Journal of William Colbraith, a soldier in Colonel Gansevoort's regimanat Fort Schuyler.
Aug. 1st.—Three Oneida Indians came express from their castle informing us that they had seen three strange Indians, who told them that there were 100 more at the Royal Block House, and that they were to march for this place. Supposing them to be a party sent to cut off communications, the Colonel detached loo men under command of Captain Benschoten and three subalterns to meet the bateaux that were hourly expected, in order to theirforce the guard sent with them from Fort Dayton. |
Aug. 2d.—Four bateaux arrived, being those the party went to meet, having a guard of 100 men of Colonel Weston's regiment from Fort Day to under the command of Lieut. Col. Mellon of that regiment. The lading being brought safe into the fort, guard marched in, when our sentinels on the south west bastion discovered the enemy's fires in the woods near Fort Newport upon which the troops ran to their respective alarm posts; at this time was discovered some men running from the landing toward the garrison On their coming they informed us that the bateaux men who had staid behind| when the guard marched into the fort had been fired on by the enemy it the landing, that two of them were wounded, the master of the bateaux taken prisoner, and one man missing. ;
Aug. 3d.—Early this morning a Continental flag, made by the officers to Colonel Gansevoort's regiment, was hoisted and a cannon leveled at the enemy's camp was fired on the occasion. A small party was sent to the landing to see if the enemy had destroyed any of our bateaux last night. This party found the bateaux man that was missing, wounded through the brain, stabbed in the right breast and scalped. He was alive when found and brought to the garrison, but died shortly after. The bateaux lay at the landing no ways damaged. About 3 o'clock this afternoon the enemy showed themselves to the garrison on all sides, carried off some hay from a field near the garrison, at which a flag brought by Captain Tice came into the fort with a proffer of protection if the garrison would surrender, which was rejected with disdain.
Aug. 4th.—A continual firing of small arms was this day kept up by the enemy's Indians, who advanced within gunshot of the fort, in small parties under cover of bushes, weeds and potatoes in the garden. Colonel Mellon and his party of 1oo men, who came from Fort Dayton as a guard to the bateaux, was to have returned this day, but wee were now besieged and all communication cut off for the present. The firing ended with the close of this day, we having one man killed and six wounded. This night we sent out a party and brought back 7 stacks of hay into the trench and set a barn and house on fire belonging to Mr. Roof.
Aug. 5 th.—A continual firing was kept up by the savages. One of our men was shot dead on the northeast bastion. The enemy set fire to the new barracks standing about loo yards from this fort, between four and five o'clock this afternoon.
Aug. 6th.—This morning the Indians were seen going off from around rhe garrison towards the landing; as they withdrew we had not much firing. Being uneasy lest the Tories should report that the enemy had taken the fort, Iieut. Diefendorf was ordered to get ready to set off for Albany this evening to inform General Schuyler of our situation, but between nine and ten this morning three militia men arrived here with a letter from General Harkeman Herkimer wherein he writes that he had arrived at Orisco with 1000 militia, in order to relieve the garrison and open communication, which was then entirely blocked up, and that if the colonel should hear a firing of small arms, desired he would send a party from the garrison to reinforce him. General Harkeman desired that the colonel would fire three cannon, if the thme men got safe into the fort with his letter, which was done and followed by three cheers by the whole garrison.
According to General Harkeman's request the colonel detached two hundred men and one field piece under command of Lieut. Col. Willett with orders to proceed down the road to meet the General's party; having marched half a mile, they came upon an encampment of the enemy which they totally routed, and plundered them of as much baggage as the soldiers could carry. Their loss is supposed to be between fifteen and twenty killed. The number of wounded, who got off, is unknown. They took four prisoners, three of whom were wounded, and Mr. Singleton of Montreal, who says he is a lieutenant, without the loss of one man killed or wounded.
Our party returned immediately and brought in a number of blankets, brass kettles, powder and balt a variety of clothes and Indian trinkets and hard cash, together with four scalps the Indians had lately taken, being entirely fresh and left in their camp. Two of the scalps taker care supposed to be those of the girls, being neatly dressed and the hair plaited. A bundle of letters was found in the enemy's camp, which had been sent by one Luke Cassidy for this garrison, who it is supposed is either killed or taken; the letters were not broke open. Four colors were also taken and immediately hoisted on our flagstaff under the Continental flag, as trophies of victory. |
By our prisoners we learn that the enemy are so strong, that British regulars, that they are all arrived and have with them two six-pounders, two three-pounders and four royals. We also learn that they were attacked by our militia on this side of Orisco, that they drove the militia back, killed some and took several prisoners, but the enemy had many killed.