1812 Brock

Isaac Brock (1769-1812) was the General of the British forces at Detroit in the War of 1812.

Major-General Brock to Sir George Prevost

Head Quarters, Detroit, Aug. 16, 1812

Sir Isaac BrockI hasten to apprize your excellency of the capture of this very important post: 2,500 troops have this day surrendered prisoners of war, and about 25 pieces of ordnance have been taken without the sacrifice of a drop of British blood. I had not more than 700 troops, including militia, and about 600 Indians, to accomplish this service. When I detail my good fortune, your excellency will be astonished. I have been admirably supported by Colonel Proctor, the whole of my staff, and I may justly say, every individual under my command.

Major-General Brock to Sir George Prevost.

Head Quarters, Detroit, Aug. 17, 1812.

I have had the honor of informing your excellency, that the enemy effected his passage across the Detroit river, on the 12th ultimo, without opposition; and that, after establishing himself at Sandwich, he had ravaged the country as far as Moravian town. Some skirmishes occurred between the troops under Lieut.-Colonel St. George and the enemy, upon the river Canard, which uniformly terminated in his being repulsed with loss. I judged it proper to detach a force down the river Thames, capable of acting in conjunction with the garrison of Amherstburg offensively, but Captain Chambers, whom I had appointed to direct this detachment, experienced difficulties that frustrated my intentions. The intelligence received from that quarter admitting of no delay, Colonel Proctor was directed to assume the command, and his force was soon after increased with 60 rank and file of the 41st regiment.

In the mean time, the most strenuous measures were adopted to counteract the machinations of the evil-disposed, and I soon experienced the gratification of receiving voluntary offers of service from that portion of the embodied militia the most easily collected. In the attainment of this important point, gentlemen of the first character and influence shewed an example highly creditable to them; . . . . A sufficiency of boats being collected at Long Point for the conveyance of 300 men, the embarkation took place on the 8th instant, and in five days we arrived in safety at Amherstburg.

I found that the judicious arrangements which had been adopted immediately upon the arrival of Colonel Proctor, had compelled the enemy to retreat, and take shelter under the guns of his fort; that officer commenced operations by sending strong detachments across the river, with a view of cutting off the enemy's communication with his reserve. This produced two smart skirmishes on the 5th and 9th instant, in which the enemy's loss was considerable, whilst ours amounted to 3 killed and 13 wounded; ... Batteries had likewise been commenced opposite Fort Detroit, for one 18 pounder, two 12, and two 5 1/2-inch mortars, all of which opened on the evening of the 15th; (having previously summoned Brigadier-General Hull to surrender;) and although opposed by a well-directed fire from seven 24-pounders, such was their construction, under the able direction of Captain Dixon, of the Royal Engineers, that no injury was sustained from its effect.

The force at my disposal being collected in the course of the 15th, in the neighbourhood of Sandwich, the embarkation took place a little after day-light on the following morning; and by the able arrangements of Lieutenant Dewar, of the quartermaster-general's department, the whole was in a short time landed without the smallest confusion at Spring Well, a good position, three miles west of Detroit. The Indians, who had in the mean time effected their landing two miles below, moved forward and occupied the woods, about a mile and a half on our left.

The force, which I instantly directed to march against the enemy, consisted of 30 artillery, 250 41st regiment, 50 royal Newfoundland regiment, 400 militia, and about 600 Indians, to which were attached three 6-pounders and two 3-pounders. The services of Lieutenant Troughton, commanding the royal artillery, an active and intelligent officer, being required in the field, the direction of the batteries was entrusted to Captain Hall and the marine department, and I cannot withhold my entire approbation of their conduct on this occasion.

I crossed the river, with an intention of waiting in a strong position the effect of our force upon the enemy's camp, and in the hope of compelling him to meet us in the field; but receiving information upon landing, that Colonel M'Arthur, an officer of high reputation, had left the garrison three days before with a detachment of 500 men, and hearing, soon afterwards, that his cavalry had been seen that morning three miles in our rear, I decided on an immediate attack. Accordingly, the troops advanced to within one mile of the fort, and having ascertained that the enemy had taken little or no precaution towards the land side, I resolved on an assault, whilst the Indians penetrated his camp. Brigadier-General Hull, however, prevented this movement, by proposing a cessation of hostilities, for the purpose of preparing terms of capitulation. Lieut.-Colonel J. M'Donell and Captain Glegg were accordingly deputed by me on this mission, and returned within an hour with the conditions, which I have the honor herewith to transmit. Certain considerations afterwards induced me to agree to the two supplementary articles.

The force thus surrendered to his majesty's arms cannot be estimated a less than 2,500 men. In this estimate, Colonel M'Arthur's detachment is included, as he surrendered, agreeably to the terms of capitulation, in the course of the evening, with the exception of 200 men, whom he left escorting a valuable convoy at some little distance in his rear; but there can be no doubt the officer commanding will consider himself equally bound by the capitulation.. . . .

From: THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF MAJOR-GENERAL SIR ISAAC BROCK, K.B. edited by his nephew, Ferdinand Brock Tupper. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1845: 247 -251.

See Also:

Dictionary of Canadian Biography 5: 109-115.

Carter-Edwards, Dennis. The War of 1812 along the Detroit Frontier: A Canadian Perspective. Michigan Historical Review 1987 13 (2): 25-50.

Douglas, R. Alan. "Yankee Doodle Upset": The Detroit Campaign viewed from a Distance of 150 Years and Half a Mile. Detroit Historical Society Bulletin 1963 20 (2): 4-8.