War of 1812

Letters From Point Pleasant

Extracted From
Calendar of Virginia State Papers
Volume 10 167-69

October 3, 1812.
Point Pleasant

I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I arrived at this place on the 26th ult., at 3 o'clock P. M., finding only a. Lieutenant and eighteen men, part of the quota from the county of Mason. A few days after which the troops began to come in briskly, and detachments arrive almost daily. The whole of the field officers are now present except Major McGuire, and from the morning reports of this day, including a few that are absent on furlough, there are in Camp 825 men, officers inclusive. There have been no arrivals of troops from the Counties of Hampshire, Hardy, Monongalia and Randolph. But it is understood that they are in motion, and are expected in five or six days.

Those present are generally fine looking men, in high spirits and healthy, and as far as I have yet observed, discover a disposition to pay due respect to the commands of their officers. Among the Rifle companies there is a. considerable deficiency of Rifles. Those unarmed appeared on their arrival to be much opposed to the idea of receiving muskets, but the necessity of complying with the requisitions of your Excellency being explained, the opposition appears mostly to have subsided.

Information has been just received that the military stores and camp equipage are afloat on the Kanawha and will probably be here to-morrow, a circumstance that will be truly pleasing to me and gratifying to the troops who have heretofore encamped in Companies and detachments under the direction of their officers, as best suited their convenience and accommodation. From the best information I have received respecting the route we expect to march as hinted in your Excellency's special orders of the 4th ult., it is considered almost impracticable to march an army with expedition without a, travelling forge, for the procuring of which I have made arrangements, but am not yet certain that my purpose will be effected. The difficulty of procuring cartridges appears to be insurmountable in consequence of the scarcity of powder. Flints are stated to be in great demand towards the place of destination.

Your Excellency will please to receive these hints relative to inconveniences as arising from a consciousness of my duty to make the representation. And be assured, Sir, that every exertion shall be made in my power to cause the troops I have the honor to command to be serviceable to our country, and an honour to the State from which they are about to be detached. I anticipate the pleasure of having the troops shortly arranged and equipped ready to execute the orders of your Excellency or the Secretary of War.

I am, &c.

October 12, 1812.
Point Pleasant

I have at length the satisfaction to inform your Excellency by Express, that the troops which I have the honor to command have collected at the general rendezvous, except some small detachments which are yet expected from the 14th and 106th Regiments which have not produced but little more than half their quotas.

A partial organization has been effected for the better regulation and disciplining of the troops subject to alterations when the whole are collected, the last company of which came in last evening. The organization shall now be effected immediately, and a correct return forwarded to your Excellency. From the Regimental morning reports of this day there are in camp and on furlough, thirteen hundred and eleven men, including Officers, and 319 Blankets are wanting. It seems impracticable to procure them, without which the troops must evidently suffer greatly, as they have to act in a very cold climate and at a. severe season of the year. It is confidently hoped that if possible the interposition of Government will remedy this inconvenience. We are also in want of ammunition, axes, spades and shovels, and such articles as are absolutely necessary, all of which might be readily procured if we had funds. The Paymaster stationed here refused to reimburse the Captain with the money they expended for provisions in conveying their companies to this place. They have been at considerable expense, and murmured on being refused the money they had expended for the public good. The Paymaster did not think himself authorized by his instructions to satisfy such claims, and it was with much difficulty I could silence their murmurings, by stating that some unintentional failure had produced this inconvenience, and the willingness of Government to discharge such claims.

I rece'd a letter from the Honorable Secretary at War directing me to march as soon as possible to the frontier of Ohio, and report myself to the commanding officer of the N. W. army. The same day I rece'd one from General Harrison, dated "Piqua, Sept'r 27th," in which I was informed that my destination is Wooster, in the County of Wayne, 45 miles west of Canton, and my route through New Lisbon and Canton. The Virginia detachment and that from Pennsylvania unite at Wooster and form the right wing of the army, to be commanded by the Senior Officer, and march to the rapids of Miami.

I am preparing with all possible speed to hasten on to Wooster, and expect to start in a very short time. All the troops not having arrived, I shall leave an officer at this place to conduct them after us when they arrive.

I found it indispensible to appoint a Brigade Staff pro tem., and have made some arrangements to get ammunition.

The military Stores arrived the 4th inst., without much injury. The Tents are distributed and a regular encampment formed. The Infantry are furnished with arms and accoutrements, and such of the riflemen as are without Rifles will have muskets placed in their hands to-morrow.

As we shall march up the Ohio, if your Excellency should have any communications to make relative to reimbursing the Capt's or furnishing pecuniary supplies to purchase indispensible requisites, an express could intercept us at Charleston on the Ohio. The troops appear brave and willing to encounter any inconvenience that can be surmounted, but. that of blankets is insurmountable.

Military and Wartime