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arrive at its position till the first assault was nearly over. After a

volley or two, in which the British sustained some slight loss, the troops

at this point also were ordered to retire. The loss amounted to 26

killed, 29 wounded and missing, and 41 wounded (most of them slightly)

and brought away; total 96. The Americans state their loss at one

killed and seven wounded. Considering the way in which they were

sheltered, and the circumstances of the attack altogether, no greater

loss could have been expected.

"The American editors seem determined to drag the Indians, in

spite of their confirmed and to an American well-known habits, within

the limits of the 'fatal ditch.' 'The Indians,' says Mr. Thomson, 'were

enraged and mortified at this unparalleled defeat; and carrying their

dead and wounded from the field, they indignantly followed the British

regulars to the shipping.' 'It is a fact worthy of observation' says Mr.

O'Connor, 'that not one Indian was found among the dead, although it

is known that from three to four hundred were present.' A brave

enemy would have found something to praise in the efforts of Colonel

Shortt and his men, in this their 'unparalleled defeat;' but all is forgotten

in the lavish encomiums bestowed upon Major Croghan and the band

of 'heroes,' who 'compelled an army,' says an American editor, 'much

more than 10 times superior,' to relinquish the attack."



A group of distinguished visitors entering unannounced the

Blue Room    at the White House, during the administration of

President Hayes, were surprised to find the beautiful mistress

of the house sitting on the floor, needle and thread in hand,

while before her half reclining on the central divan, sat an old

soldier in the uniform of an ordnance sergeant of the United

States Army.

The callers, who were Sir Edward Thornton, the British

Minister, with some English friends, were about to retire, when

Mrs. Hayes looked up from her work, saw them, and laughingly

called them to stay. She rose from the floor, shook hands warmly

with the old man, and parrying his thanks and assuring him that

his uniform was now perfect, handed him over to the care of

her son.

The story is one of her many kindly, self-unconscious acts.

One of her sons, visiting the Barnes Hospital at the Soldiers'

home near Washington, had examined the list of soldiers living

there and discovered that one was a veteran of Fort Stephenson,

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at Fremont, Ohio, the home of the Hayes family, named William

Gaines, late ordnance sergeant United States Army.

Subsequently Sergeant Gaines was granted a pension for his

service in the War of 1812 and also for the Mexican War, and

a complete full dress uniform was ordered sent to the White

House for him. Sergeant Gaines was brought in from the Sol-

diers' Home to don his uniform and have his photograph taken

in it. After putting on his uniform, the old soldier trembling

with excitement and weakness discovered that the sergeant's

stripes for the seam of his trousers had been sent

loose to be used at the wearer's discretion, and

he was greatly distressed at the thought of hav-

ing his photograph taken without this insignia

of rank. Mrs. Hayes, who had come down to

greet him in the Blue Room, learning the cause

of his distress, at once sent for needle and thread,

saying that she would herself stitch them on. She

was just finishing the task, sitting on the floor

with the old soldier standing before her, when

the British Minister and his guests entered, and

caught the charming picture to carry away to

their English home.

It was a notable battle when, under Major

George Croghan, a youth of twenty-one years,

one hundred and sixty men, having but a single

small cannon, defeated five hundred British sol-

diers and two thousand or more Indian allies;

this battle being the prelude to Perry's victory on

Lake Erie and the decisive Battle of the Thames.

At the request of the members of the Hayes family, Repre-

sentative William McKinley introduced a bill to place William

Gaines, late ordnance sergeant, U. S. Army, on the retired list

of the army with seventy-five per cent. of the full pay and

allowance of an ordnance sergeant; he having served faithfully

and honorably in the army of the United States for more than

fifty-one years, having been an ordnance sergeant for over thirty-

three consecutive years of said service, and having participated

Vol. XVI--6.

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in the siege of Fort Meigs, the defense of Fort Stephenson, and

the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812.

Gen. Anson G. McCook        secured  the passage of the bill

through the House of Representatives and Gen. A. E. Burnside

secured concurrent action by the Senate, and the Act was ap-

proved by President Hayes.

Sergeant Gaines' story as told by himself in an interview

with Mr. Webb C Hayes at Washington in 1879, is as follows:

"My name is William Gaines. I was born in Frederick City, Md.,

Christmas Day, 1799. My father and mother were both born in Virginia.

My father and General Gaines were cousins. My father had died and my

mother was not in very good circumstances. We started from Frederick

City, and when we reached Washington stopped for five or six hours

and called on President Madison. Our folks came from Montpelier, Va.,

President Madison's home, and my uncle and President Madison were

well acquainted. I had another uncle in Kentucky named Daveiss. They

both lived in Lexington. During the Indian war in 1811, my uncle,

Colonel Daveiss, raised a volunteer regiment and joined General Harrison.

He took me along with him to take care of his horses and that is the

way that I came to be in the battle of Tippecanoe, November 5, 1811.

"I occupied a tent with the Orderly Sergeant of the company. His

tent was next to that of my uncle, Colonel Daveiss, and then came the

company tent. We were surprised by the Indians, who got in the camp

before we were aware of it. Some rushed into our tent, but we crawled

out on the opposite side. Before getting out, however, the thumb of my

left hand was cut by an Indian tomahawk or knife and laid wide open.

It was sewed up by Dr. Woodward. The Indians were defeated, but my

uncle, Colonel Daveiss, was killed.

"I enlisted on July 18, 1812, as a drummer boy in Captain Arm-

strong's company of the Twenty-fourth Infantry. I was then in my

thirteenth year. We marched from Knoxville to Nashville, and then

against the Creek nation. We marched from Nashville down the Cumber-

land river to the Ohio, which was full of ice and impassable, and were

obliged to stop at a small French fort called Fort Massack, which was

occupied by one company, about forty men of the Second Artillery under

Lieutenant Tanner. We remained there until next spring and then started

for Fort Meigs. We marched first to Newport, Ky., which took us, I

think, twenty days, but we made a stop at Harrisonburg, where we were

invited to the farm of Col. George Harrison and had everything we

wanted. We stopped at Newport three days washing and cleaning our-

selves and then crossed to Cincinnati.  From  Cincinnati we marched

due north through the state of Ohio until we came to Franklinton, which

was the extreme frontier. At Franklinton two deserters were tried and

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shot. They came from camp Meigs, where they had mutinied and came

near killing the captain. They were taken by some citizens between

Upper Sandusky and Franklinton. General Harrison ordered a general

court martial and charges were sent from Fort Meigs. Both were sen-

tenced to be shot and both were shot the next day. They were buried

on the banks of the Little Sciota.

"We then marched due north to Upper Sandusky. At Upper San-

dusky we drew two days' rations to carry us through the Maumee Black

Swamp. We then marched due north until we reached a point about five

or six miles from Fort Stephenson, and then turning west the road ran

through the Maumee Valley Black Swamp on to Fort Meigs, which we

reached the next day. Gen. Green Clay was in command. While we were

at Fort Meigs, Gen. Harrison established his headquarters at Fort Seneca,

so that he might be handy for the different departments. We were at

Fort Meigs something like a month, and during a portion of the time

were besieged by Indians and British, and kept up a constant fire on

them for about eight days.

"Our company was then ordered to Camp Seneca, in July I think,

and while there a rumor came that Fort Stephenson was to be attacked.

A detail was made from the different companies to relieve Fort Stephen-

son, and that was done that each company should have equal chance in

the glory. All this time I was a private in Captain Armstrong's com-

pany, Twenty-fourth Infantry, having exchanged my drum for a musket,

and was acting as cook for Lieutenant Joseph Anthony of my company.

Lieutenant Anthony, Samuel Thurman, John Foster, James Riggs, a man

named Jones and myself composed the detail from my company. We

started at the break of day, and got to Fort Stephenson between nine

and ten o'clock. We had not been there more than an hour and a half

or two hours before the British hove in sight and began landing their

troops, cannon, etc. Between 11 and 12 o'clock there came a flag of

truce and an officer and six men; they were blindfolded and taken in at

the west gate. It was rumored that the officer was sent to demand the

surrender of the fort or to show no quarter. When they were gone

Major Croghan told us to prepare ourselves, as no quarter was to be

shown. They came around on the northwest side which was covered

with woods, about 150 yards distant, and between the woods and fort

was a ravine down which they would haul the cannon to load and then

push up on the brow of the hill and fire. They could not approach from

the east side because that was an open field, and we could have brought

them down. To the north and south it was also quite open. The

weather was good but warm, and a storm which had threatened finally

disappeared. They fired on us for a time, but Major Croghan would

not let us return it. Samuel Thurman was in the block house and de-

termined to shoot a red coat. He climbed up on top of the block house

and peered over, when a six-pound ball from the enemy's cannon took his

head off. Finally toward evening they made a charge, and when they got

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on level ground we got orders to fire. We shot through loop holes in

the pickets and port holes in the blockhouses. I recollect very well

when Colonel Shortt fell. I see it all now as distinctly as I see you two

gentlemen. Our cannon was loaded with six-pound ball and grape. I

was in the blockhouse and after Col. Short fell he held up a white

handkerchief for quarter. Somebody in the blockhouse said, 'That man

is hollering for quarter. He said he would show none. Now give him

quarter.' It passed all through the fort. Then the bugle sounded the

retreat. They had old Tecumseh and about 1,500 Indians, and I think

about 700 or 800 regulars. I only estimated them by seeing them march-

ing away.

There were no buildings near the fort, nor any women in the fort,

as there was not settlement nearer than Franklinton. They landed below

us, near the race track, opposite the Island. The British wounded who

were not taken away lay in the ditch. I do not know anything about the

passing of water over to the wounded. It might have been done unbe-

known to me. The British soldiers were buried the next day. I do not

know how many were killed. You see they took them away at night and

we did not know anything about it.

"At the siege of Fort Meigs there was a large tree into which an In-

dian climbed and thus obtained a view of the interior of the fort. A

man named Bronson brought him down with a rifle. I do not think it

can be true that we loaded our cannon with nails and scraps on ac-

count of lack of ammunition. I have often thought that if General Har-

rison had marched his troops from Fort Seneca down the east side of

the Sandusky river and crossed, it would have brought him between the

enemy and their boats, and thus we could have captured them all. I

have often thought of it and talked it over with men of our company.

When the firing commenced, Lieut. Anthony was panicstruck and secreted

himself, and did not come out until the battle was over. He was put

under arrest by Major Croghan and sent to Fort Seneca and court-

martialed for cowardice and cashiered the service. Gen. Harrison was

a small and very slim man, a little on the dark complected order, and

advanced in years. Major Croghan was a very thin man and stood about

five feet eight or nine inches. He was tall and slim. He became very

corpulent and fleshy some years after. I remember well when Colonel

Croghan was placed in arrest. He had an order from Gen. Harrison to

destroy all public property that he could not bring away and retreat.

When he got the order it was too late to retreat. He was tried and ac-

quitted. He was a very courageous man, afraid of nothing under the

sun. After the battle of Fort Stephenson we were returned to our com-

panies again. Every company got their own men but ours, which had

one killed, Samuel Thurman, who was the only man killed on our side.

We lay at Camp Seneca until the news came from Commodore Perry

that "we have met the enemy and they are ours." We then marched

past Fort Stephenson to the lake, where we were furnished with boats

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and crossed over into Canada. We landed about one mile below Colonel

Elliott's quarters. I must tell you a little story about this. I took six

beautiful silver spoons from that man's house. Everybody had left and

I was hard up. The house was furnished in the English fashion. I sold

them at Detroit. We did not get paid in those days like we do now. We

often went eighteen months without pay. From  Elliott's we went to

Fort Malden. They had evacuated and taken all they could get from there,

and then we went up to Sand Beach. Colonel Johnson followed with more

men, and we all followed the British troops until they got to Moravian

Town. On the 2d of October we fought the battle of the Thames. I recol-

lect that day just as well as I do sitting in this chair. It was their last

battle. We made short work of the British. They knew we were com-

ing and General Proctor and an aide fled before we were within a mile

of them. We captured all of them but these two. We had more fighting

with the Indians than with the British Regulars. The Indians retreated

across the river in canoes, but many of them were shot and tumbled over

in the water.  We marched to Detroit, where we embarked in Com-

modore Perry's fleet. General Harrison and my company were on the same

boat with Commodore Perry, and also a British Commodore and other

British officers who were prisoners. We sailed to Buffalo, and then

marched to Sackett's Harbor, where we joined General Wilkinson's com-

mand that was to attack Montreal. We took open boats and started across,

but owing to the ice we had to abandon the expedition and return to the

shore, from where we marched to a place called Chateaugay Four Cor-

ners, on a little lake, and wintered there. The next spring the captain,

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one officer and myself went to New York on recruiting service. That

was in 1814. I remained in New York about two years. When we left

New York we marched with recruits to fill up the companies stationed

on the northern frontier. I had re-enlisted on the 23d of November,

1816, for five years. We marched to Sackett's Harbor, and I was there

assigned to Company D, Second Infantry. The other recruits were dis-

tributed at the different stations. I was stationed at Sackett's Harbor

something like seventeen years. We remained quietly at barracks all

this time, until the Black Hawk War broke out beyond Chicago. We

started in the month of July, 1832, and got back October 6, of the same

year. We had no battles in that campaign. There was nothing but hard

marching, etc. I was appointed an ordinance sergeant of the U. S. army

October 18, 1833, and was ordered to Boston, but finally exchanged with

the ordnance sergeant at Madison barracks. Colonel Kirby, paymaster,

and others arranged the matter for me. During the Florida War I was

in Sackett's Harbor in charge of all the property at that post. I was

there too during the Mexican War and got an order from General

Augur to enlist all the men that I could and send them to Syracuse. I

got from four to six every day, and sent them to Syracuse for Mexico.

I was a recruiting officer for General Augur. During the war of the Re-

bellion I was left alone in charge of the quartermaster's stores, medical

and other property at Madison Barracks, New York. I was discharged

December 31, 1866, by Secretary Stanton and came to this home. I have

had charge of a great many improvements in the home and was lodge

keeper at the Whitney Avenue gate for a number of years."

Sergeant Gaines was at the time of this interview an active

old man about five feet seven inches in height, of dark complex-

ion. He had bright grey eyes, white hair and strongly marked

features. He stood perfectly erect, and had a very soldierly bear-

ing. His mind was clear and his memory quite remarkable. He

described with great detail the incident of his early service. He

was the last survivor of the gallant defenders of Fort Stephenson.

He enlisted when in his thirtieth year and probably no man served

longer in the United States Army than he.




In 1880 there still lived in Petersburg, Va., a survivor of the

War of 1812, one of the Petersburg Volunteers, one member of

which, Brown, fought at Fort Stephenson. A letter from this

aged man, Mr. Reuben Clements, reads: