9.05.2014

LIEUTENANT HENRY S. NEWCOMB TO COMMODORE JOHN RODGERS


September 5, 1814

LIEUTENANT HENRY S. NEWCOMB TO COMMODORE JOHN RODGERS
Alexandria September 5th
Sir

Yesterday At 1 PM got under way from Alexandria with four boats & the Navy Yard lighter—

Two Ships in sight— at 4—one of them doubled the point— at 7.30 came to close under the land, abreast of Johnsons Springs— observing two men on the hill watching our motions, sent Mr. Ramage with a small party to take them, but he returned unable to effect it— at 8 pm silently got under way & dropped up with the tide about half a mile— 

Then crossed to the Maryland side— beached the small boats— formed their crews on the bluff with
small arms to cover them & anchored the lighter close in shore with springs on her cable—
At 10, pm heard the enemy’s barges in motion and making for the place where we first came to— at 10:30—bright moonlight & calm—perceived five large barges standing for us & several others keeping the other shore.
Onboard waited till they came within half musket shot & then opened on them with round, grape & langrage— The seamen on the hill commenced at the same time— The enemy appeared to be in great confusion— gave them a second fire, when they returned it with some vivacity from their great guns—small arms and Rockets— at 11:45—silenced their fire— heard loud & distressing cries from their boats & on its being reported to me that they called for quarter ceased firing— 

A short time afterwards the headmost boat appeared to be approaching & attempting to rally the others astern—those from the other side having joined them— when they recommenced firing—returned it from the great guns & in five minutes heard several exclaim they were sinking—

When they discontinued firing & returned to their ship—

At midnight reembarked & came to below Alexandria— their fire, tho well lined, was too high to do
execution & I had only one man wounded—

Respectfully
H. S. Newcomb
P.S. Midshipman Stockton came on board during the reconnoiter & was of much service to me—
Want of sleep for several nights past & incessant fatigue will apologize for the appearance of this letter

No comments:

Post a Comment