Letters to Miss Harriet O’Connor from her brother J.M. O’Connor, May-November 1813.
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AbstractThree letters addressed to Miss Harriet O’Connor, City of New York, from her brother Jno [John] M. O’Connor, May-November 1813. The letters were written while O’Connor was fighting with the Americans during the War of 1812. The first letter is dated at Fort George, U.C., May 30, 1813. O’Connor describes the American attack on Fort George on May 25 and 27, writing that “…we attacked & carried Fort George and the Village of Newark, having killed, wounded & taken prisoners better than 400 British Regulars, exclusive of Militia…the enemy have abandoned all the Niagara frontier which is now in our possession, blown up their magazines & retreated with nearly 1400 Regulars towards York…” The second letter is dated at Sacketts Harbour, 3 June 1813. O’Connor writes “We were ordered here to the defence of this place, but it had been attacked previous to our arrival. The British had 1300 Regulars & 50 Indians…They were repulsed by about 500 American Regulars & 200 irregulars. The British both here & at Niagara fought badly because their generals evinced the greatest ignorance & stupidity in their arrangements. The Troops personally fought bravely. Our men in both instances evinced a degree of intrepidity & gallantry that reflects credit on our Country. In fact the amazing valour of our Troops has been the salvation of our generals!!” The third letter is dated at French Mills, N.Y., 15 Nov. 1813. O’Connor describes at length some military engagements with the British as they traveled down the St. Lawrence River. This included fighting at Prescott and near Cornwall. He writes that “…[we] had some skirmishing from the 8 to the 11th Nov. on which day the rear corps of the army was attacked by 1600 regulars & 800 militia and after a sanguinary conflict succeeded in repulsing the Enemy with great loss on both sides. We lost many Officers and some of high rank. Gen’l Covington was killed.” He later adds that “…a retreat was determined upon as the only means of saving the army from the united effects of the elements & the sword”.
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