1812 Lucas

Robert Lucas (1781-1853) was a Captain in the regular army of the United States, a Brigadier General of the Ohio Militia, and a private in a volunteer company. He worked as a scout, guide, express, and ranger rather than with his company during his time in Detroit. Cass used this journal in his report against Hull. Lucas later served as Governor of Ohio and Governor of the Territory of Iowa.


Robert Lucas[June] 2nd. Proceeded on to Detroit in Company with Mr. Beard the contractor at Detroit, passed near a large encampment of Indians on the River Urian through Brownstown and Maguawga two Indian towns found them in a state of Confusion and but few indian men at home. Read Gnl Hulls address to George Blue Jacket son to the noted old chief, he appeared pleased with the Contents and manifested great friendship arrived at Detroit about 4 oclock P M Delivered my dispatches to the acting Governor was politely received introduced to the officers of Detroit generally, and treated with great hospitality, lodged at the house of Mr. Beard.

3. Dined with Capt Hickman from Virginia Son in law to Gnl Hull, Solicited by Him to make his house my Home while I tarried at Detroit accepted his offer and was very Politely and hospitably treated by him and Mrs. Hickman

4 - made Considerable inquiry relative to the situation of the territory found it to be populated by an ignorant Set of french that is attached to no particular political principal, the territory in a state of alarm their farms small, and no Correct Calculation to be made on the Militia with regard to Defence the territory generally like a body without a head -

5th Dined with Mr. Atwater the Acting Governor was politely treated by him -

6th Dined with Capt Whistler in the garrison in company with a number of gentlemen treated with politeness and spent the afternoon very agreeably

from 7th to 14th tarried at Capt Hickmans and enjoyed myself very agreeably read and examined the principles of the new tackticks and acquired a general information of the Situation of Michigan territory and Upper Canada, during which time I was on a hunting party on hog Island, above Detroit and Sundry other parties, Several Councils with the Indians at the house of the acting governor, with the Wiandots Chippaways Ottoways Pottawattomi and sundry other tribes - some appeared insolent and others extremely friendly upon the whole they are in confusion and at a loss how to act fear Can only restrain them from joining the British, they are much alarmed at the news of our approaching army

14 Capt Welch having arrived as an express from the army handed me a letter from Gnl Hull informing me he had changed the route of the army since I left him and that he would Come immediately from Urbanna to the foot of the rapids he also handed a letter to Mr. Beard the contractor Mr Beard wishing to hear from a vessel of his previous to his returning an answer to Gnl Hull Concluded that he would go down the River to meet her, myself and Capt Welch accompanied him we Descended the river within a mile of Malden I viewed the Situation of the British Garrison from on board the vessel while we was in Sight Queen Sharlotte a British 20 gun ship arrived at Maldon with Governor brock and a reinforcement of a hundred British troops. We returned to Detroit.

15 the day being rainy I remained at Detroit and prepared to Start the next morning to meet the army . . . .

[July] 5th Camp broke up and marched for Detroit I went on ahead as usual, we heard great firing of Cannon at Detroit. We Supposed that Detroit was attacked as we had heard of a British vessle going up the night before. The Sound of the Cannon hurried our pace and about 4 oclock P.M. the army arrived at the Spring well on the bank of the River opposite Sandwich within three miles and in Sight of Detroit having marched about 20 miles that day where they encamped. The firing that was heard was from the Battery at Detroit, firing upon the vessle that had come up and upon the town of Sandwich, they having asscertained to a Certainty that the British had taken our vessle that was Sent from the rapids with a quantity of the Baggage of the army the officers Money papers Clothing &c and those that was in the vessle five ladies three officers and about 30 men

This morning I was in Gnl Hulls Markee and Colo Cass came in, he had been sent to go to Maldon. The Genl requested me to withdraw which I did, for what purpose the man was sent to go to Maldon I know not. Perhaps the Gnl kept it a secret from him as he did from me - on the arrival of the army the firing ceased being disapproved by the Gnl as injuring private property.

6th The army remained at the spring Well till evening then marched to Detroit, through the town and returned to the Same encampment - This day a great number of Indians Came into Camp for the purpose of holding a Councill They all profess friendship. 2 Peaces of artillery brought to the Camp this evening - The people in Canida in great Confusion at the Sight of our army. -. . . .

7th The army remained at the encampment this day 5 peaces of artillery was placed on the Bank Directed to Sandwich under the Command of Lieutenant Dallaby. This day the Indians held a Councell with Gnl Hull, the principle Chiefs of the Wyandots ottaways, Chippaways, Shawaneas Senekas Pottawattomies & Mohawkes were present they all profess friendship and request time to Consult among themselves and to return and answer a Beef was given them by the Genl. This night about 12 oclock an alarm originnated in Camp that the Indians that was without the Camp had Collected a force and intended to attack the Camp (Gnl Hull was in town) Gnl McArthur took the command ordered the men under armes and requested me to repair to Mr. Knaggs The Indian Interpreter about 1 1/2 miles to request him to attend in the Camp. I went and returned with the interpreter; - inquiry was made - The alarm was found to be principally unfounded and the men allowed to retire to their tents

8th the camp was thought to be in Danger of being bumbarded by Cannon from Sandwich the whole army was ordered to mark a back way to Detroit When the army was about marching Crane the principle Wyandot Chief Came and remonstrated against the Conduct of the Gnl in taking 21 Indian Horses that belong to the Sioux Indians that was then at Maldon. . . .The Same Chief Said that they all intended to speak with the Same friendly vows and that the Wyandots all intended to use their influence to keep all other nations quiet, at this moment Gnl Hull heard that there was a party of the Kickapoo Indians on the river Raison Sent me out to See them and to assertain their number and intention. I started immediately and went to the river Raison it being 36 miles where I Stayed all night -

9th this morning I went up the river to the Indian Camp I found there 28 Warriors without any Women or Children with them. They was of the Kickapoo nation and the Same fellows that was at the battle with Harrison Some of them show their wounds - They Said there was more of their nation coming - behind them. They was almost naked except Breechcloths and Blankets. They said they left their homes to go to Maldon, but on their being told of our army and that they would all be kiled if they did not go they said they would not go to Maldon but would go to See the Gnl at Detroit The two principle Chiefs started in Company with me and a Mr Thompson for Detroit, we travelled together to Brownstown where the Chiefs stoped and said they would Come on the next day. Mr. Thompson and myself went on the Detroit, it being late in the night before we arived, the Centinels was placed, and the officer of the Gard Could not be found therefore we Could not git into town and had to lay out, we returned to Mr. Mays and lay in his poarch all night (The officer of the gard beign of the Detroit Militia)

10 this morning early I went to the Genl and made my report, he offered me the Command of a Small Company of Spies I observed to him that I would prefer some other station wherein if I Came into action I Could be of more Service in exercising my military talents, and that I would wish to be with Gnl McArthurs Regt he observed he would wish to accomodate me in anything I would wish and if there was any station in Gnl McArthurs Regment wherein I Could be of use it would meet with his entire approbation Gnl McArthur requested me to attend him in Case we Should be attack and assist him in Directing the maneuvres to which I consented I would. I found the army this day encamped on the Commons at Detroit. This night was pitched upon to Cross the river, and Considerable Confusion took place with the militia a number of thm refused to Cross the river - Those that refused to Cross was Considered by the army as Cowards. The army was almost prepared to march when by accident, Major Munson was badly wounded, and the Camp was thrown into confusion. The Gnl postponed the march till the next d

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11 This day Capt Cunninghams and Capt Rupes Companys refused to Cross the river, but after Some Statement by the Colo Cunninghams Company agreed to go Rupe and his Company through obstinacy refused to march. The Genl demanded a list of the names of those that refused the Cross the river Capt Rupe returned his whole Company - the adjutan rashly abused the whole Compay as Cowards Traitors &c and made a return of them to the Gnl under the head of a list of Cowards under the name of militia, unfortunately attached to Colo McArthur Regiment, and then arested Captain Rupe - for ungentlemanly and unofficer like Conduct - This night Colo McArthur Regiment was ordered to march down the River to dicoy the British, they marched down the river about three miles halted a few hours and silently returned, taking boats down by water at the Same time - The project had the desired effect the British Supposed we intended Crossing below Sandwich and they drew all the forces they had down towards Maldon - When the Regiment started B Rankin James Cochran Daniel [ ] and John Lafarge fell in Capt Lucas Company and marched with him Supposing the army intended crossg

12 This morning by daylight the Crafts was all moved up the river to the foot of Hog Island the army all marched up to that place Ensign McDougal and about 15 of Capt Rupes Company followed and Crossed with the Regiment by which they gained considerable However the names was all returned to the Gnl and received -

Colo Cass and the 4th regular Regmt was to cross first I could not endure to be behind I asked permission of Colo Cass and crossed with him and was among the first that landed in Canda. We made our landing good and formed an encampment opposite Detroit and raised the American flag without there even being a gun fired at us, - a party of the regulars went down as low as Sandwich and procured some flour wheat &c. out of a mill, - The inhabitants all fled in Different Directions from us. The Gnl immediately circulated his proclamation which gave great satisfaction to the inhabitants and Caused many of them to return and apply for protection - The inhabitants here are generally ignorant french people - The encampment is formed at the farm of Colo Bawbie a British Colo, it affords us fair pasture for horses, and his hous good quarters for the Genl, which is occupied by him as such . . . .

21 I remained in Camp there was no alarm. The general returned to Detroit, and Several Companies of the regular Regiment Colo McArthr acts as Commandant he directs the rangers to start to morrow morning to explore the Back Countary and search for a road a Back way to fort Maldon - The army geting Sick Considerabley, and I fear that they will Suffer the ensung Season - The artificer is engage in making pike Irons and mounting artillery, the Ship Carpenter are engaged at Detroit in riggin the Brig Adam Calculated to Cary 16 guns

[August] 7th ...the army was ordered to recross the Detroit River to detroit after night which was done, or at least as many of Could be Crossed till daylight, (and from this time will be recorded the Dastardly evacuation of Sandwich by Gnl Hull Contrary to the general wish of all his troops)

8th this morning the balac of the army that could not cross last night was Conveyed over the rivr and the waggens and baggage, and the whole encamped back of the town of Detroit near the Fort, and in the afternoon a Detachmnt under the Command of Colo Miller Consisting of the 4th Rgt one Compay from McArthrs Rgt under the Command of Capt Lockharat one from Colo Finleys under the Command of Capt Brown and one from Colo Cass under the Command of Capt Snaderson and Capt Sloans troop of Horse one Compay from Detroit under the Command of Capt Delardri and two peaces of Small Ordinance under the command of Lieut Eastman & Dallaby making in the whole about 650 men Started to the river Raison to meet Capt Brush and bring in the provisions he had with him

9 this day was Spent at Detroit in moving the encampment, and in the evening we heard of Colo Miller having had an obstinate battle with the indians and British at Maguawga and had beat them . . . .

11 This day Major Denny was ordered to evacuate and destroy the fort in Canada opposite Detroit, - Gowris house that was in the fort was also consumed. It was Set on fire by Some person, and Major Denny extinguished the fire but after he Crossed the rivr to Detroit, it was consumed. - There apears to be nothing doing at this place today, the British was up oppisite Detroit, Soon after Major Denny crossed dthe rivr, It is stated that Colo Miller is ordered back to Detroit, without accomplishing the object for which he started, and for which the lives of many valuable men have been lost - !1! My God what proceedings -

12th I was this morning at the warf and Saw a boat Decending the rivr with a white flag, (at first Sight I thought it was coming up the rivr and on enquiry I was informed that it was a flag of truce Sent by Gnl Hull to Maldon, - The flag Soon returned and on enquiring the caus of its returning So Soon I was informd that they had met Gnl Brock at Sandwich, and that the British had established ther head quarters there I enquired the particular caus of the flag being sent but could not assertain it This day I met the Contractr Mr Beard in the street, and enquired of him the state of our provisions, he informed me that he had 20 days provisions then in Store and mentioned to me where he could get considerable quantity of flour, he also stated to me that it would be necessary for the army to recross the river and to attack Maldon, immediately or else to Capitulate, as the British was reinforcing and would attack Detroit [?] they could not overwise Save the property at Detroit. I observed to him that the army had been prevented from going to Maldon when they wished and had been forced across the rivr from canada against their will. I did not think that they would again cross willingly under the present commander, that all confidence in him was lost, and I thought if the fort must be Surrendered, that the Ohio volunteers would never consent to be Surrendered as prisoners of war, mearly to save the private property at Detroit, he felt much agitated at the Idea, I found from his conversation that an arrangement of that kind had been talked of and I was led to believe that the flag of truce that had ben sent to the british in the morning had been Sent for that purpose, - knowing Mr Beard to be one of Genl Hulls confidential frends I was convinced from the Substance of his conversation, that the Genl had it then in contemplation, to Surrender us as prisoners of war, in case there Should be an attack on Detroit by the British, and from his conversation it appeared as if he knew what was a going to be done by the British, and how we would have to act on our part, - Colo McDonald was present during the greater part of the conversaton - I informed Colo McArthur of the substance of the conversation, and expressed my fears that a Capitulation was intended by the Gnl . . . .

13 The British have taken possession of the Bank opposite Detroit and have commenced erecting a Battery, opposite the town, Lieuts Anderson and Dallaby each threw up a Battery on our side one in the old Public Garden and the other Just below the town, - The British is Suffered to work at their batterys undisturbed and perhaps will Soon Commence firing upon the Town (Why in the name of God are they not routed before they compleet their Battery) This afternoon Colo Finley with a Detachmt was ordered to prepare to march on a Detachment up the river. They prepared and waited or orders, application was made and the Gnl was found asleep he could not be disturbed, therefore the Detachment had to remain in camp till the next day, - he probably had been taking a little Wine with his friends, which threw him into a deeper repose than Uusal, - We also this day heard that a party of Indians from Makinaw was coming don and was seen at Lake St Clair

14th The British is Suffered to continue their work unmolested, no kind of preparation is making by or army about the garrison, Lieuts Dallaby and Anderson, sill at work at ther batterys. This afternoon Colo Finley is ordered with a Detachment to the Spring wells, and about Sunset Colo McArthur and Cass is ordered with a Detachment from their Regiments of 350 men, to march a back way to the rivr Raisin to escort the provisons that had Some time remained there Colo Finlays Detachment returned to camp

15th Every thing in confusion as usual, Gnl Hull has a Markee Pitched in the camp South of the Fort of a Singula Structure, never before seen in this army - with Sundry Red and Blue Stripes in various ways over the tope, (I am apprehensive that it is intended as Som Signal, - as he never before had a markee in camp since the army has been at Detroit) abot 1 Oclock Two officers arived from Sandwich with a flag of truce. While they are consulting with Gnl Hull the British on the opposite shore is busily engaged in removing a house out of the way of the Batterys, and as Soon as they had the house compleetely removed the officers returned, no attempt was ever made by Gnl Hull to prevent the British compleeting the battery, about 2 oclock we was informed that the British Summoned the fort to Surrende and had stated that their force as Amply Sufficient to justify such a Demand, and if it did not surrender that the Garrison and Town would be massacred by the Indians, to this demand an immediate refusal was given. The army was astonished at the insolnce of the Britih knowing our force to be Superior and possessing every advantage over them that we could desire were it properly used - about 4 oclock 2 vessels hove in Sight below Sandwich point, and their battery played upon the town The fire was returned and continued without interruption and with little effect till Dark the Shells were thrown till 11 oclock, 2 of which fell within the garrison one of which Wounded a man which was the only injury don in the fort, - Capt Snelling was Sent down to the spring wells to See the movements of the British vessels, he ascertained that they was landing troops and Sent to Gnl Hull for some peaces of Artillery, the Gnl neglected to Send him any, and the British landed ther troops and Some peaces of Artillery unmolested - What could have a greater appearance of treachy in our Gnl, than suffering the enmy to erect their Battery unmolested, and the refusing to grant Capt Snelling Artillery to prevent their landing their troops. The British might easily been prevented from erecting their batterys and if Capt Snelling had been furnished with artillery when requested he would have drove the British Vessels down the river, or Shattered them to peaces, and would intirely have prevented the enemy from landing ther troops. It appears as if Colo McArthur and Cass had been sent a way on purpose by Gnl Hull So that he might have a fair opportunity of Surrendering the fort to the British, - when the British first commencd firing upon the town The fourth Regimnt and the Ballance of Colo McArthurs Regt that was not with him, was ordered into the fort and placed on the walls, in which position they lay all night, - immediately after the fort was Summond an express was sent to Colo McArthr and Cass informing the therof and ordering them to return immediately to Detroit

16 This morning about daybrak the British renewed ther fire upon the fourt, and it was returned from our Battery. The roaring of the cannon was tremendious but there was but little injury done, one Shot axidentally killed a man, in the plain, and two by axident being nearly Spent fell within the garrison, one of which killed Ensign Sibly and a Soldier from Mackinaw and the other killed Lieut Hanks Doctor Reynolds Surgeon-mate to Colo Cass Rgt from Zaneville and Wounded Doctor Blood Surgeon mate in the 4th U S Rgt The ball took of intirely one of Doctr Reynolds legs, and the other party of he Died in abut a half an hour after, (he was Said to utter the following words about the time he expired) "fight on my brave comrade. I shall nevr see Zanesville I die in peace" - Peace be to his manes - but his conrades was prevented from fighting, by their commander - for the fort was Surrendered about 8 oclock, the Gnl Capitulatd - at the time the Gnl raised a flag of truce on the walls of the garrison, the 4th Regt and a small part Colo McArthrs was in the fort, Colo Finleys Rgt was posted on the North of the plain back of the fort. And Major Denny with part of Colo McArthurs and Casses Regts along Some Pickets South of he plain, a Part of the Michigan Militia in the upper part of the town and a part in the plain; 2 -24 pounders loaded with grate shot and Musket balls placed on a Commanding eminence, blow the town, and indeed our whole force was placed in a situation that the enemis flank and front must have been exposed let them make an attack upon what part they would, - Every man was waiting with anxiety the approach of the enemy and expected a proud day for his Countary, at the Same time Colo Cass and McArthur was within a few miles and would have fell upon the enemies rear, (altho not known to us at that time) our amy thus placed, I was on the back wall of the garrison viewing the movements of Some Indians that made their appearance in the plain and was catching som horses, and was just decending the wall with a view of joining colo Finleys flank to meet them when I was Called to by Some of my acquaintanc, and informed that a white flag had been raised upon the wall, I was struck with estonishmnt and returned to enquire the caus I was informed that Gnl Hull had ordered our Coulors to be struck and that it was opposed by Colo Miller, but that he had Sent a flag of truce to the British to capitulate, and had ordered the whole of the troops into the garrison to stack their Arms The British at this time was marching up the Detroit river by Colums of patons twelve men in front and when the head of their colum had arived within 5 hundred yards of our line, when a Single Discharge from the 24 poundr must have dispersed them, orders were received from Gnl Hull for all to retreat to the fort and not fire upon the Enmy one universal burst of indignation was apparent upon the receipt of these orders, our troops was immediately crowded into the fort, and two British officers rode up to the Gnls marke they remained there a short time and retired, - I made inquiry of the caus of what was done I Soon ascertained that the Gnl had Capitulated and had Surrendered the whole army as Prisoners of War. In entering into this capitulation the Gnl only consulted his own feelings, not an officer was consulted, not one antisipated a Surrender till they Saw the white flag displayed upon the walls. Even the women was indignant at the Shameful degradation of the Americ character, and all felt as they should have felt but he who held in his hands the reins of authority our mornings report from informati was effectiv men fit for duty 1060, exclusive of 300 Michigan militia on duty, - The whole force of the enemy both white red and Black was from the best informati we could gain about 1030. They had 20 plattoons twelve in a plattoon of men in Uniform, a number of them must have been Canadian militia, - after enquiring into the principles of the capitulation, I assertained that all the U.S. troops was to be Sent to Quebeck, and being apprehensive that Gnl Hull would wish to have me Sent with them, I thought it prudent to leave the garrison previous to the British taking possession I therefore placed my Sword and uniform clothes in my brother (Capt J Lucas) Trunk threw my musket and cartridge box against the war and left the fort, I went down in the town of Detroit and passed in the capacity of a citizen, and paid a particular attention to the Proceedings. The British first placed a peace of Artillery in front of Gnl Hulls Door one at each of our Battery and placed guards to command the defiles round the fort previus to our troops being marched out of the fort. Their order of march into the fort was the Regulars and those in Uniform in front, the Militia not in Uniform next a Compay with handkerchefs round their heads and painted like Indians next and the Indians in the rear Commanded by British officers Dressed and painted like Indians. The Indians was not Suffered to go into the fort, I Stood at the corner of the street and Saw them pass me in this order, with indignant feelings, but when our troops was marched out our Colours Struck and the British Coulors hoisted in their Stead, my feelings was affected beyond expression, My God who could bear the sight without vowing eternal vengeanc against the perpetrators of Such Diabolical acts, and against the Nation that would employ such Detestable Savage allies. To See our Colours prostitute and to See and hear the firing from our own battery and the huzzaws of the British troops the yells of the Savages and the Discharge of small arms, as Signals of joy over our disgrace was scenes too horrid to mediate upon with any other view than to Seek revenge - The Indians after the British had got peaceable possession of the fort, gave themselves up to plunder they took and bore away at will, horses and Such other property as fell in their way, they robbed and plundred the hous of Mr Atwater the Acting Governor and Capt Knags the Indan interpreter of every thing they could find, (the Capitulation to the contrary notwithstanding) and many other attrocious acts, - I saw Major Witherall of the Detroit Volunteers Brake his Sword and throw it away and Sevral Soldiers broke their muskets rather than Surrender them to the British - Soon after the British had taken the fort, and made the arrangements by placing gards at various places in the town I saw Gnl Hull walking linked arms, with a British officer, from the fort to his own hous, Posseing a more pleasing countenanc than I had ever Seen him, and appeared to be very pleasingly engaged in conversation with him - While in town I happened in company with a British officer who was exulting at their conquest. I could not refrain from telling him that the conquest he was boasting of they had obtaind through treachery, and that in my opinion they would not maintain it long, as we could have an army of 10,000 men there in a few months, he appeared to make light of my observations - after he retired I was advised by an acquaintan not to speak my mind so free as the British was Such a haughty people and I was ther in their power, it might operate against me. I had previously formed a determination not to go with them as a prisoner of war - altho I had heard it stated that the 4th Rgt and Gnl Lucas was to be Sent on the Quebeck, I knew they did not know my person, and being informed by Major Denny that his Detachment was to be immediately Sent on board a vessel, I thought it desirable to go aboard lest Some of the inhabitants of Detroit Should betray me. I communicated my intention to Some of my confidential friends in or that I might not be betrayed about 3 oclock the Detachmt went aboard the Maria of Prisque isle - I requested Ensign Baird to have Capt J Lucas Truk taken aboard, he being absent with Colo McArthur, which he had done I made Some arrangments in town and went to the warf, with them. The British Gard that was at the vessel asked me if I was going aboard I told them I was, he asked me if I was going to stay aboard I answered him also that I was, he then Suffered me to pass aboard without asking any further questions, - I went aboard and requested the boys aboard not to call me by any title and told them my reason for making Such request. Soon after I aboard the vessel dropped down the rivr about a mile and lay too all night. Some time that Evening Colo McArthur and Cass returned with their Detachments, and was Surrendered as prisoners.

From: THE ROBERT LUCAS JOURNAL OF THE WAR OF 1812 DURING THE CAMPAIGN UNDER GENERAL WILLIAM HULL edited by John C. Parish. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa: 10-68.

See Also:

Hamil, Frederick C. Michigan in the War of 1812. Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1960.

Scott, Leonard H. The Surrender of Detroit. American History Illustrated 1977 12 (3): 28-36.