General Cushing, we understand, replied that the request would be forwarded to Washington."—Conn. Gazette, Aug. 10th.

Note 10, page 17.

Mr. Gurdon Trumbull was the bearer of this flag, and was accompanied by Dr. Wm. Lord. The boat was rowed to the Ramillies by Noyes Brown and Jabez Holmes. Gen. Isham's explanation of the firing on Lieut. Claxton, under a flag of truce, had not been received by Com. Hardy when the boat with this letter from the civil authority[Pg 50] came along side. The bearer of the letter was met, at the head of the gang-ladder by a lieutenant, and informed that the Commodore was much incensed at the insult offered to the flag, and would not receive any communication from the shore until it should be explained. Mr. Trumbull replied that he came as a messenger from the civil and not the military authorities, and was not instructed to offer any explanation: but, as an eye-witness of the transaction, he would state the circumstances, as they occurred. The lieutenant reported these to the Commodore, and returned with a message that the latter was "perfectly satisfied;" that the defenders of the place were fully authorized to prevent the nearer approach of the flag-boat; and that his officer [Lieut. Claxton] was in the wrong. Mr. Trumbull was then conducted to the cabin, where he found the Commodore, in consultation with all the other commanders of the squadron, and delivered the letter from the Borough authorities.

Note 11, page 18.

This is not exactly correct. He said nothing of Mrs. Stewart; but, after reading the letter, remarked, "I learn from this, Sir, that I am under the necessity of resuming hostilities,—which I shall do, at one o'clock."

Note 12, page 18.

Lieut. John Lathrop, of the Norwich Artillery or "Matross Company" (Capt. Charles Thomas). It will be seen, by the narrative of the magistrates, that Lieut. Lathrop was anticipated in the execution of this service, by a party of volunteers.

Note 13, page 19.

Lieut. Samuel L. Hough, of Canterbury, Lieutenant of the L. Infantry Company (Capt. James Aspinwall), detached from the 21st re[Pg 51]giment of militia,—in the service of the U. States. Lieut. Hough's wound was not serious. He is still living (June, 1864),—and in receipt of a pension from the U. States.

Note 14, page 24.

This account was written by Alex. G. Smith, Esq.

Note 15, page 26.

Col. Wm. Randall, of Stonington, commanding the 30th Regiment of State Militia.

Note 16, page 31.

Too much praise can hardly be awarded to the volunteer firemen, who, during the whole of the engagement, continued to patrol the streets, watching the fall of every rocket and shell, and extinguishing fires as soon as lighted. Two of this band may be named without injustice to others, as having rendered efficient and constant service,—Capt. Charles H. Smith and Francis Amy, Esq., both serjeants in Capt. Potter's company. Capt. Thomas Swan was not less active or persevering. He remained in the Borough, (except for an hour's visit to his family, placed in safety at a farm house, a mile distant,) from the beginning of the attack till the departure of the ships; serving, as necessity required, with the volunteer firemen, and with the guard stationed on the east side of the Point to prevent a landing of the enemy from their boats.

Note 17, page 32.

See Capt. Palmer's letter to the Secretary of War, next following.

Note 18, page 36.

The anchor left by the Dispatch brig, at Stonington, when she 'cut and run,' has been got up and brought to New London. It weighs upwards of 20 cwt.Niles's Weekly Register, Sept. 10, 1814.[Pg 52]

"Mr. Chalmers, late master of the Terror, bomb-vessel, employed in the attack on Stonington, has been captured in a British barge and sent to Providence. He says 170 bombs were discharged from that ship in the attack on Stonington, which were found to weigh 80 lb. each; the charge of powder for the mortar was 9 lbs.; adding to this the wadding, that vessel must have disgorged eight tons weight."—Ibid.

"The following appears in a New York paper, in the shape of an advertisement:

English Manufacture, and Memento of the "Magnanimity" of Commodore Hardy.

Just received, and offered for sale, about


consisting of 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 32 lbs., very handsome, being a small proportion of those which were fired from his Britannic Majesty's ships, on the unoffending inhabitants of Stonington, in the recent brilliant attack on that place.

Likewise, a few Carcasses, in good order, weighing about 200 lbs. each.

Apply to S. TRUMBULL, 41 Peck-slip.

N. B. The purchaser of the above can be supplied with about two tons more, if required.

New York, November 19th, [1814.]"

Niles's Weekly Register, Dec. 3d, 1815.

Industry.—Many of our readers will recollect the anecdote of the thrifty American who asked Commodore Hardy, when he would attack Stonington again? so that he might have his cart ready to carry off the shot; and also the accounts we have had of the mighty mass of metal collected there and sold at New York, &c. It seems, however, that the iron mine is not yet exhausted, for certain persons with a diving machine[Pg 53] have raised no less than 11,209 lbs. of shot, which was thrown overboard from the Pactolus, when she was in such a hurry to get away from the two guns of Stonington! They have also picked up a quantity of copper.—Niles's Weekly Register, June 3, 1815.

Note 19, page 38.

Capt. Coote, of H. B. M. brig Borer, landed two hundred men at Pettipaug, (Saybrook,) in barges and launches, on the 8th of April, 1814, and destroyed upwards of twenty sail of vessels, without meeting any opposition (until after they had re-embarked,) and without the loss of a man.—Conn. Gazette, April 13, 1814.[Pg 54]

Letters of Commodore Hardy.

Since the foregoing pages were printed, my friend Professor D. C. Gilman, has brought to my notice the original letters of Commodore Hardy, to the inhabitants of Stonington and to General Isham, which are now in the Library of Yale College. The first (of August 9th) was copied with sufficient accuracy in the account published by the magistrates, warden and burgesses (page 25), I reprint it here, but with a facsimile of the signature.

His Britannic Majesty's Ship,
Pactolus, 9th August, 1814.
½ past 5 o'clock, P. M.

Not wishing to destroy the unoffending Inhabitants residing in the Town of Stonington, one hour is granted them from the receipt of this to remove out of the town.

To the Inhabitants of the Town of Stonington.

[Pg 55]

The second, is in reply to the letter from the magistrates which was sent on board the Ramillies, by Col. Isaac Williams and Dr. William Lord, on Wednesday, the 10th. As "official etiquette" did net permit Col. Green to obtain "an exact copy," he could only print its substance "as far as memory served" (see page 14). The magistrates allude to it, in their published account (p. 30), as "the singular communication received from Commodore Hardy, which preceded the fire on Thursday." It is evident that the British commander was strangely in error as to the assurances and engagements which he professed to have received, or that the gentlemen entrusted with the delivery of the letter from the magistrates must, in their conference with the Commodore, have exceeded their instructions.

Ramillies, off Stonington,
10th August, 1814.


I have received your letter and representation of the State of your Town, and as you have declared that Torpedoes, never have been harbored by the Inhabitants or ever will be, as far as lies in their power to prevent—and as you have engaged that Mrs. Stewart the wife of the British vice consul late resident at New London, with her family, shall be permitted to embark on board this Ship to-morrow morning, I am induced to wave the attempt of the total destruction of your Town, which I feel confident can be effected by the Squadron under my Orders.

I am
Your most obedient servant,
T. M. Hardy, Captain.

To Doctor Law [Lord] and Colonel Williams,


[Pg 56]

In reprinting the response of the civil authorities of Stonington, to the foregoing letter, on page 17, ante, an error in the date should have been corrected. It was written and despatched on the eleventh of August.

The following note acknowledges the explanation sent by General Isham, of the circumstances under which a flag of truce from the Ramillies, was fired upon by a sentinel at the Battery, on the morning of the 11th (see pages 16, 17, and note 10).

Ramillies, off Stonington,
11th August, 1814.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, apologizing for the Flag of Truce I sent on shore this morning, having been fired at; and I beg to assure you that under the Circumstances you have stated, the apology is perfectly satisfactory.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient
humble Servant,
T. M. Hardy, Captain.

To Brigadier IshamCommanding at Stonington.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Defence of Stonington
(Connecticut) Against a British Squadron, August 9th to 12th, 1814, by J. Hammond Trumbull


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