Letters and Documents of George Ward- Transcribed by Glenn Stott
Paint Creek, Longwoods January 22nd 1825
Your Excellancy Major General Sir Pergrine Maitland, Knight Commander of the Most Honorable Militaqry order of the Perth[?] Knight of the Russian Order of St. George and of the Order of William in the Netherlands Commander of His Majesty’s Forces in Upper Canada etc etc etc.
May it please your Excellency having never before this made mention of the affair wherof I was deceived by Doctor Richardson certain facts I shall exactly lay before your Excellancy and humbly crave your leisure to peruse them, which already has been proved by 23 loyal men and four Field Officers of the American Army which attests cost me considerable their States Attorney Generals fee be side the cost of their supreme Court with other costs.
Your Excellancies petitioner considers his treatment worse than bad and begs your Excellancy will take into consideration, these attest you Excellancy never yet have seen, tho they were transmitted in hopes of your perusal, I crave justice but not unity in this cause if I am proved the aggressor and if my behind back slanderers be not proved the meanest of lyars, then let me suffer it might be supposed a worn out soldier would get justice and a coward his reward. I don’t mean to dictate to your Exceancy no __ ___ ? that’s because I am a poor wornout man must I ly down and submit to Tirany no by no means for my zeal to his Majesty’s Service than to be condemned by heresay after 34 years servitude turn the old fellow out of doors sooner than Doctor Richardson and his pupils should be disgraced as lyars and ly down contented no.
Please your Excellancy here commences a detail just and correct well vouched on the saved oath of 27 men which was never done until after the supposed Investigation and intented Massacre, on the latter end of February, 1814 the company of Kent Volunteers by order of Major Steward [Brevet Colonel Stewart ]of the Royals came to the town of Camden where your Petitioner resided, who was at that time on Parole, the requirement was as long as the Americans had possession of the placy of my abode, I therefore considered my parole ended, I joined the volunteers and took with me a man James Moody whom the Enemy had in Jesno in Detroit from which he made his escape and relyed on me for protection I concealed him with myself chiefly in the woods for five weeks as the enemy swore they would have me dead or alive, I furnished said Moody with Arms, accoutrements, ammunition some clothing, and provision, he joined that Company and remained with it till peace. I then found a favourable opportunity to attention as I expected for the many Injuries received.
The enemy came on the opposite side of the river Thames the ice was in motion not passible just there but contrary to my request the Captn of that company ordered a shamefull retreat without firing a shot, tho wee were superior to them and on our won dunhill we would not come off 2nd best this was a third time that’s the case always with simple inexperienced officers o shame wee stole away cowardly like thieves in the dark of the night. I dare not go home for my treacherous neighbours knew I was with the troops; we reached Delaware next day where wee remained in its vicinity till the 4th of March. I remained with part of the Company on the south side of the River Thames at the Chamberlin’s place and the Captain on the north side with the remainder of the Company, facing each other wee neither kept guards or centinals ; this place is three miles from Delaware where the two Companies of the Royals and 69th [89th] were quartered
Captian Caldwell was at Mr. Kilburns four miles and half back from Delaware with the Indians and the Negroes of his company perhaps three whites and Ens. Hugh McCallum; this was 7 ½ miles from the Kent. I thought Major Steward of the Royals was commandant but the Noble Captain states it was himself and I applied to him to go home but he says I was suspected to be a traitor and forbid me going; was I not my own commanding officer; Captain Wilson was not there by his own confession tho he states he seen the place where I made the enemy retreat in confusion O MURDER and that I was dailey giving the enemy information where our scouts were hourly engaged I never seen Captain Caldwell for eighteen months before that time to this very houre nor he me
neither was there ever a scout or scrimmage in the place not as much as a shot ever fired till the 4th of March and then only thirteen for the six men they killed jumped into their knapsacks and loaded and fired at the horses foot Neither was there a house or any place of Roundevoux in the Longwood for 40 mile, mine being the only that \ever was in it and it was tended; neither was there Provender for either man or horse save big trees as Cull swore I crossed the River contrary to orders to get Provender for my horse. Good God was I not on the south side myself all the time under no man’s command however, I crossed to the north side to talk to Major Steward when the Kent paraded and returned with Serg’t Steward and some others
Major Steward told me there were not an American nigher than Detroit at that time but he had wrong information, the enemy came by the way of the Round o not by the Thames. On the march from Delaware the Kent only came who were scattered along the Road by 2,5 or 7 or less as usual. I told the Captain it was a scandel he did not keep the men regular and by his permission I would ride on and halt the front till the rear came up it was agreed I performed it and found six in front of the rest my son William was one of them. I also met a man of the name of Isaac Dolson and a woman in a horse shay who had encamped in the woods who came from the Thames who confirmed Major Steward’s words.
His camp was a little distance ahead I rode to it and gave my horse some feed which I brought from Jonathan Millers; I forgot to mention the company crossed the River about 8 o’clock in the morning facing Major Steward’s quarters I was the last with Serg’t Steward and others as I was in conversation with the Major.—but before my horse cut his feed I was surprised to find myself enclosed by the Enemy who dragged me out to their commanding officer who examined me concerning the royals and 69th. I declared I did not stay at Delaware, where they were and could give no account of them, they stript me to my shirt by this means they seen my sword otherwise would have been concealed from them; they demanded the reason why I wore a sword, I told them it was dangerous to go thro these woods quite naked as it might be invested by Indians; they insisted I knew of the movement of the troops. I told them according to the tnor of my parole I could not infom them if I even did know, I told them they could send out an advance party themselves which they immediately did whilst I was thus naked.
Your excellency would naturally suppose I would be anxious to invest myself of what I was divested of for I was neither barefoot nor shod, all were searched and I in a miserable cold condition , it a severe cold day before I got my cloaths on I heard a few shots they were close by the party they sent was Captain Lee and six of the smartest men and horses whilst I stood shivering and not yet dressed the first time I ever trembled before an enemy; the party returned joyfully for each of them had killed a man but returned without the spoils so they killed one more than there were there were 7 of them and six of the Kent they had a horse’s leg broken, I dreaded the fate of the poor Kent which would have fallen a victim to their fury that day had not providence directed me there as they were the only people on earth they envied.
Most for a surety had they not been detained by them curiousity in searching me the young unexperienced Boys must have suffered. Now please your Excellancy if the statement of Captn Caldwell and Capt Willson were correct what would save the company from destruction 200 of the well mounted besides a company of regulars on foot and only 49 of the Kent sowed along the Road as if they were in a Body what could they do; there were no other troops to support them, but seeing them six they said were killed tho not one hurt, they supposed the troops to be on the march, however the Enemy held a council and returned to their rendevoux where theyir fires were still burning;
Poor Rlgarlic was ordered to the centre of the Rangers under the care of an officer. O it was a rugged road, on their arrival they were formed with orders that no man should fire before he had his object and to remember the former Honor they gained over General Procter and the Indians, I then asked if they wanted me to fight for them as I was a British subject and an old man, They then demanded to know my religion I told them I belonged to the High Church of Ireland, the commander said I thought so, I asked liberty to go home I was asked to where, I told them as it was late I could not go home all the way, but would go to the Big Bend, the commanding officer told me to go there , or if I did not he would cut off my head.
On my arrival there I met with a man, Thomas Mathews who had seen them and told me their numbers which I could not myself ascertain as they resembled a mob of White Boys. I offered said Mathews a present of my horse, bridle and saddle to ride thro the woods and see Major Steward and let him know their numbers he told me he would not then asked him if he was a British subject, he answered no; he was an American. I should have performed that myself but its well known if I only go out of sight of my own house, I would not find the way home; this also proved an oath that in the presence of 100 men I accused him James Edwards who also was present he could not deny it…. This is also sworn by many
May it please your Excellancy, I must further state that no party ever formed themselves in a more complete situation to be captured than they were, at the time they dismissed me, it was on the 5th [sic 4th ] of March next day the Troops marched to attack the Enemy who also marched towards Delaware as I am informed which I believe to be correct but by their advance party of horsemen they perceived on troop in motion, they returned to their old station about half an hours run up.
Captn Basden came close to the enemy he was in an open place where the Enemy could perceive every man distinctly tho they could have secreted themselves and not under the Enemies fire as the Kent did piloted by William Ward for he was the only man there that had any knowledge of the situation of the place as Ward told him to go with the kent whom the Enemy never seen before they received their fire in the rear but Captn Basden ordered a charge indeed if he had ladders and ordered a storm and had a Battalion of the Best troops they must be defeated. The Brave Captn Johnston did get to the summit where if the Enemy had any honor they might have dragged him in and made him prisoner
Another young Gentleman they did, and one private better he had been killed for perhaps it was thro the agony of his wounds or for want of knowledge he told the enemy that Major Steward was proceeding with a thousand Indians even had our troops reached the precepis were they not under the fire of the Kent. Please your Excellancy on the first fire from the Kent their Captn McGregor was wound[ed] who ordered Wm Ward to go in search of Captn Caldwell to whom he was conducted by a man of colour one of the Captain’s company where he was leaning his back against a large oak leaning on the muzzle of his firearms, Ward delivered his message the Captain told him to tell
Captn McGregor to take care of himself for he had enough to do to take care of himself
it was proved on oath then that was the first time Ward seen him for several months Ward told his answer to Ct. McGregor who had received a second wound in the time and ordered him back and tell Captn Caldwell he must come Ward found the Captn in the same place and in the same position as at first and received the same answer but the Ensn. of Captn Caldwell’s company had joined the ranks of the Loyal Kent when he seen the Captian concealed and the men of colour partly in tere of the Kent where he Ensn. McColm cheered up the Boys the Regulars retired as did the remained Kent and blacks had Captn Caldwells blacks been killed or wounded no surely but they wounded,
the Kent for they kept up the fire the same as if they had been in line with the Kent Ensn McColm is now Lieutenant and to be found there endeth the Battle called so in the longwoods the just and the last that ever was in it the Captn Wilson states our scouts were daily and hourly engaged in the long Woods and that your petitioner was daily giving the Enemy intelligence and that I had a piece of cannon and the Enemy claimed so they did but His Honor did not stae anything about the enemy haning me nor of me saving it till peace It’s in Amherstburg
O Justice tells wonders I must state Lt. McGregor husked off that day he was the Captn.son he got a crack from a yankey before behind that made him ashamed to see them but he shamd the cripple at the end of the War and got crutches and Lt. Half pay till found out by the Inspecting doctors so was Wm Cull on of Doctor Richardson’s recommendr they was made manifest
Your petitioner is sorry to weary Your Excellancy by these long epistols but pardon me the injured only seeking fair justice—I am now on my 82nd year of my Pilgrimage and to be so used by.
Fraud your Excellancy is a wore old man would willingly crave their own. Your Excellancy pardon I crave as ignorantly I have expressed the real facts and be assured I am your Excellancies very obedient humble soldier
Am bound to pray