Database

Butler's Breastworkso

Other names:

What:
8/29/1779. *Gen. Hand vs. Butler.

Where: 42.029777 -76.720705 Butler's Breastworks

Maps: [map notes]

Sources:

  • Elvin Birth, The 1779 Western Campaigns, Raleigh: 2003, privately published, "Journals.pdf", p.116. 42.029777 -76.720705 Basis of Location.

  • Line of Rude Breastworkss marker 42 1.797' N, 76 43.227' W (42.0299, -76.7204)Basis of location.
    Line of Rude Breastworks where British and Indians disputed advance of Sullivan's Army August 29, 1779
    Chemung County NY

  • Conover, George S., compiler Archive Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan Against the Six Nations Indians in 1779.., Auburn NY: Knapp, Peck & Thomason, 1887, pages suggested by Elvin Birth.
    [p.140]
    AUGUST 29th 1779. Marched this day 4,4 mites to lower Newton. On our march passed the Hiil where Genl Hand was fired on by the Indians the 13th Instant. Three miles from Chemung, our Advanced party discovered the Enemy, who had Erected a Brest work on a steep Bank on the West side of a I.arge Run or Defile which we ware obliged to pass. The Genl officers ware Emediately informed of the Disposition. Gent Sullivin Gave Genl Poor orders to march Round a very High hill in order to gain the Enemys Rear, at which time Major Pave to keep up a slow fire on there front, in order to amuse them with his Core of Rifil men, who did Considarable Execution. Gent Hand was ordered to be in Readiness with his Brigade of Light Troopers to force there Lines as soon as Janaral poor should begin The fire, seconded by Gent Maxwill & Clinton ; the way Gent l'oor had to pass in order to Gain there Road being very Lifficult, occasioned the time to elaps Before he coud Compleat his Entention ; Gent Sullivin at the Expera- tion Time Limited for Gen Poor to Gain there Rear, ordered the cannon to be braught up and open upon The Enemys Works which occasioned them to leave Those Works and Retire towards the hill where Gent Poor began the attact which for som minuts was very hot, But soon maid the Enemy Retire, leaving A nomber of there Dead on the field, twelve of which was sculped. Gent Hand at the Junction the fire began on the Right. Advanced in front, but could not overtake There Rear. Encamp'd this Eavening on these ground, two prisners were taken this day, one a white man, the other a Neagro. who Informed that Butler there commander in Chier, Brant, McDonald & Butler's Son, with thire hole force, to the amount of Eight Hundred, ware this day Engagd. our Loss this I)ay was very Inconsiderable ; We had but two men killed, 3 offasirs and about 15 men stitely wounded, som of which are since Dead.

    [p.7]

    Sunday, 29th
    Here we halte ford one hour and a half,until the artillery, &c., should raise a difficult height, at which time an advanced party of our riflemen discovered the enemy throwing up some works on the other side of a morass, and a difficult place through which we had to pass. It appears this was intended for an ambuscade, it being on a small height, where some logs, &c., were laid up: covered with green bushes ; which extended half a mile. On the right was a small town which they had destroyed themselves, making use of the timber, &c., in the above works. After the ground was well reconnoitered, the artillery was advanced on their left. At the same time Gen'l. Poor with his brigade was endeavoring to gain their rear around their left ; Gen.!. Hand's brigade was following in rear of Poor. Our brigade was kept as a reserve, as also Gen'l. Clinton's until their rear should be gained ; but they having a party posted on a very considerable height, over which our right flank had to pass, we were discovered by them. Previous to this, some shells and round shot were thrown among them in their works, which caused them to give several yells, and doubtless intimidated them much. But at this discovery they gave a most hideous yell and quit their works, endeavoring to prevent Gen'l Poor's ascending the height; by a loose scattering tire ; but our troops pressing forward with much vigor.'made them give way, leaving their dead behind, (amounting to eleven or twelve) which were scalped immediately. We likewise took one white man, who appeared to be dead, and was stripped, when an officer came up and examined him, said he was not wounded, gave him a stroke and bade him get up ; he immediately rose up and implored mercy, and was kept a prisoner sometime. In the evening a negro was taken. Their number wounded not known. Two or three of ours killed, and thirty-four or five wounded. Among the latter Major Titcomb, Capt. Cloise, and Lt. Allis. At half after three the firing ceased, and the army proceeded one mile and a half to a considerable town consisting of about twenty huts.

    [p.71]
    29th The army march'd at 9 o clock A M proceeded about 5 miles when our light troops discover'd a line of brestworks about 80 rods in their front which after reconnoytering ware found to extend about half a mile in length on very advantageous ground with a learge brook in front the river on their right a high mountain on their left & a learge settlement in their rear called New Town Their works ware very artfully mask'd with green bushes so that the discovering them was as accidental as it was fortunate to us Skirmishing on both sides commenc'd soon after we discover'd their works which con- tinued until our Disposition was made which was as followeth viz The Artillery to form in front of their works cover'd by Genl hands Brigade Gen] Poors Brigade and riflemen to turn the Enimies left & fall in their rear supported by Genl Clintons Brigade Gen'l Maxwells Brigade to form a Corps de reserve the left flanking division & light Infantry to pursue the Enimy when they left their works At 3 P M Genl Poor began his rout by Collums from the right of Regts by files we pass'd a very thick swamp so cover'd with bushes for near a mile that the Collumns found great difficulty in keeping their order but by Genl l'oors great prudence & good conduct we proceeded in much better order than I expected we possibly could have done After passing this swamp we inclin'd to the left crossed the creek that runs in front of the enimies works On both sides of this creek was a learge number of new houses but no land cleared soon after we pass'd this creek we began to assend the mountain that cover'd the Enimies left Immediately after we began to Assend the Mountain We ware saluted by a brisk lire from a body of Indians who ware posted on this mountain for the purpos of preventing any troops turning the left of their works at the same Instant that they began their fire on us they raised the Indian yell or war whoop The riflemen kept up a nscattering lire while we form'd the line of Battle which was done exceeding quick we then advanced rappedly with fix'd bayonets without fireing a shot altho they kept up a steady fire on us until we gain'd the summet of the Mountain which is about half a mile We then gave them a full volley which oblied them to take to their heels Col Reids Regt was on the left of the Brigade was more severely attackt than any other part of the Brigade which prevented his advancing as far as the rest After we had scower'd the top of the mountain (in doing which Lt Cass of our regt tommohawked an Indian with the Indians own tommahawk that was slightly wounded) I being next to Col Reid on the left finding he still was very severely ingag'd nearly on the same ground he was first attackt on thought proper to reverse the front of the Regt & moove to his assistence I soon discover'd a body of Indians turning his right which I turn'd about by a full fire from the regt This was a very seasonable releaf to Col Reid who at the very moment I tir'd on those that ware turning his right found himself so surrounded that he was reduc'd to the nessessaty of retreeting or making a desparate push with the bayonet the latter of which he had began to put in execution the moment I gave him releaf The Enimy now all left the field of action with precepitation & in great confusion pursued by our light Infantry about 3 miles They left a number of their packs blankets &c on the ground Half an hour before the action became serious with Genf Pours Brigade the Artillery open'd upon their works which soon made them works too warm for them We found of the Enimy on the field of a:tion it Indian worriers dead Sc one Squaw took one white man & one negro prisoners from whom we learnt that Butler Commanded here that Brandt had all the Indians that could be mustered in the five Nations that there was about 200 whites a few of which were British regular troops It seems their whole force was not far from moo These prisoners inform us their loss in killed & wounded was very great the most of which they according to custom carried off

  • RevWar75 RevWar75
  • Aug 1779 listing. 8/11 - 9/14/1779 Brodhead's Expedition against the Indians. American victory.

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12-8-16