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War of 1812-15

Per the book, History of Perry County, Penn.,
by Silas Wright, 1873.


Chapter II
War of 1812-15

During the early part of the year 1814 Governor Simon Snyder ordered that a thousand militia be raised in Pennsylvania to assist in repelling the British invasion on the Canada frontier.  About one-half of this number was composed of volunteers from Cumberland County; the residue were raised principally by draft from the counties of Franklin, York and Adams.  These soldiers constituted the Eleventh regiment or division, and were commanded by General Porter, and led by Colonel James Fenton, Lieut. Col. Robert Bull, Majors Galloway and Marlin.  The Cumberland county troops were rendezvoused at Carlisle, from which place they were marched to Pittsburg, thence to Black Rock Fort, now the site of the thriving city of Buffalo, which place they reached about the 1st of April.  They remained here in encampment, engaged in drill and guard duty, until the 2d of July, when General Brown, contrary to the expectation of his officers who had made preparation for the celebration of the Fourth in camp, and invited the commander to participate, issued orders to embark the troops the next morning at daylight.

The army consisted of two brigades.  The first commanded by General Scott, with the artillery corps in charge of Major Hurdman, landed nearly a mile below, while General Ripley, in command of the second brigade, disembarked about the same distance above Fort Erie.  A battery of long eighteens was soon planted in position to command the fort, while a flag was dispatched with the demand to surrender in two hours or the bombardment would be commenced.  At the end of the truce, 137 men including officers, marched out and surrendered themselves prisoners of war.  Thus was carried out Generals Brown and Scott's determination to eat their Fourth of July dinners in Fort Erie.  The day was one of busy preparation for an aggressive movement against the enemy's army, which was composed of the British's supposed invincibles, then encamped at the mouth of the Chippewa.  Before daylight, however, on the morning of the fifth, it was ascertained that the three days' rations, ordered to be supplied to the troops, could not be furnished until a boat could be dispatched to Buffalo and return with them.  This caused a delay until two o'clock in the afternoon, before the army of about 3,500 were ready to march and it was four o'clock before the militia came in of the regular troops who had preceded them.

Scarcely had they halted when there was a requisition made for volunteers to drive off the Indians, who had being annoying the pickets by firing upon them from their places of concealment.  This was answered by about three hundred volunteers, composed of officers, who exchanged their swords for muskets, and private soldiers from the Eleventh regiment, strengthened by several hundred friendly Indians, commanded by General Porter, Colonel Bull and Major Galloway.  An order commanding every white man who went with General Porter to leave his hat and go with this head uncovered, was issued before starting.  The Indians tied up their heads with muslin and blackened their faces by rubbing their hands over burnt stumps before starting.  Thus equipped the skirmishers started, and in less than half an hour were engaged in the battle known in history as Chippewa, during the progress of which Colonel Bull, Major Galloway, Captain White and a number of private soldiers were surrounded by Indians, who, concealed in the high grass, had permitted the main body of the troops to pass, that they might the more safely and effectually secure the officers.  Having disarmed their prisoners they next commenced stripping them of their clothing, one taking a coat, another a vest while a third claimed the neckcloth.  If a shirt showed a ruffle anywhere a fourth claimed it.  Major Galloway and private Wendt were stripped of their boots and compelled to march through thorn and stubble barefoot, until, in the language of the latter, "their feet were run through and through."

The party had advanced their prisoners but a short distance until they were halted, and there was evidently an Indian dissatisfied about something.  They started again, and had scarce gone more than half a mile when the dissatisfied Indian, then in the rear, whooped loudly, raised his rifle and shot Colonel Bull through the body.  The ball entered the left shoulder and came out through the right breast.  After he was pierced with the bullet, Colonel Bull raised himself on his elbow, reached out his hand to Major Galloway and said, "Help me, Wendt, I am shot!"  The help implored by the dying man was prevented by the Indian who had shot him coming up, sinking his tomahawk into his head and scalping him.

This act, so contrary  to all laws of human warfare, was no doubt in compliance with the order of General Riall, which was in substance not to spare any who wore the uniform of militia officers, while those who wore the regular officer's uniform were to be brought into camp in safety.  To this fact we ascribe the cruel fate of a brave soldier and good officer.

His surviving comrades bear testimony to the sober and exemplary habits of Colonel Bull.  At Erie, it is said, he spent his Sabbaths in the hospital among the sick, ministering to their physical wants or reading and conversing with them about the truths of religion.

My informant, Michael Donnelly, Esq., volunteered to go aboard of Perry's fleet, then operating on Lake Erie, expecting to be gone two or three days at most, but did not get back to his company until twenty-eight days afterward.

The above information was extracted from the book:

History of Perry County, in Pennsylvania, From The Earliest Settlement To The Present Time; Silas Wright; Lancaster, PA; 1873.

Company Muster Rolls



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