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Capt. John Price, whose death occurred a few weeks since, at Burlington, Vt. (July, 1853), was one of the best soldiers of the war of 1812. He was in four general actions, and in every service of danger that presented itself, and always earned the applause of his comrades, and the high approbation of his officers. He performed one act especially, which, from the importance of its consequences, and the fearful danger he encountered, deserves to be called an act of heroic self-devotion. Sent by Gen. Brown to the enemy, and simulating the character of a deserter, his information induced the British commander to detach one portion of his army down the Niagara river, and to keep inactive another, — thus enabling Gen. Brown to carry the British works by a brilliant sortie from Fort Erie, to save his army from imminent peril, and achieve one of the most striking victories of the war. For this service, Mr. Price should have been honored and rewarded in his life-time, and his family should be remembered now. But it too often happens, where, — as in the case of John Price — the merits of the humble soldier are distinctive and peculiar, that he loses even the simplest reward — their acknowledgment and appreciation, from the indifference or modesty of the brave man who disdains to trumpet his own deeds, or the indolent or selfish neglect of superiors who reap fame and advancement from his unrequited self devotion.

The father and his two sons, John Price, seventeen years old, and Joseph Price, a year older, enlisted at Burlington (of which they were natives), in the Eleventh Regiment, in June, 1812, and were attached soon after to the company of Capt. John Bliss. John Price was even then remarkable for his great personal strength, hardihood, and resolution. The regiment was enlisted from New Hampshire and Vermont; the greatest number Vermonters.

With their regiment, the three Prices fought bravely at the battle of Chrystler's fields, and performed the severe march from French mills to Buffalo, in the spring of 1814, where John procured an honorable discharge for his father, on account of age and sickness. Very much to his displeasure, the old soldier was obliged to go home, but afterwards reenlisted; was badly wounded at the action of La Cole Mills, and did good service at the battle of Plattsburg.

At Buffalo, Gen. Brown took command of the army, consisting of Scott's and Ripley's brigades, Townson's artillery, and Porter's volunteers — some 3,500 men (besides a considerable number of sick), which had been brought by Gen. Scott's training, in six or seven weeks, to a perfection of discipline before unknown to the service. Brown crossed the river and carried Fort Erie — two days after (July 5) marched to Chippewa, where Riall was posted with 3,000 men. While Ripley made a movement towards the left, to support Porter, who had been engaged with the Indians and troops sent to reinforce them, Scott's brigade and the artillery found the main body of the British in the open field, and engaged them, without waiting for Ripley's support. Scott's evolutions were performed with the same celerity and exactness as on parade; and American firing, always quick and — unlike European — always with an aim, was exceedingly effective. The two crack regiments — the Royal Scots, and the King's Own — faltered, and became disordered, when Scott ordered his whole line to charge. The British turned upon their heels, fled in utter rout, and took refuge in their entrenchments, losing 500 men. Capt. Weeks of the Eleventh, obtained permission, just before the action commenced, to throw his company in advance upon the flanks of the British column. The movement was masked by a board fence, which afforded, at the same




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time, a rest for the musket. He got three unexpected fires, at point blank distance, with fatal aim — an auspicious omen of the corning contest. This skillful and handsome battle of Chippewa — the first pitched battle of the war — electrified the country almost as much as the capture of the Guerriere by the Constitution.

The command of Riall's army was then taken by Lieut. Gen. Drummond, who called in the troops from the neighboring garrisons, and received heavy reinforcements from Montreal, a portion of which arrived on the morning of the battle of Bridgewater.

The sanguinary conflict was brought on, July 25, by a movement of Gen. Scott's brigade and artillery, in order to prevent a threatened attack on the village of Schlosser, across the river, where our sick and wounded, with baggage and stores, had been sent. Gen. Scott, with scarcely 1,600 men, found himself, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, in the presence of the whole British army of 6,000 men strongly posted, with a battery of nine pieces of artillery, upon an eminence. Notwithstanding such disparity, the battle was maintained till sundown. Exposed to such a fire, Gen. Scott ordered charge after charge, nor did his little band hesitate to precipitate themselves upon masses three times their number; in no instance did the enemy withstand the onset. It was hand to hand; when broken and scattered by the charge, the fugitives were rallied or replaced by the reserves behind, to renew the same scene. Price had his musket twice shot out of his hand, but there was no want of muskets on that field. Throwing himself among the enemy, and using the bayonet, the clubbed musket, or the fist, he opened a lane for his less athletic comrades to rush in. This he did repeatedly, and Hopkins, Blake and Lawrence did the same.

Major McNiel — for Col. Campbell had been mortally wounded at the battle of Chippewa — commanding the Eleventh regiment, and every captain, were killed or wounded. And when Gen. Brown arrived with Ripley's brigade at sundown, the regiment was in command of the senior lieutenant. Maj. Leavenworth, of the Ninth, who had originally belonged to the Eleventh, and knew every man in it, rode up and asked for the regiment and the commanding officer. "I command the regiment," said the lieutenant, "and here it is. The rest are dead on the field or carried wounded to the rear." Greatly affected, Leavenworth declared they should retire from the field. If any more fighting remained, it should be done by others. Officers sternly remonstrated, the men implored. Price stepped forward and told the major that his brother Joseph had been shot dead by his side a few moments before, "and how can I retire while I can carry a musket?" What remained of the Eleventh regiment was attached to the Ninth, next the company of Capt. Hull (son of the unfortunate Gen. Hull) who was himself killed half an hour afterwards — and remained in the action till it closed. How Miller stormed the artillery and turned the guns upon the enemy — repaying with interest the destruction they had caused us — how, reinforced with every effective man, he repelled and defeated three several desperate assaults of the whole British army to retake them; how, after midnight, they sullenly retreated, leaving the Americans in possession of the artillery and the field of battle, every one must remember who has heard of the battle of Bridgewater. Brown and Scott were severely wounded, as were Drummond and Riall; the latter a prisoner. The Americans had 56 wounded officers alone, and a third of that number killed; and the armies lost more than 1,000 men each. The night and the morning were devoted to burying the dead, and collecting and comforting the wounded. To perform this latter duty, it was absolutely necessary for our army to retire to Fort Erie. This was done in the course of the day, but with the mortifying circumstance that the guns were left on the field for the want of horses to remove them.

For more than a week the exhausted armies were unable to move. But in the first days of August, the British army, of 5,000 strong, marched to Fort Erie and commenced throwing up batteries. In less than a fortnight after the siege had commenced, the enemy had brought his lines of circumvallation within a few hundred feet of Fort Erie, which had also been strongly entrenched — and the fire was incessant. Gen. Gaines, who had assumed the command, had scarcely 1,500 men, and the enemy, relying on their superiority of force, resolved to storm the fort. Just before day of Aug. 15, the enemy, in three divisions, attacked the fort with their whole force, on three points at once. While the artillery at the angles of the bastions enfiladed — that is, swept lengthwise the ditches which surrounded the fort, and over which the enemy must pass to enter it — a storm of musketry poured upon them from above. Those who reached the parapet of the fort were thrown back again into the




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ditch to meet the double peril they had just surmounted. The defenders had successfully repulsed the repeated attacks of the right and left divisions; it had required their utmost efforts. Col. Drummond (nephew of the general), meanwhile, who commanded the centre division, far the most numerous, and doubtless designed to be the main column of attack, was inadequately met, and succeeded in gaining the parapet, followed by hundreds. Waving his sword, he lived long enough to utter the words, "Give the d—d Yankees no quarter!" — but not a moment longer — he was instantly shot dead, riddled with bullets. John Price who was near him when he fell, and who had no idea of sparing his bullets on such an occasion, seized the barbarian's sword, and afterwards bought his watch of a soldier who took it. As the defenders turned to repel this new danger, the magazine, over and near which the assailants were, accidentally or otherwise, exploded, blowing bastion, assailants, and some fifty of the defenders into the air. Those of the storming party who survived, lost no time in springing or being dashed over the fort and into the ditch. A story was told of the captain of a gun favorably situated at this time for raking these unfortunate fellows. He was blazing away to his entire satisfaction, when an officer ran to him, and ordered him to desist. "Don't harm those who are floundering in the ditch — but let fly at the rascals who are streaking it to the batteries." "Zouns, sir," said the honest artilleryman, "would Drummond have had your scruples, if he'd had us in such a fix?" The story, not unlikely to be true, shows how closely retribution follows on the heels of inhumanity.

Gen. Gaines, like the rest of our generals, was severely wounded by the bursting of a shell. The Americana lost less than 100, the enemy 1,500 men — more than they were willing to admit.

After this repulse, and it was a terrible one, the enemy retired to his works, sent for reinforcements, and resumed the siege in form.

Relinquishing the idea of storming the fort, an unintermitted fire of cannon-balls, rockets and shells from the batteries on both sides was kept up night and day. Our little army, cooped up in Fort Erie, in the heat of August and September, was wasting away by sickness and the fire of the enemy — having received no reinforcements, except from the sick and wounded, convalescent, but enfebled, who arrived, from time to time, from Buffalo and Schlosser.

The assailants, on the other hand, had maintained their relative superiority by reinforcements from Montreal. Keeping their batteries in full play, and manning their works with a heavy brigade, regularly relieved, judged sufficient to defend them from immediate assault, a large portion of their army was withdrawn to the rear in two camps, beyond the reach of our shot, but within supporting distance of their works.

The siege had now continued more than six weeks, and the situation of the besieged was critical indeed. The fort, with its diminished garrison, had no such means of resistance to an assault as Gen. Gaines possessed four weeks before, and might be carried before Gen. Izard, then on his way from Plattsburg, could arrive to its relief. Retreat across the river was surrender of the fruits of the previous conflicts, admission of defeat, and a mere transfer of the scene of contest to American soil. Besides, how could the embarkation and passage of the river be achieved in the face of a vigilant and superior enemy? The alternative was to storm and carry the British works. At this time (Sept. 16) Gen. Brown consulted an officer in whom he had confidence, and asked him to indicate the man for an important and perilous service, the character of which was sufficiently intimated. "John Price," replied the officer — "a young man but an old soldier." And Price was sent for to the general's marquee. Gen. Brown proposed to him to go to the enemy and give such information as, corroborated by certain movements of his own, might induce the enemy to withdraw a portion of his force from the vicinity of his works. Such a diversion afforded the only chance of success for the sortie he meditated and means of safety for the army. Price replied that he had endeavored to be a good soldier, and didn't know how to play the deserter — referred to his own services — his only brother killed a few weeks before, and to his aged father, and appealed to the general whether such a service ought to be imposed upon him. But, he yielded at length to the arguments and solicitations addressed to him. The general expressed strong confidence that Price would succeed, and promised him a lieutenant's commission, or a reward commensurate with the service, if he returned alive. Price replied that a poor fellow who would stand as a deserter if he failed, and a spy if he succeeded, with no hope of protection from either side, had better be thinking of a halter than a reward. He asked three days to get ready in. The general said he




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could allow him no more than twenty five minutes to prepare. He begged the general to pass him through the pickets, urging that otherwise he would run a greater risk from friends than from the enemy, if he got there. "It can't be done," said the general; "and you must go with your arms, and fully equipped, as though you deserted from the picket yourself. You must run the risk." His instructions were to represent our force as so reduced and enfeebled, as to remove all apprehension of an attack upon their works, and to impress upon Gen. Drummond an apprehension in another quarter, viz., that it was the report, and universally believed in camp, that Izard's army, or part of it, was to attack Fort Niagara, in conjunction with the fleet, on the evening of the 17th (the next day), and this impression was to be confirmed by movements from Buffalo and Fort Erie in the morning. "He gave me," said Price, "various other instructions as to how I should act and what I should say — some of which I do not now recollect; but I do recollect following them precisely — and he depended something on my soldier's experience and knowledge of things to carry myself right."

To preclude all idea of collusion, his escape was remitted to his own unassisted ingenuity. Selecting his starting point on the 16th, at 1 o'clock, he did his best to elude the vigilance of the sentinel, but failed. To discover, hail, and fire, was almost a simultaneous act. He narrowly escaped the ball. Springing to his feet, he ran with his utmost speed towards the British sentinel, who, surprised at the suddenness of the onset, fired also.

Is this the way you treat a deserter — didn't you hear the Yankee sentinel fire at me just now!" shouted Price. The honest John Bull protested he had not time to think, begged his pardon, and shook hands. Price was taken, behind a dragoon orderly, to Gen. Drummond's quarters, about a mile and a half from the British battery, with an account of the circumstances under which he had come in. The double fire which the deserter had incurred, and which had been heard by both armies, served to forestall and disarm all suspicion and distrust of the genuineness of Price's desertion, and stood him in good stead afterwards. He assigned the usual reasons for it — disgust, hardship, hard service, hard usage, &c. Gen. Drummond asked him whether there was any rumor in camp of an intention to attack the British works. He replied, "No;" and that was true — for Gen. Brown had taken good care that the camp rumors should point to another course altogether; and the accounts he gave in his replies to questions asked, of the situation of things in Fort Erie; the number of effective men sick and wounded; the losses from the fire of the British batteries; the dispirited condition of the troops, were such as rendered the idea of such intended attack improbable, if not preposterous. But there was a report that Fort Niagara was to be attacked by Izard and Brown, in connection with the fleet — that detachments from Buffalo, and even from the Fort, would be sent down the river immediately — and there was considerable commotion among the men about it. The examination was long and close, and Price was furnished, by Gen. Brown's instructions and his own knowledge, with any amount of details and information, which he did not volunteer, but gave in direct response to questions, or as immediately growing out of them. He was at length dismissed, satisfied that Gen. Drummond was on the wrong scent. In a military view, the Americans were quite likely to attack and secure a strong fortress between him and Montreal, and thus inclose him; nor would he permit it without a struggle: so Price inferred from a casual remark. What would become of him on the morrow, was a question which he left unanswered, as, with the happy indifference of his age, of the resolute man and soldier, he laid down and slept soundly. And in the morning (of the 17th), he repaired, according to orders, to Gen. Drummond's marquee and the conversation was resumed. Said Price: "Before our army attacked the enemy's batteries, Gen. Drummond saw the troops which Gen. Brown spoke of sending down the river, and asking me if I knew what troops they were. I told him I did not know, but supposed they were a reinforcement sent down to join Gen. Izard's army, and in conjunction with the fleet to attack Fort Niagara that night. This strengthened the story so much that Gen. Drummond ordered his aid-de-camp to send two regiments from their main army down to Fort Niagara immediately. I was standing in the door of Gen. Drummond's marquee when he gave these orders, and these two regiments left, and were not in the action on the 17th. Gen. Drummond was conversing with me about a battery we were building when the action commenced. He said to me the pickets were pretty warmly engaged. I said, "Yes, sir," but I thought if he knew what pickets were engaged, he would not be there quietly talking to me. About that




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time a dragoon came up to Gen. Drummond's quarters on express, and informed Gen. D. that the whole American army had sallied out upon the breastworks; and before he could form his army and march through the woods our army had killed and taken the brigade that was guarding their batteries, spiked their guns, destroyed their carriages and blown up their magazine." Such was Price's simple statement of an action which his own agency had so large a share in rendering successful, and the interest still attached to it will justify a more particular account of it.

On the 17th, under cover of a mist, Gen. Brown directed Miller to occupy a ravine between Fort Erie and the British works on the left; Ripley, with a large body as a reserve, took a central position, and Porter, with his volunteers and some regulars, made a circuit through the woods to the right, gained the rear and commenced the attack. He rushed upon the enemy completely surprised, carried the batteries and a block­house, making prisoners of the garrison, spiked the cannon and blew up the magazine. The explosion was the music that set Miller and Ripley in motion. They pressed on through a shower of musketry, grape and canister, which only accelerated their speed, and entered the works at the point designed. A severe contest ensued, hand to hand, but nothing could resist the enthusiasm which Porter's success had inspired. Of some they made prisoners, others were shot or bayoneted, the rest were thrown or driven over the works, and the fugitives were pursued by a storm of musketry from ranks instantly formed. The whole line of the British entrenchments was now in uncontested possession of the Americans. They disarmed and secured the prisoners; spiked some of the cannon, and pitched the rest, with broken carriages, muskets, and ammunition, into heaps; and nothing escaped, that was destructible by the human arms, powder, or fire. The fruits of seven weeks' mortal toil, skill, labor, and blood, were destroyed in two hours, with the loss of 1,000 men. The Americans suffered severely, losing 500 men, including some of the noblest spirits of the army. But Fort Erie, and its heroic band of defenders, were saved — and saved by an achievement so skillful and fortunate, so gallant and brilliant, that it has never been surpassed. They felt the double joy of deliverance and glory. Gen. Miller — for Ripley was desperately wounded — collected and assisted the wounded, secured the disarmed prisoners, carried away with such trophies as the emergency permitted, and moved in perfect order toward Fort Erie, — but not in silence, not with sound of drums or trumpets, nor to the "Dorian mood of flutes and soft recorders," but with shouts of gratulation, and songs of victory, such as soldiers sing on a stricken field of battle and of triumph. These the British heard, mute, motionless, and thunderstruck, as they gazed upon the scenes.

Gen. Izard and his army of 5,000 men — to oppose whose irruption upon Niagara Gen. Drummond had detached his brigade of upwards of 2,000 men, in the forenoon of the 17th — did not, in fact, arrive till October! While prosecuting his slow and toilsome march — while the one point was unrelieved, and the other left exposed — Prevost invaded us, an the land and water battle of Plattsburg was fought on the 11th of September, and the sortie six days after. In the same stirring week the repulse at Baltimore occurred.

The sortie from Fort Erie was the last of four great conflicts, fought in the course of seventy-four days, and virtually closed the campaign on the Niagara frontiers.

The British army lingered four or five days near the ruins of their demolished works, offering Brown no further annoyance. Perhaps Gen. Drummond remembered — at all events, he acted on Dogberry's instructions to the watch — that if they encountered turbulent and fighting fellows, ready for a row, prompt to beat, knock down, and kick innocent watchmen, and who would not be taken, why, pass over to the other side of the street, and let them entirely alone; and, if they misuse you, why, bid 'em God speed, and go away. He took up his march for his entrenchments at Chippewa, leaving Brown, Fort Erie and its defenders, in utter disgust.

The torpor of astonishment at the result of the sortie subsided, in the British army, into a feeling of inexpressible anger and mortification. Nobody felt it more acutely than Gen. Drummond. He bethought him of Price, and directed him to be brought by a file of men. Pale with passion, he broke out with, "Villain, you have betrayed me; you shall die the death of a spy and traitor," and poured out a stream of charges and invectives. Price listened in silence till he had exhausted himself, and said, "General, I am in your power, and you can hang me if you please; but it will be poor encouragement to deserters. It's a pity the sentinels hadn't shot me, as they came nigh doing, when I was seeking your protection." As to de‑




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ceiving him, Price replied that Gen. Brown did not entrust his plans to his soldiers, especially to a lad scarcely twenty years old. He said he had referred to the rumors and talk of the camp as his sources of information, and the American prisoners would confirm it; and if Gen. Brown did not intend to move down the river to Fort Niagara, his own troops were deceived, and he (Price) was deceived too; and that was the very reason, he urged, why he had hastened his desertion at so much peril. Numerous coincidences, indicating concert and understanding with the American headquarters, he found it difficult to clear up; but he did his best; and all who knew him will readily believe that he spoke respectfully, simply, with entire self-possession through that face of his, as impervious to emotion as so much sheet-iron. The result was that Gen. Drummond was staggered in his opinion, but not convinced. "You may be innocent, Price; but your story is the same a spy would have told, calculated and intended to deceive and mislead." "And that was a fact; the general had me there," said Price, relating the scene to a friend, many years ago. But he escaped a drum­head court-martial on the spot. He was put under the provost guard, marched to Fort George the next day, and thence to Montreal, with a considerable number of American prisoners and deserters. The Americans hated him as a deserter, the English as a spy, and he got nothing but kicks, thumps, and curses from both. A fortnight after he was charged with being a spy, and ten days after, tried at Montreal, before a military court. A deserter from our army, by the name of Abbot Gould, was the ostensible informer and witness against him. He testified that Price, a corporal and doing surgeant's duty at the time of his pretended desertion, had the confidence of the officers, and related a variety of circumstances tending to inculpate him; but the evidence was deemed inconclusive, and he escaped conviction. But he was not acquitted, and was remanded to prison, from which he was liberated by the kind intervention of that benevolent gentleman, Horatio Gates, who became interested for him and answerable for his appearance, and that he would report himself at stated times, &c. Even after the news of peace, his release was sternly refused.

A singular circumstance accomplished it. There are some who may remember something of Lieut. Sheldon, belonging to one of the later raised regiments — a young man of great strength, and of a courage that better deserved to be called desperation. He had been engaged in a fatal duel, and at La Cole Mill he continued, alone, loading and firing an abandoned field-piece, exposed to the fire of the whole garrison, and disregarding all orders to retire; when finding his balls wholly ineffective against the solid masonry, and launching a volley of taunts against the cowardly rascals that had skulked into an old mill — enforced by the gesture most expressive of contempt — he retreated, opening his bosom, and leisurely backing towards his friends. The John Bulls admiring his intrepidity, or amused at his audacity, ceased firing; he got back, his clothes and hat riddled with balls.

It pleased this strange Lieut. Sheldon, some time after peace, to visit the loyal city of Montreal, and to attend the theatre dressed in the full uniform of an American officer; "God Save the King" was played; some one instantly called out that the Yankee soldier should take off his hat, with a scurrilous remark, and the demand was reechoed by the audience. Sheldon rose and coolly said, that if he "had been treated with civility, he might possibly have taken off his hat in honor of their crazy old King; but as it was demanded with insult, it would come off when his head was pulled from his shoulders, and not before;" and with this conciliatory remark the row instantly commenced. Sheldon fought bravely. Price, who had witnessed the whole scene, let himself down, from the attic region of the theatre; at all events, placed himself by Sheldon's side, and said — "I will stand by you. Let us secure our rear — we can take care of front and flanks." They placed their backs to the wall — and those fared badly who came within striking distance of two of the most athletic and powerful men to be found, skillful and experienced in such conflicts; and especially of Price — for he was left-handed — and a left-handed blow is more sure and effective, from being an unexpected one to the adversary. The assailants went down in heaps, dashed against benches, angles and sharp-edged things, receiving severe and fatal wounds. Victory had nearly declared itself for the two redoubtable champions, when a large body of soldiers, informed of the Yankee row, rushed in, and the contest was renewed. It was now one of life or death, to Price especially, till a cowardly blow with a billet of wood on the head of Sheldon, laid him senseless. A single glance sufficed to inform Price that Sheldon was




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beyond the reach of further aid (he died a few days afterwards of his hurts), and collecting his strength, he made a spring, dashed the assailants aside, gained the door, the entrance, the street, and concealed by the darkness — hatless, his clothes torn in shreds, bruised and bloody — he reached the opposite shore of the wide river, took the woods, and found himself on the American side of the lines, and made his way to Plattsburg. He had been directed by Gen. Brown, in the event of his escape, to report himself to the commander of the first military post he should arrive at. He reported himself to Gen. Macomb, then commanding at Plattsburg, who examined into his case, and ordered the quartermaster to furnish him his back rations, from the time he left the army until he arrived at Plattsburg, which he disposed of, and proceeded on to Sackett's Harbor, and reported himself to Gen. Brown. The general was as much surprised as rejoiced at his escape, and offered to procure him a commission on the peace establishment, which he modestly declined, although, he said, it would have been the height of his ambition, if the war had continued. He asked if he would be satisfied with a pecuniary compensation, and to stay in the army till his time was out. This proposition he did not decline. Telling him there were no funds to pay off the troops, the general gave him an order for $100, pocket-money, on his brother, Major Brown, quartermaster, who for that reason did not pay it. He sold the order for $80 — "and that was all," said Price, "I ever received from Gen. Brown for my services, such as they were."

His old regiment, the Eleventh, the general said was to be called the Sixth, and would be stationed at Governor's Island, at New York, and he would be there in September or October following. He came and reviewed the troops at the island; and Price saw and spoke with him, and was directed to call at his quarters the next day, at 10 o'clock. He did call, but the general had left the city a few minutes before, and Price never saw him afterwards.

He remained in the service, and received an honorable discharge, dated June 13, 1817, having served five years, the full term of his enlistment. It was signed by his captain, John Bliss, and Col. Atkinson, and was sent to Washington, when he obtained his land. He resumed his old business — that of a sailor on the lake which he had been accustomed to from boyhood, and for a long time was shy of entering His Majesty's dominions. Becoming gradually owner and interested in various vessels, he was known as one of the best captains on Lake Champlain, till the state of his health admonished him to retire.

While Gen. Brown was commander-in-chief of the army, he made a tour to inspect the condition of the military defences on the northern frontier, and was hospitably entertained by Gov. Van Ness a day and night at Burlington. To him and some citizens who called to pay their respects, on the name of John Price being mentioned, he related the circumstances of the expedition upon which he had sent him — that he had accomplished the object — and ascribed to his agency its due share in the success of the sortie and the salvation of the army; and said he intended to send Price a written statement or certificate of the facts. To Hon. Ezra Meech, representing the Fourth Vermont District in Congress, he made the same statement in 1826 or 1827. Indeed, his return to, and reception in, the army, where he served two years in the company of his old captain, Bliss, after his escape from Montreal, settles the character of his desertion to the enemy. It was known to all the officers of his regiment.

Gen. Brown's statement or certificate never came. And wherefore? Gen. Brown never recovered from the effects of his fatigues and severe wounds, and brought from the war health and constitution, mind and memory shattered and impaired, and his infirmities gradually but constantly increased, till they laid him in his honored grave. In these infirmities may probably be found the explanation of any misconception or neglect in regard to Price's services. But this explanation was unknown to him. Wounded by it, he proudly refrained from reminding his old commander of what he should have remembered — and young and strong, engrossed in his hardy occupations, appreciated by his comrades, and by all whose opinion was of importance to him — and doing well — with the proverbial carelessness of the sailor and soldier, whose characters he combined, he whistled his disappointment down the wind, and marched on. But as years came he felt it deeply — more, I am persuaded, from the deserved appreciation of his conduct of which himself and his children were defrauded, than from the pecuniary reward that was withheld. Few who were present, will forget the interview between him and Gen. Scott, when the matter was talked over between them, and the eyes of the humble and the illustrious veterans overflowed.




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In his hardy vocation, no man was more industrious, resolute, and trusty. Property and money were safe in his integrity He was a good husband and father, a good citizen; in all things, manly; and the person lives not who will charge his memory with a mean or dishonest action; he was never obtrusive, but spoke sparingly and modestly of himself, though his soldier life was full of incidents that soldiers are commonly fond of rehearsing; and, though occasionally indulging in some amusements which are usually learned by young men in camp, and though his formidable left arm was exceedingly prompt to repel insult, protect a friend, or defend anybody imposed upon, the consequences of his venial faults generally lighted upon parties that richly deserved all they got. As a soldier, Price was a marked man; sure to be immediately thought of, and to volunteer, upon any service of difficulty and danger. The merit and credit of the actor in such an expedition as Price's to Gen. Drummond, are usually measured by the importance of the result, by the peril incurred, and by the motive. Now, it is certain, that Gen. Drummond was so penetrated by the conviction that the danger was in the direction of Fort Niagara, that he sent one brigade of 2,000 men there, in the forenoon of the 17th; that not a man of the second brigade in the rear moved to the assistance of the batteries till too late that Brown, left to deal with the third brigade, which manned the works unsupported, swept them, and achieved the victory. What Brown thought of Price's agency in paralyzing two thirds of the British army, has been already stated; what Drummond thought of it, his instant arrest and the subsequent transactions, conclusively prove. In this, both commanders manifested their agreement. As to the peril coolly incurred — it was that of immediate death — not like that on the bloodiest field of battle, which is contingent, not certain; nor that of a spy, who glides into the enemy's camp, discovers his weak and unguarded points, and, prepares and expects escape; but that of a deserter, who boldly braves the bullets of the sentinels, whose plan implies that his person is to be left in the hands of an exasperated enemy, and who seeks the success of his stratagem from the very confidence which his inevitable peril inspires. It is true he did escape. But his escape was almost a miracle; and that he owed to himself alone; to the same qualities, in short, that nerved him to meet the peril. Who would incur it, from any hopes, promises, or prospects of promotion or reward, in such a case? As elements of inducement, they are too small to be detected by the naked eye. As to the motive, then: To bring safety to his comrades — victory to the army — honor to the country — that was the motive. John Price was capable of it. He felt the sentiment, and he acted it. No finer action of the kind has been transmitted by history or tradition; not Sergeant Champe's, nor Nathan Hale's, nor Crosby's. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, the corollary of the Revolution, waged to avenge the stimulation of Indian massacres, paper blockades, orders in council, impressment of our seamen, and plunder of our property on the ocean, for which the satisfaction was contemptuous insult — a war that revealed to ourselves and to foreign nations our resources and our strength, and raised us in their estimation and our own — that prevented future wars by averting foreign wrongs — that inspired in a people, divided acid alienated, a feeling of brotherhood and the pride of nationality, that have borne us since through many a crisis, and of which we feel the influence to the present hour. Let not that war, nor its warriors, nor its examples of unostentatious self-devotion, be rewarded with oblivion, by a people that will surely stand in need of them hereafter. In his own state especially, ought such deeds as John Price's to be remembered — for he was one of the eleventh regiment, in whose fame Vermont is so largely interested — which numbered 1,100 young men as they were mustered into service on the public square of Burlington, at the commencement of the war, and closed it with a handful. When he died, it was the judgment of the neighbors and friends who thronged to his funeral, that he left not a braver soldier or truer man behind him.

Burlington, Vt., July, 1853.




Capt. Sawyer enters the navy, June 4, 1812 — Service on Lake Champlain — Engagement and capture of the Growler and Eagle at Isle aux Noix — A year's captivity at Halifax — Exchanged and ordered on board the Constitution — Engagement and capture of the Cyane and Levant — Chase and escape of the Constitution — Peace — Capt. Sawyer ordered to Boston — Goes before the mast in an India ship — Return and promotion — Ordered to the South American squadron under Com. Stewart for a three years' cruise — Ordered to the West Indies on service against pirates — Ordered to the Mediterranean on similar service — Goes abroad for his health — Home service on the Canadian frontier — Promotion as commander — Promotion as post captain — Sickness and death.


Of that band of skillful and heroic officers who in the French and Tripolitan wars established the navy in the confidence and af




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fections of the American people, Com. Stewart alone survives — retaining at a great age his mind unclouded, and his physical powers almost unimpaired (June, 1860). Of those whose youth was trained in that school and by such masters, who performed subordinate but honorable parts in the naval conflicts of the war of 1812, the number that remains is small, indeed, and rapidly diminishing. To this class, the late Capt. Horace Bucklin Sawyer belonged; and a sketch of his naval service and character will not be uninteresting to his friends and professional associates.

He belonged to a military race. His grandfather, Col. Ephraim Sawyer, having commanded Whitcomb's Worcester County Regiment at Bunker hill and Saratoga — furnished four sons who were officers in the Revolution, and spent an ample estate in the cause, as the wont of the times was — left Lancaster, Mass., in 1786, with his whole numerous family, and emigrated to Grand Isle co., Vt. His father, Col. James Sawyer, one of the four above referred to, removed from Brandon to Burlington in 1780, where his third son was born Feb. 22, 1797.

When war was declared in 1812, Hon. Martin Chittenden, who then represented the Northern part of the state in congress, was called upon, at short notice, to hand in a. list of names for military and naval appointments. Among them were the sons of his old friend. The elder, Frederick A. Sawyer, recently graduated, and undetermined as to his pursuit in life, was appointed an ensign — the younger, a midshipman. The first knowledge of the appointments was the reception of the commission and warrant through the post office. The ensign immediately reported himself to Col. Clark, who had just begun to recruit and organize the 11th regiment, afterwards so well known for its participation in the battles on the Niagara frontier — and the midshipman reported to Lieut. Sidney Smith, who had charge of the naval force on Lake Champlain.

That force consisted of a few gunboats built two or three years before; and in course of the summer two sloops, called the Growler and Eagle, were purchased by the government, strengthened and armed with eleven guns each — twelve pound carronades. It was actively employed during the season of navigation, in aiding the military operations along the lake. At the close of the season of 1812, Com. (then Lieut.) McDonough, having been appointed to the naval command of the lake, arrived at Burlington, where he passed the winter in fitting up a sloop, then called the President.

The season of 1813 opened late, and after a winter of an unprecedented severity. On the 27th of May, Mid. Sawyer was directed by Com. McDonough to take one of the gunboats to Plattsburgh. On entering the bay she was struck by a flaw or gust of wind, upset, and lying on her beam ends, the crew were able to hold on until relieved. But this was not until after several hours; and having been immersed in water of nearly the temperature of ice, they were more dead than alive when they got on board the Eagle — an accident which he had cause to remember during his life.

The gunboats of the enemy — then called row-gallies — had come up the lake over the American side of the lines, captured the small craft, and otherwise annoyed the inhabitants on both sides of the lake. Com. McDonough directed Lieut. Smith to take the Growler and Eagle as far as Champlain, and drive the enemy down the lake. Those vessels, it may be noted, had a few good sailors from the seaboard; but the principal part of the crews were Capt. Herrick's company of McCobb's Maine regiment. They were lumbermen from the seacoast and rivers, and had some nautical experience. Lieut. Smith was on board the Growler. The officers of tho Eagle were Loomis, sailing master; Sawyer, midshipman, together with Capt. Herrick.

The vessels proceeded north — the row-galleys retiring provokingly at their leisure before the Growler and Eagle, keeping out of their reach, as they might well do, by the use of their sweeps. Lieut. Smith passing Champlain, found himself at Ash island; and at 3 o'clock on the morning of June 3d, pressed on beyond the narrow passage till the impregnable and impassable fortification of the Isle aux Noix fronted his view, and the gallies safe under the protection of its guns. Of course there was no more use in remaining, than there was in coming there. But to beat back against the current of the lake, now shrunk to a river, running at the rate of three or four miles an hour, and a smart south wind besides, was found impracticable. The enemy were not slow in availing themselves of the advantage. Artillery was placed, and 300 troops scattered along both shores within musket range of the imprisoned vessels. The firing commenced at 7 o'clock of a fine, clear June morning — aimed by the Growler and Eagle occasionally at the row-gallies as they darted from their




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coverts to discharge their long twenty-four's, but mainly at the enemy on the shores; and it was reported at the time with severe effect. But at 12½ o'clock a 24 pound shot struck the larboard bow of the Eagle, and ranging obliquely through the vessel, tore off a whole plank from her side, under water. She sunk immediately, fortunately in shoal water. Some fifteen minutes after, a 24 pound ball shattered the Growler's mast, bringing down her sails and rendering her unmanageable. Lieut. Smith was compelled to run her ashore. The vessels were lost, and the crews prisoners.

The Growler lost 9 and the Eagle 11 men, killed and wounded. This disaster was severely felt, as it gave the enemy the command of the lake, impeded our military operations on this frontier, and influenced, if it did not compel, the transfer of hostilities to a theater where much blood was spilt, but no adequate result could be attained. Without it, however, the defence of Plattsburgh and McDonough's victory could have scarcely taken place, by which these same vessels, bearing the names of Chub and Finch, were recaptured from the enemy.

Defeat and captivity are a rude and mortifying introduction to the professional life of a soldier or sailor, although the spirit, judgment and activity of the young midshipman in this conflict of almost six hours — qualities which the inexperience of almost every man on board, made valuable and brought into full play — were acknowledged by his comrades. But the battle brought with it an aggravated misfortune. His head, disordered by the recent accident already referred to, was so affected by the constant cannonading for so many hours, that at its close, he found himself in a state of deafness, from which with a consequent train of ailments and disorders, he was to experience during his life, temporary mitigations, indeed, but no recovery.

The court of inquiry subsequently held, bore testimony to the gallantry of officers and men — to the resolute constancy of a defence, which was protracted till further resistance became impossible, and treated leniently the imprudence which led to the disaster.

The prisoners were sent to Montreal, expecting, of course, that their baggage would follow them. It was appropriated by the victors; and not a trunk or an article was restored to them. Mr. Sawyer was indebted to that generous gentleman, Horatio Gates, for a refit of clothing and an advance of the funds which his situation required. They were sent to Halifax, where they were held as hostages. The British government and officers had proclaimed that they would treat and punish as traitors all native-born subjects taken fighting on the American side. Our Government appointed Gen. (then Col.) Scott to negotiate an arrangement on the subject with the British authorities; but without success. They were informed, as the American ultimatum, that for every one so dealt with, two Englishmen should receive similar treatment; and by this process of duplication, all the prisoners of war on both sides, came to be held as hostages for each other.

Deprived, therefore, of the privilege of parole, and all the ordinary indulgences of prisoners of war, the officers were confined in one of H. M. ships of war, commanded by Hon. Capt. Douglas. He was a young man of 27, a younger son of Lord Douglas, of the heroic race commemorated by Shakspeare and Scott — a frank sailor, of a nature the most kindly and generous. For his prisoners (many of them raw youths from the frontiers or the sea), he opened his library, replenished from time to time from the town, and provided teachers of French, mathematics, fencing, and even of dancing — recommending cheerful and useful occupation as the best remedy and relief for the ennui and despondency incident to their situation. For the young sailor, so heavily afflicted by the performance of duty in battle, he evinced much sympathy and interest — conversing with him familiarly and making such suggestions as to books and study as he thought useful. Thus, undisturbed by the noise, and undiverted by the amusements, of his crowded quarters, he availed himself of all the means within his reach, and converted a year of captivity into a year of improvement.

Not a few of his prisoners had cause to remember, in after days, the considerate kindness of Capt. Douglas. The Captain said one day to the young man: "Well, I mean to be under sail; and you, I suppose, will get on board one of your Yankee ships, when you get quit of us."

"Certainly, sir," said the midshipman.

"Well, then, I shall meet you and take you, no doubt; and you will have to resume your studies."

"Not so, sir. I am quite sure we shall take you — as we are getting into that way of late; and I must think how I can requite your favors."

Both remembered this playful conversation some months afterwards.

An exchange of prisoners was at length




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effected, and a cartel carried them to Boston, where he was ordered to the Constitution, about to proceed to sea, under the command of Com. Stewart. He was allowed to make a short visit to his family — and the change that was made by the teachings of reverse and captivity was striking indeed The raw lad, improved in mind, manners and person, was transformed into the self-reliant and reflective man, with formed purpose and character.

The Constitution proceeded on her cruise, like one of Ariosto's heroes — roaming the ocean at pleasure, baffling the pursuit of banded foes and victorious in every encounter. On the afternoon of Feb. 20, 1815, two sail were descried in the distance. If the two British ships (a frigate of the smaller class of 32 guns, and a sloop of 24 guns), were superior in number of guns and men to their antagonists, it was an advantage counter-balanced by the concentration of force in a single ship, and that ship the Constitution, commanded by Stewart! The engagement commenced at 6 o'clock in the afternoon. Even a landsman, with the official account before him, can comprehend the skill with which the advantages of position and wind were used and maintained throughout by the Constitution — keeping her two enemies within reach, striking them successively the heaviest blows, and raking them without suffering herself to be raked. The complex manœuvres required in fighting two enemies instead of one, necessarily protracted conflict for hours, mostly under the clear light of a bright moon. At half past nine, a raking broadside from the Constitution compelled the larger vessel to strike, and the first lieut., Hoffman, was sent on board to take possession of the ship, which proved to be the Cyane, Capt. Falconer. The delay required by this operation, it was feared might enable her consort to escape. The latter, meantime, much cut up, had drifted or run to leeward to repair damages, with no intention however to abandon her comrade; for her gallant commander had resolved to share his fortunes whatever they might be. She met the Constitution, which had turned in pursuit of her, and bravely maintained the combat till 10 P. M., when she too, was compelled to strike. Lieut. Shubrick was the officer sent to take possession, to whose division Mr. Sawyer belonged, and who was directed to accompany the lieutenant on board the prize. Some men had been hurt at the guns; and during much of the engagement Mr. Sawyer had assisted in serving a gun himself. Dressed in sailor jacket and a tarpaulin, and with hands and face begrimed with powder, he was not readily distinguishable. As the commander of the Levant — for that was the ship's name — stood on his deck to receive his unwelcome visitors, Mr. Sawyer recognized Capt. Douglas! After the necessary business communications had been made by his superior, he stepped forward and expressed his great pleasure at again meeting Capt. Douglas. "I can't make you out, sir.' A few words brought about immediate recognition, and the captain remarked: "This is a freak of fortune, but it is the fortune of war." And, in the intervals of duty at that busy time till Capt. Douglas was paroled and departed, the friendly enemies had many pleasant conferences.

The Constitution and her two prizes put into Port Praya for repairs. On the 11th of March, accident disclosed that a large ship was approaching. Com. Stewart directed the cables of his vessel to be instantly cut. A second look revealed in the distance the canvas of two more heavy ships composing a strong British squadron, known to be cruising in those seas. In 10 minutes the Constitution and her prizes were standing out to sea, swept to windward and cleared the hostile ships. And now had commenced the famous chase, even more honorable to the skill and spirit of the American commander, officers and crews than their late victory. The enemy were gaining on the Cyane. Com. Stewart signaled her to tack, and aided by a fog, and varying her courses as was judged most likely to disconcert pursuit, she arrived safe in the United States. In the same situation, the Levant tacked, but was forced back into Port Praya, where, in neutral waters, and under the protection of neutral guns, and entitled to immunity from aggression by the laws of nations, the whole British squadron, which had turned in pursuit of her, attacked and re-captured her — a way the British had in those days. The Constitution, now disembarrassed, proceeded on her triumphant course, and learning that peace had been made, arrived at New York in the latter days of May, 1815. This cruise was the last of the naval achievements of the war and justified the striking language of Com. Stewart in his letter to Capt. Sawyer, that "the Constitution terminated the war as she had commenced it, in a blaze of glory by battle and retreat!"

Of the conduct of Mr. Sawyer, in this memorable cruise — of his gallantry, zeal and untiring devotion to duty, the testime




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nials exist; and they evince — what is credit enough — that he was worthy to be one of that noble crew.

Relieved from the ship, he was ordered to Boston, and now in the fourth year of continous service, he was comparatively at liberty in the new scenes of a large city. He then and there resolved to guard himself against the temptations and vices to which the desultory life of a naval man is exposed. Indulgence in tobacco, wine, play, and dissipation did not comport with his ideal of what an officer and gentleman should be; his resolution became a principle of action; and a consistent but unostentatious freedom from the habits referred to, marked his whole after life. Such self-control was, perhaps, more uncommon then than now. But it attracted a degree of respect and social favor, seldom yielded to one of his youth and grade. All this made his station at Boston very pleasant; but he had determined to learn practical seamanship before the mast. From the commencement of the navy, such had been the practice of its better spirits, and he followed the example. An India ship of Col. Thomas H. Perkins was about to sail, and himself and a son of Col. Perkins, of his own age, shipped on board of her. But privately the colonel strictly enjoined the captain — a favorite and trusted one — to give the young men no favor nor indulgence, but rigidly to exact from them the hardest service — which was probably somewhat more than they had bargained for. The crew, too, taking the matter into sage consideration, came to the conclusion that the young men were interlopers, not properly belonging to their fraternity; and they were left literally to fight their way through the difficulty without the Captain's interference, who ignored the whole matter, though passing before his own eyes and ears. When they had manfully taken their own parts, showed that they could manage the ropes and sails as handily as any of them, and cheerfully performed their whole duty aloft and below, down to swabbing the decks, Jack agreed they were no shirks, took them into favor, and peace was established. The midshipman found his training thorough enough.

He returned, as he had timed it, to see to his promotion which he had expected at the session of 1817-18, and learned to his dismay that his name had been omitted in the secretary's list for promotion. The objection was simply his youth. A young man of 21 could afford to give away to his seniors in age, but his juniors in date and service. But if too young for promotion at 21, at what age would the objection cease? If postponed to his juniors (and to how many?) promotion would be retarded through all the grades, and so affect his status during his whole naval life. The principle assumed broke over the usage of the navy, regarded as settled, which prescribed seniority in date as the rule of promotion; and the occasional deviations from it (as in the case of Lawrence and Morris and some others) had produced discontent in the navy and public dissatisfaction.

With a letter from his father, he called upon Gov. Tichenor, then in the U. S. senate from Vermont, and exceedingly beloved and respected in that body, who read his testimonials and inquired into the particulars of his service. The governor said: "The rule of seniority in date (except in special cases of incompetency or misconduct) is the only one that can prevent favoritism, intrigue and heart burnings in the service. I am with you on public grounds," and he was so well satisfied with the young man that he characteristically added: "My young friend I am glad to do for you on your own account, what I should be compelled to do for your father's son, at any rate." The nominations were sent in, and the subject was earnestly debated and long suspended in the senate. It transpired — as such things do — that in the conclusion of his speech in secret session, Gov. Tichenor declared warmly that he would not consent to any naval promotions whatever, till this injustice was corrected; and his principal opponent rose and blandly said: "When the venerable senator makes that declaration, I yield — let the nominations lie on the table till he pleases to call them up." President Monroe, after an interview invited by himself with the governor, directed the midshipman's name to be inserted — and the rule for promotion by seniority in date, has remained substantially undisturbed till now.

Mr. Sawyer had heard of Gov. Tichenor as one of the founders of his native state — as a patriot and statesman, who had served her in almost every trust in her power to confer, and he had heard too, of those charming manners which fascinated all who ever approached him. But brought within their influence during that winter — not even his grateful sense of his friendly interest and earnest exertions at an important crisis of his life, could heighten the admiration and veneration he cherished for that accomplished gen




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tleman. Of any man, it was enough for him to say: "He reminds me of Gov. Tichenor."

Soon after his promotion, he was appointed one of lieutenants of the brig Dolphin, Capt. Connor, belonging to a strong squadron, destined to a three years' cruise to South America, commanded by Com. Stewart, who hoisted his broad pennant on board the Franklin seventy-four. It was a busy and interesting cruise. The war of emancipation was blazing on both sides of the Andes from Mexico to Buenos Ayres. On shore American lives and property were to be protected from the violence of parties contending or ascendant — and at sea, from privateers or pirates, assuming either character as opportunity served. Every port on both sides of the continent was visited, and the neighboring seas frequently traversed. The humanity of Com. Stewart extended impartial protection to the victims of civil commotion; and when the exigency arose, his squadron was an asylum for their persons and property. Mrs. Stewart accompanied her husband. Visits were interchanged between the squadron and the shore, when the intervals of active duty permitted the officers to enjoy them; and free acquaintance and intercourse established with the society of regions so long secluded from the observation of foreigners by the jealous policy of Spain. Lieut. Sawyer's frequent letters to his relatives, at this period, showed that these scenes in their military, political and social aspects, so rapid in their transitions and so novel in their character, and the results then in the distance, were closely watched and thoughtfully studied. He, at least, was little disappointed at what has since happened. Being detached from his ship not long before the termination of the cruise, he and his friend Dr. Smith of Philadelphia, traveled over a considerable part of South America, making excursions on horseback to interior places, visiting at the houses and receiving hospitable treatment from the people. Reaching Panama, they crossed the Isthmus and came home in an American ship.

Of this cruise of Com. Stewart, it is worth while stopping to remark — that upon these South American people — then blindly staggering into a national independence they have never known how to enjoy or maintain, the wisdom and ability of the chief, the skill and intelligence of his officers, and the thorough discipline of the crews — above all, the promptitude, justice and humanity manifested on all occasions, made a salutary and lasting impression. Actual aggression was followed by certain punishment. Meditated wrong was abandoned from the impossibility of success. Our commerce was secure at sea. Our residents were safe on shore; and protection was denied to none of any nation that asked and deserved it. And this view answers the question: Of what use is a navy in time of peace? Why, of the very peace which the question assumes to value, the navy is the guardian and protector. While, beyond our limits, it is a spear to smite the foreign assailant, and a shield to protect our coasts, harbors and cities — its best office is to save the expense and blood of victory, even by preventing its necessity. Within our limits, moreover, it can not, penetrate, to endanger, if that can be supposed, the public liberty. Of these truths this nation can not be insensible, unless, like those miserable South American states, it is destined to be "dissevered, discordant, belligerent — rent with civil feuds, and drenched, it may be, with fraternal blood." Is this to happen?

Lieut. Sawyer's next sea service was in the brig Spark, commanded by that excellent officer and man, Capt. John T. Newton, against the pirates in the West Indies. Piracy there, had been stimulated into unwonted activity and proportions by the disorders of the neighboring countries. Outrages of the most atrocious character had been committed upon our commerce. And instead of resting content with simply punishing these, and stationing in those seas a naval force to guard against their repetition, our government, as far back as the commencement of President Monroe's second term, came to the determination to extirpate piracy in the West Indies at once and forever  — just as our navy had before struck the first deadly blow at the same pest in the Old World, in its conflicts with the Barbary powers. It took six years to fully accomplish the object. A considerable number of vessels had been built and fitted expressly for this service, manned by young and enterprising officers, and by tars who hated pirates worse than sharks. As for the duty — to attack and sink piratical vessels and boats, or to capture and send in the pirates for trial and punishment — the boat service to unfrequented harbors and inlets on the coast of Cuba, the Isle of Pines and adjacent Keys where the pirates and their vessels were concealed, and attack them — to track them to their coverts, cutlass in hand, exposed to the burning tropical sun and the miasma of the shores; this was the service required of all, officers and men.




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In this service, reports Capt. Newton, Lieut. Sawyer, always ready to volunteer and lead, performed a zealous and gallant part. After two years' incessant duty, the consequence of exposure and fatigue in these boat expeditions, was an attack of yellow fever. The Spark brought him around to Havana, where he lingered for days between life and death, and by the advice of the surgeon, he was carried in a helpless condition on board of a ship bound for Norfolk. The sea air revived him. From Norfolk, he reached his relatives in Vermont, greatly debilitated; and months of care and medical treatment were required to put him on his feet. Dyspepsia and its kindred derangements were the legacy which yellow fever left him.

His next service was in the sloop-of-war Warren, in the Mediterranean, under the command of that able officer Capt. Kearney. The specific duty was the protection of our commerce from the pirates, who had grown numerous and audacious during the Greek revolution. The coasts of Italy, on the Adriatic side especially, and the mainland shores and Isles of Greece were visited or brought into near contiguity — famous and memorable spots, which the lieutenant's reading enabled him to view and appreciate with the curiosity and interest they must ever inspire. Wherever a pirate was seen or heard of, the Warren was in pursuit to capture and punish; her activity and efficiency may be inferred from Mr. Cooper's remark, that, "in the Mediterranean, it was said of Capt. Kearney, that his ship, the Warren, had done more to suppress piracy, than all the other vessels, French, English, American and Russian, united." Lieut. Sawyer, who had some experience with the pirates by this time, and did not love them at all, was most active and zealous in his exertions.

Lieut. Sawyer had married Miss Shaler of Middletown, Ct., and six weeks afterwards, he was on his way to the Mediterranean in the Warren. He came home to see her expire a few weeks after his return — a heavy blow. And now regret and despondency were to be dispelled, and impaired health demanded attention. A surgical operation in his head for his deafness, had been suggested; and he was strongly encouraged to hope from foreign skill and experience in that class of disorders, relief or mitigation which he had failed to obtain, or rather neglected to seek, at home. Receiving a furlough and letters from medical friends, he took the packet for England — called on Sir Astley Cooper, who investigated his case, and prescribed a course of medical treatment for his infirmity, and for inflammation of the head and brain, to which he was constantly liable. Thus occupied, he was comparatively alone in the wilderness of London.

Walking one day in Regent street (the Broadway of London), Lieut. Sawyer saw, amidst the crowd approaching, a face and figure, fuller and somewhat touched and altered by time, yet not to be mistaken by him. The other might reasonably have found more difficuty in detecting the identity of the tall and somewhat stately man before him, with the stripling of fifteen years before. Raising both hands almost involuntarily, to prevent the gentleman from being swept onward with the stream of the multitude and lost, he exclaimed: "Captain Douglas! — Admiral Douglas I hope by this time — I am most happy to meet you!" There was surprise, hesitation, recognition. Seizing his arm, Capt. Douglas conducted him to the United Service Buildings — a little city of itself — established and supported by the contributions of the officers of the two services, where the subscribers resided, without charge, while they sojourned in London; and where veteran officers of all ranks, delighted to resort to meet each other and their associates in arms. The meeting was as pleasant as cordialy and hearty hospitality could make it. At length, Capt. Douglas rose and proposed to pass to another room, "where there are some gentlemen you will like to see." And there he saw a number of plain, military looking gentlemen — somewhat weather-beaten — conversing and enjoying themselves as veterans do. Capt. Douglas presented the American officer to the Duke of Wellington, Sir Edward Codrington, the hero of Navarino, Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, and others, explaining briefly his acquaintance and its origin. He was courteously received, put at his ease, and soon engaged in conversation. This was his principal resort during his stay in London, where he formed a large acquaintance with naval and military men, under the most agreeable and favorable circumstances. He owed too, to the attentive kindness of the same friend, more invitations to the circle of society to which he belonged than he was able to accept.

Owing to the fogs of London, unusally dense and heavy during that season, and which proved of long continuance, indeed, scarcely interrupted during his stay, the operation in his head was judged too perilous




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to a foreigner, unaccustomed to the climate, to be risked; and Sir Astley Cooper advised him to go to the clear atmosphere of Paris, which he had not proposed to visit. He gave him a letter to Dupuytren, occuyping there a professional position similar to his own. Having placed himself under his care, he called, of course, on General Lafayette; and the mention of his father as an officer of Col. Hamilton's regiment, at whose side he was at the storming of the redoubt at Yorktown, under the general's own supervision, and whom the general had seen during his then recent visit to America, added something of warmth to the attention and kindness with which he greeted every American. He carried him to his chateau at La Grange, where the patriarch and his son and wife, and his daughters and their husbands, and his grandchildren lived together, composing one household. This charming circle, enlivened by numerous visitors of both sexes, comprising what was most agreeable, and much that was most distinguished in France, he and his friend, Mr. P. of New York, often visited. Gen. Lafayette, too, during that agitated period, for it just preceded the expulsion of Charles X, was much in Paris, and to the statesmen and civilians. and the great soldiers of Napoleon, whom death had spared, the general gave or procured him introductions. This was another opportunity which his good fortune afforded, to observe and enjoy what was most interesting to a military man, under conditions the most favorable to observation.

But the medical decision was that his deafness had become organic; and no prospect of benefit from an operation existed, to justify the risk of destroying the hearing that remained. He crossed the channel to take the packet for home, and while in London, the city was electrified by the news that Charles X was dethroned, and Lafayette was dictator of France.

Arrived home, though somewhat improved in general health, and gratified by the acquaintances he had formed and the interesting scenes he had mingled in, he brought with him the depressing conviction that his deafness was beyond the reach of medical skill, a disappointment none the less severe, because, probably, he had little real ground for expecting any essential relief. For a number of years, he remained at home, or on duty at naval stations. In the meanwhile, he had happily married Miss Wadsworth of Burlington; and a young family was growing up around him. After many years of active duty, and no longer young himself, service in a subordinate capacity became irksome. And, undoubtedly, his infirmity was a serious embarrassment in that position, from which command would relieve him, and promotion would entitle him to command. Moreover, exigencies arose, from time to time, which promised to accelerate it. During this period, therefore, he did not apply for sea service.

On the occurrence of the patriot war in Canada, as it was termed by some, or the Canadian rebellion, as it is now called — since all unsuccessful insurrections are rebellions — Lieut. Sawyer was assigned to a new and unusual duty. It will be remembered that the long discussions and negotiations for the settlement of our boundaries under the treaty of 1783, had arrived at a point in which agreement seemed impossible. The blundering award of the King of the Netherlands was rejected by both parties; and the British government, ignoring or evading by transparent sophistry, the plain language of the treaty of 1783, as well as the maps before the commissioners at the time — either of which was fatal to their pretensions — pertinaciously laid claim to a considerable portion of the state of Maine. That claim, put in its simplest form, might be stated thus: "You don't need that territory, we do, in order to compactly unite our possessions, and the easier to molest and invade yours, in the event of a war between us." That a pretension which touched at once the national pride and interest should provoke keen indignation was natural; and, as the argument was exhausted, a resort to the ultima ratio seemed inevitable.

It was at this precise juncture that the insurrection broke out — battles were fought and blood was flowing profusely in both provinces of Canada; and the strongest sympathy was manifested for the weaker party along the whole line of the American frontier, from the Aroostook to Mackinaw.

The administration, however, determined to pursue a pacific policy to meet the emergency, recommended, and congress passed a stringent act, supplementary to the general neutrality law of 1793; and Gen. Scott and Gen. Wool were despatched to the northern frontiers to enforce its execution. Lieut. Sawyer was directed by the navy department to report to those officers, and place himself subject to their orders. He was stationed at Derby Line, and, having charge of the northern frontier of Vermont, was necesarily vested with a large discretion.




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A small detachment of troops was placed under his orders. To use these, if necessary, to restrain and repress incursions from either sides of the lines — to select proper agents to obtain information of meditated movements and disconcert them; to appeal to those disposed to preserve the peace; to remonstrate with and defeat those inclined to disturbance; to prevent the burning of buildings and other schemes of mischief and violence designed to embroil the two countries; and to cooperate with the authorities, military and civil, on the other side, engaged in similar measures of repression — such were the duties imposed on Lieut. Sawyer. And the confidence implied in the selection of a naval officer to perform duties strictly military, was justified by the firmness and activity, the prudence, good temper, and success with which those duties were performed. His conduct received the approbation of those distinguished officers and of the government, and extorted the commendation of those to whom his mission was so distasteful.

While engaged in this duty, he received his promotion as commander in the navy. His friend Capt. Claxton, who so gallantly conducted in his youth in Perry's battle, incurred deafness on Lake Erie, by an accident, and under circumstances, almost similar to what happened Capt. Sawyer on Lake Champlain, and yet received command. The latter was not so fortunate. His repeated applications for the command, which is the object of a naval man's ambition, were unsuccessful; he undoubtedly felt wounded; but acting on the principle that "Sparta hath many a worthier son than he," he applied no more. And yet, his disability, if such it was, was incurred in battle and aggravated by disease which accrued in hard service, and was justly entitled to the allowance conceded the loss of a limb in battle.

He was much employed, it may just be noted, at the naval stations at Norfolk, Georgetown, D. C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Boston, Sacketts Harbor — routine duties which afforded no incidents.

In 1854, he was promoted to a post captaincy. At their session in 1856, the legislature of Vermont, presented him a sword for his services in the war with Great Britain. In 1857, his nomination for restoration to the position in his grade, from which he had been displaced by the naval commission, was unanimously confirmed by the senate.

He had taken up his residence at Plattsburgh, a place now classical in the naval and military history of the country, with which he became familiar in his first service, and with whose hospitable people he had always maintained the most friendly acquaintance. There he hoped to retire when years and infirmities demanded rest. This was hardly to be. The severity of our northern winters compelled him to resort to the milder climate of Washington, where a year ago, he barely survived an attack of erysipelas. Hζret lateri lethalis arundo. The fatal arrow had sped and well his friends knew the frail tenure by which life was henceforth to be held. Returning to Washington, he was disordered, restless, debilitated; and it was thought a trip to Charleston and back, under the care of his friend Judge Smalley, might benefit him; he was worse on his return, and after a week of great suffering which he bore with manly fortitude and Christian hope, he expired on the 14th of February, 1860. He had the consolation of the presence of his family, of the sympathies of many of his naval friends, and of the citizens of Washington, among whom he had long resided.

His remains were brought to his native place, and interred among his kindred, as he desired — the last of three brothers who had honorably served the country in the army and navy.

The service in which Capt. Sawyer participated, with its incidents, while it illustrates his professional character, has an interest of its own; these reminiscences have fallen from the pen as memory prompted, and those for whom this notice is intended, would not require their compression, if it were now practicable. It is enough, if they suggest to them traits that belong to the thorough seaman, the brave and enlightened officer, and the true gentleman.

Capt. Sawyer was a man of strong mind and ready perceptions; he was fond of books, and his information was extensive and accurate; and his large acquaintance with society had given him manners courteous and winning, sustained by personal advantages quite unusual. Singularly free from bad habits and vices, his tastes and pleasures were simple, manly and plain. He liked to seek out the old soldiers, and to do and contrive something for their benefit. He was fond of his profession and his professional associates, among whom he bad no ill-wishers. His worthy foster brothers, Robert, Andrew, and Lavater White, with whom his infancy and much of his youth was spent, were brothers to the last, and his attachment




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to his native state, whose history, public men, and people he thoroughly knew, was felt and expressed with an earnestness that sometimes provoked a smile. While residing beyond her limits, at Washington and everywhere, he delighted to seek out a Vermonter, to carry him to his house, and to do him a pleasure or a service.

In his domestic relations he was faultless; and he was loved by his family as few men have been — and deserved it all. To that group he has left the memory of his counsels, and the guidance of his example.