The War of 1812 Magazine
Issue 12: November 2009
Dobbs and the Royal Navy at Niagara
By Robert Malcomson
This article first appeared in Fortress Niagara, 1 (June, 2000): 1, 7-10, 11-13. The editor would like to thank Fortress Niagara for permission to print this article.
In 1814 Fort Niagara was in British hands. Lieutenant Colonel John Murray had led a force of 550 British across the Niagara River on 19 December 1813 to seize the fort in reprisal for the destruction of the town of Niagara nine days earlier by American troops under the command of Brigadier General George McClure. A second major assault by the British at the end of December left Black Rock and Buffalo in flames and secured more or less uncontested control of the northern portion of the Niagara River until the spring. Although a large American army, eventually commanded by Major General Jacob Brown, gathered near Buffalo in May and June of 1814, the mouth of the Niagara River remained a British port guarded by the guns of Fort Niagara, Fort George and the lately developed Fort Mississauga.
Expecting the Americans to attempt another invasion, the British built up their army on the Niagara Peninsula during the spring and supported it by means of the naval squadron on Lake Ontario. Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo had launched two frigates, HMS Prince Regent, 58, and HMS Princess Charlotte, 40, in April and quickly used them to assert his control of the all-important waterway, which allowed him to carry men and munitions to the army on the peninsula without interference from Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s warships. Although the smaller vessels in Yeo’s squadron made several round trips in May and June, the larger ships were only used to transport parts of the 100th and 103rd Regiments of Foot and the Royal Artillery from Kingston during the third week of June. A large detachment of Royal Navy officers and seamen reached Kingston at that time and the army on the peninsula needed more supplies and men, but Yeo did not sail his full force back up the lake. Concerned that Chauncey was about to leave Sackets with newly launched brigs and frigates that would out-match his squadron, Yeo decided to anchor the main component of his command at Kingston until the three-decked, 100-gun ship being built there was ready for action. He did, however, detach the four smallest warships in his squadron to Niagara where they worked in conjunction with the army during the most active part of the 1814 campaign.
The four vessels that made the harbour between Forts Niagara and George their home base were the brigs Star and Charwell and the schooners Netley and Magnet.1 Each of these warships had undergone a change of name at the end of April 1814 in accordance with Admiralty orders to reorganize the Royal Navy detachments on the Great Lakes along customary Admiralty lines. The newest and most powerful of the four was the Star, which had been launched in July 1813 at the shipyard on Point Frederick, located across the mouth of the Cataraqui River from Kingston. Originally named the Lord Melville to honour the First Lord of the Admiralty (one of Commodore Yeo’s patrons), the Star was pierced to mount fourteen guns, consisting of twelve 32-pounder carronades and two 18-pounder long guns. Though it carried square sails on two masts and was normally referred to as a brig, the Star was rated as a “sloop” in the summer of 1814 because a Royal Navy commander, rather than a lieutenant, held the commission for it.
This was Commander Alexander Dobbs who, at thirty years of age, was already a seventeen-year veteran of the navy. It is believed he was born in Dublin in 1784 and joined the navy in 1797, obtaining a commission as lieutenant in 1804. He saw action in the Mediterranean Sea and on the Atlantic in seven different warships, one of which was HMS Confiance, captained by James Lucas Yeo. Hoping that opportunities for promotion would exist in Canada, Dobbs joined Yeo’s expedition in 1813 and participated in all the actions on Lake Ontario, which brought his advancement to the rank of commander in February 1814.2
Details of life aboard HM Sloop Star during the summer of 1814 were recorded by Master John Harris, RN, another of the 465 officers and men in Yeo’s original detachment from England. Born in 1782 in Devon, England, he ran away to sea at age twelve and spent time in the merchant marine before joining the Royal Navy in 1803 on board H.M. Bomb Explosion, which was captained by James Prevost, younger brother of Sir George Prevost, the commander-in-chief of British North America during the war of 1812. Harris obtained his warrant as a “master,” the officer in charge of navigation aboard a ship, in 1809 and saw service in the Mediterranean Sea and off South America before being assigned to Yeo’s expedition. Having been in several of Yeo’s warships on Lake Ontario, Harris transferred into the Star on 28 June 1814 at Kingston and turned to a fresh page in the logbook every RN master was required to keep.3 The log shows that the Star was at Kingston until Wednesday, 13 July when two of its guns and some of its ballast and shot were sent on shore so that it could be loaded with pork packed in 200 tierces (barrels with a capacity for 300 or more pounds of meat) and 400 kegs of ball cartridge. The next day the sloop sailed in company with HMS Niagara, 21, which escorted the Star until it passed the False Duck Islands at the southeast corner of the Prince Edward Peninsula; two American brigs that had been hovering off Kingston appeared in the distance but did not pursue the British.
The Star reached York on 17 July and anchored near the Charwell which had arrived with a cargo of flour two days before. Launched at Point Frederick in 1805 as the three-masted, “ship-rigged,” Earl of Moira, and re-rigged as a brig during the early months of 1813, the Charwell carried twelve 24-pdr. carronades and one 18-pdr. long gun on a pivot-mount. Commander H. F. Spence commanded the vessel which, like the Star, was rated as a sloop during the period of his commission. Both sloops had been sent up the lake at the request of Lieutenant General Drummond who wanted provisions delivered to York and Burlington and 400 officers and men of the 89th Regiment of Foot transported from York to Niagara. Aware that the defences at York would be weakened by this move, Drummond asked that a part of the Star’s crew be detached at York and accordingly, on 20 July a lieutenant and twenty-one seamen went on shore to man a battery to the west of the garrison. Drummond reached York a couple of days later and remarked on 23 July: “the Star and Charwell got up in safely to this place with their cargoes, which has in a great measure assisted us in our straightened circumstances as regards Provisions. . . . The effective part of the 89th Regt . . . [will] be sent across this Evening to Fort Niagara, in the Brigs Star and Charwell, and to morrow I shall likewise cross in one of the Schooners.”4
Drummond departed from York late on 24 July in the schooner Netley which had arrived with the Magnet from Niagara. The best known of Drummond, predecessors, Major General Isaac Brock, had approved the construction of the Netley at York in the weeks before war broke out and ordered it built by John Dennis, the master shipwright who had constructed most of the Provincial Marine vessels. Christened the Prince Regent upon its launch in July 1812, the schooner was first renamed the Lord Beresford by Commodore Yeo and then the Netley by Admiralty order. Lieutenant Charles Radcliffe, another of the young men who had come to the lakes with Yeo, commanded the schooner which carried eight 18-pdr. carronades and one pivot-mounted 24-pdr. long gun in 1814.
Five or six hours before Drummond left York, Commander Dobbs, now senior officer of the vessels operating in the western region of Lake Ontario, sailed with the Star, Charwell and Magnet. The latter vessel was one of the oldest craft on the Great Lakes, having been launched as the merchantman Governor Simcoe in November 1793 at Kingston with a burthen of 137 tons, at that time well beyond the ninety tons allowed for private vessels.5 After the declaration of war in June 1812, the Simcoe saw service with the Provincial Marine, the colonial naval department that preceded the Royal Navy, and during February 1813 a survey of the schooner revealed that it could be converted into a warship, despite some rotten members and a deck that needed to be lowered and strengthened to bear guns. Commodore Yeo incorporated the Simcoe into his squadron, changing its name to Sir Sidney Smith after another of his patrons and one of the service’s most flamboyant and controversial officers. By Admiralty order, the schooner was renamed Magnet in the spring of 1814 during which time it was armed with ten 24-pdr. carronades and a single 24-pdr. long gun on a pivot. In May Lieutenant George Hawkesworth who had arrived at Kingston in October 1813 from HMS La Mutine at Quebec assumed command of the Magnet and spent most of the intervening time travelling between Niagara and York. The schooner’s 24-pdr. long gun was taken out during one of these visits and mounted in a southwest battery at Fort Niagara where, in the words of Major General Phineas Riall commanding the British army on the peninsula, “it overlooks the plain and Fort George better than any other position it affords.”6
At 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, 24 July 1814 the Star, Charwell and Magnet anchored in “Niagara harbour” in eleven fathoms of water close to the American shore, it seems, since Master John Harris noted that Fort Niagara was at a point north by west while a church stood to the south southwest.7 As the 89th Foot disembarked, the new arrivals learned that General Brown’s army which had threatened the British forts for more than two weeks had suddenly withdrawn south toward Chippawa Creek and that General Riall had sent a detachment to follow it. Plans had already been made to launch a sortie at sunrise on 25 July from Fort Niagara against batteries the Americans were thought to be erecting near Youngstown. The Magnet and the Netley were to sail up the Niagara River to provide support with their guns and Commander Dobbs would “land a party of 30 or 40 marines to assist in the attack.”8 Late on 24 July a party of marines went on shore from the Star and at first light the next morning 500 men, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Tucker, marched south from Fort Niagara; Commander Dobbs and some of the Star’s crew followed their movement in two armed boats. They met little opposition, however, and advanced south as far as Lewiston, while a second column moved along the Canadian shore towards Queenston. Lieutenant General Drummond, who had arrived at dawn in the Netley, now ordered Tucker’s troops to cross over to Queenston since he had decided to “act against the enemy” 9 That act was played out later in the day along the dusty roadway known as Lundy’s Lane.
None of the Royal Navy personnel participated in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, but the event resulted in plenty of activity for them afterward. On 26 July the Star sailed for York with a handful of prisoners on board who were sent on shore while a detachment of De Watteville’s Regiment embarked and landed at Fort George on 29 July. Soon after Dobbs left his little squadron with about thirty of the Star’s crew to join the army while the Charwell, Magnet and Netley hauled themselves up to the wharf near Fort George to receive the wounded troops who were being evacuated to hospital facilities at York. The three vessels sailed on Saturday, 30 July. They returned in a couple of days and went right back to York, likely carrying more prisoners and wounded.
The Star remained moored alongside the wharf near Fort George while Commander Dobbs came back from Drummond’s army and then rejoined it near Fort Erie followed by more men from the sloop. Shortly after dawn on Friday, 5 August the Charwell and Netley appeared sailing over from York and anchored in the river just after 9:00 A.M. having completed another routine round trip. That was the end of that routine, however, because two hours later the American squadron appeared sailing up the lake with a fresh breeze out of the east northeast.
After many aggravating delays which raised the ire of Major General Jacob Brown who had been counting on the navy for support during his invasion, Commodore Chauncey had finally gotten his warships under sail. The squadron, consisting of the General Pike, 26, Madison, 23, Sylph,18, Oneida, 14, and Lady of the Lake, 1, which had formed Chauncey’s main strength in 1813, had been made considerably more powerful with the launch of the Superior, 58, Mohawk, 42, Jefferson, 20, and Jones, 20.10 Control of Lake Ontario passed from Yeo to Chauncey with the arrival of the American squadron, a fact that was clearly demonstrated on the afternoon of 5 August as the Magnet appeared before the Americans making its return from York.
Lieutenant George Hawkesworth had not gotten away as early as his comrades and found himself in a tight spot in the middle of the lake that afternoon. With Chauncey’s armada unexpectedly approaching out of the east, Hawkesworth decided that he was too far from York to get back safely and set every sail the schooner could bear as he made a dash for the mouth of the Niagara River. Officers in the American warships concluded the vessel fleeing before them was the schooner Beresford (formerly Prince Regent, lately the Netley) and Commodore Chauncey reported that it had been re-rigged as a brig. His efforts to catch the Magnet failed, but so did Hawkesworth’s attempt to escape. After tacking to avoid the Americans, he realized that he would not be able to reach the river’s mouth without turning back toward the Americans to gain more sea room. Figuring he had no better alternative, Lieutenant Hawkesworth drove his schooner into the shallows at Four Mile Creek; Chauncey noted that the vessel ran “on shore about six miles Westward of Fort George.”11 The commodore signalled the main body of his squadron to lay to while he sent in the U.S. Sloop Sylph under Master Commandant Jesse Elliott and the shallow draught Lady of the Lake commanded by Lieutenant Mervin Mix to capture the prize.
All eyes at Niagara had been on the flight of the Magnet and when it grounded near Four Mile Creek there was a mad rush of troops with a field piece and seamen from the vessels, including John Harris, to defend and salvage the schooner. They managed to remove 118 barrels of gun powder and other stores but when the Sylph let go its anchor close at hand with a cutting-out party forming on its deck Hawkesworth decided to destroy the schooner. A fire was set around 4:40 P.M. after which the last members of the crew made a speedy departure and at 5:10 the Magnet blew up. It was a detonation of startling force, that was seen, and felt, as far away as York, according to a resident there named Thomas Ridout who wrote:
In the days that followed Harris and his seamen returned to the wreck to clear it of whatever rigging and goods could still be used. The crew of the schooner was distributed among the other vessels, seventeen of them being entered on the Star’s muster. The following November, Lieutenant Hawkesworth faced a court martial for the loss of Magnet, the destruction of which had angered Lieutenant General Drummond who wrote: “This appears to have been an act of unpardonable precipitation.”13 The court martial revealed that Hawkesworth was responsible for laying an improper course and taking time to land passengers someplace between Twelve and Twenty Mile Creeks and the young lieutenant was found guilty, the punishment for which was dismissal from the service. Rather than heading back to England or seeking employment in a merchant ship at Quebec, Hawkesworth went to Sackets Harbour late in December and turned himself into the authorities. Correspondence in January 1815 showed that Hawkesworth was on his way to Washington escorted by a naval lieutenant. He was suspected of being a spy, though his explanation for being at Sackets had a convincing ring to it and it was hoped that “as he is in possession of much information respecting the Enemy and his views, a knowledge of which may be highly important to the Government.”14
Commodore Chauncey had little intention of providing support for Major General Brown’s army since his primary concern was to make sure Yeo’s main force at Kingston did not sail to attack Sackets Harbour. Before turning away from the western waters of the lake, he detached the Jefferson, Sylph and Oneida, with Master Commandant Charles Ridgely of the Jefferson as senior officer in charge, to watch the three British vessels in the mouth of the Niagara. The American blockade ended easy communication with York and it was not until 2 September (when the American vessels had been absent for several days) that the risk was taken to make a crossing. The Charwell, Netley and the Vincent, a small schooner used by the army, sailed to York where Drummond hoped they would be able to embark the 97th Regiment of Foot, but two American brigs, the Jefferson accompanied by the Jones, took up a blockading station and put an end to that plan.15 Small boat traffic continued between Niagara and York with Master Harris starting out on a typical trip in a gig on 9 August by rowing up to Eighteen Mile Creek and then crossing to York during the night. Harris delivered orders to for the RN lieutenant there to rejoin the vessels at Niagara with his men and then waited until 13 August for despatches to arrive so he could carry them to Niagara.
When Harris returned to the Star he learned that he had missed out on a daring attack by Dobbs and his men against American schooners at Fort Erie. Three vessels, the Ohio,1, Somers, 2, and Porcupine,1, part of Oliver Hazard’s 1813 squadron, had taken up an anchorage near Major General Brown’s stronghold in Fort Erie and had bombarded the British as they attempted to establish batteries for firing on the fort. By agreement with Lieutenant General Drummond, Commander Dobbs transported his gig and five bateaux from the Upper Niagara River eight miles overland to the shore of Lake Erie. Just after 10:00 P. M. on 12 August, with his boats manned with seventy seamen and marines, he rowed down to where the three American vessels were anchored. Challenged by a lookout, the British replied with “Provision boats,” and in that way managed to fire a volley from their muskets, clamber over the sides of the Somers and Ohio and seize them after a vicious hand-to-hand fight. Hearing the ruckus, the commander of the Porcupine slipped his anchor and got away without firing a shot No one on shore came to the rescue either and, according to Lieutenant Augustus Conkling, USN, commander of the Ohio, even the batteries at Black Rock were silent as Dobbs and his men subdued their enemy and set sail. Dobbs remembered the incident differently, commending his men “not only for their gallant conduct in the attack, but for their skills in bringing the vessels into this river through shoals and rapids and under a constant and heavy fire.”16 The attack cost the British four wounded and two dead, one of whom was Lieutenant Charles Radcliffe, who had been killed while climbing over the quarter of the Ohio; Radcliffe was buried at the camp near Fort Erie at noon on 13 August. Losses for the Americans included one dead and seven wounded. Much elated, Drummond congratulated the navy for its “brilliant achievement” and “most gallant style.”17 The two schooners were sailed to the Chippawa Creek where they remained for the rest of the war. They were surveyed and initially estimated to be worth £4500 but this amount was reduced to £3000 and appears to have been approved by the Admiralty and forwarded to Canada during the summer of 1815. Renamed the Sauk (Ohio) and Huron (Somers), the schooners were employed on the upper lakes by the Royal Navy for several years.18
Almost immediately Dobbs and his men demonstrated their worth again by participating in Drummond’s attack on Fort Erie in the early hours of 15 August. The scheme had been for a massive, three-pronged assault on the extensive fortifications that the Americans had constructed, but for a variety of reasons the attack failed miserably. One of the British columns managed to infiltrate a bastion in the fort just as a nearby magazine full of powder exploded with devastating results for the British. Commander Dobbs, his seamen and marines were part of this column and suffered horribly because of it. Dobbs, a lieutenant and a midshipman received slight wounds while John Harris, who had just joined the force at Fort Erie, was badly wounded in one arm; Harris returned to Kingston at the end of August and after three weeks in the hospital joined HMS Niagara. Twelve seamen were also wounded while seven others and Master’s Mate Charles Hyde were officially listed as missing; American records showed that Hyde, seven sailors and six Royal Marines were captured. Despite his great disappointment with the ignominious defeat of his venture, Lieutenant General Drummond did not fail to remark that “Capt. Dobbs, of the Royal Navy, commanding a party of volunteer seamen and marines are entitled to my acknowledgements (they are all wounded).”19
Although there was frequent contact between the opposing armies that resulted in the depletion of resources on both sides, no significant gain was achieved by anyone. With the American warships blockading the route between York and Niagara, which forced the much-needed men and munitions to march to Fort Erie, Lieutenant General Drummond’s impatience increased as the weeks of August and September dragged on and he began to point his finger more emphatically at Commodore Yeo’s failure to get the main components of his force in operation. On 15 October Drummond suggested to Sir George Prevost that “should any disaster happen to this division, . . . His Majesty’s naval commander will, in my opinion, have much to answer for.”20
By the second week of October the Americans had lifted their blockade of the Niagara River and “the brigs and schooners, under Captain Dobbs, . . . [were] employed in removing the sick to York and the Forty Mile Creek.”21 Unlike his attitude toward Commodore Yeo, Drummond was pleased with the effort made by Dobbs and his men. “I willingly avail myself of this occasion,” he wrote to Prevost on 10 October. “to express my warm approbation of the cordial and zealous co-operation which I have uniformly experienced from Captain Dobbs of the Royal Navy, whose whole conduct while acting with this division entitles him and the officers and seamen under his command to our grateful acknowledgements.”22
Of Alexander Dobb’s view of events on the Niagara frontier during 1814 little is known, which makes a letter he wrote to Commodore Yeo about his operations during the summer all the more worthwhile to cite in full.
With HMS St. Lawrence, 104, finally ready for employment, Commodore Yeo sailed from Kingston during the third week of October prepared to meet Chauncey. The American commodore, knowing he was outgunned and had much to lose by facing the British, declined the opportunity and remained at Sackets. This gave Yeo mastery of the lake again and freedom to supply Drummond’s army which also liberated Commander Dobbs and his men from the limitations of the western end of Lake Ontario. They participated in the transport of men and munitions from Kingston to Niagara until the coming of winter ended the navigation season in December.
Early in 1815 Alexander Dobbs was appointed senior officer of the Royal Navy station at Isle aux Noix on the Richelieu River where a warship was being built to win back control of Lake Champlain and when peace stopped he moved to Quebec where he became the agent for transports. Of the rest of Dobb’s naval career little is known. He obtained “post” rank in 1819 which means he was “posted” to the seniority list of captains in the Royal Navy and probably would have risen by attrition to the ranks of admirals had he not died at Malta in 1827. By that time the brigs and schooners that he and his men had sailed during the summer of 1814 were long past their prime, rotting at their moorings at Kingston, the role they had played in the war all but forgotten.
The late Robert Malcomson was author of a number of important works on the War of 1812, including Lords of the Lake: The Naval War on Lake Ontario, 1812-1814 (1998), Warships of the Great Lakes: 1754-1834 (2001); A Very Brilliant Affair: The Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812 (2003); Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812 (2006) and Capital in Flames: The American Attack on York, 1813 (2008) published by Robin Brass Studio and in the USA and UK in 1999 by Naval Institute Press and Chatham Publishing, respectively. The book won the John Lyman Book Prize for the best study Canadian Naval and Maritime History published in 1998, awarde by the North American Society for Oceanic History. His current project Warships of the Great Lakes: 1754-1834 will be published by Chatham Publishing of London in spring 2001.
Notes:1. Details about the origins and size of the British vessels may be found in Table One and throughout Malcomson, Robert Lords of the Lake: The Naval War on Lake Ontario, 1812-1814 Toronto: Robin Brass, 1998; Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999. 2>
2. A biography of Alexander Dobbs is found in Marshall, John ed., Royal Navy Biography London: Longman, 1823-1835, 4 vols. and 4 supplements, sup. 4:216-20. Apart from his dependable conduct as an officer, Dobbs distinguished himself among his colleagues by marrying a Canadian girl, Mary Cartwright, the daughter of one of Kingston’s most prominent citizens, Richard Cartwright, jr. on 17 February 1814: Graves, Donald E., Merry Hearts Make Light Days: The War of 1812 Journal of Lieutenant John Le Couteur, 104th Foot Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1993, p. 157. Details about Dobbs inclusion in Yeo’s RN detachment and about the other British personnel mentioned in this article may be found in Musters of the Establishments on the Canadian Lakes, Public Record Office, UK, Admiralty [ADM], 37, vols. 5000, 5002, 5128, 5245, 5377, 5629, 5636, 5642. For a recent analysis of a portion of these musters, see Tom Malcomson, “Muster Table for the Royal Navy’s Establishment on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812,” The Northern Mariner 9 (1999), 41-67.
3. Harris’s Master’s Log may be found in the National Archives of Canada [hereafter: NAC], Manuscript Group [MG] 12, ADM 52, vol. 3928. It is available on microfilm reel C-12890. Harris remained in Canada after the war and married Amelia Ryerse of Port Ryerse, near Long Point, Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1815. Diaries from members of their family have been published in Robin S. Harris and Terry G. Harris, eds., The Eldon House Diaries: Five Women’s Views of the 19th Century Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1994. Biographical notes on Harris are included in this book. Harris became a member of the Owen-Bayfield hydrographic survey team and worked with the government of the province before his death in 1850.
4. Drummond to Prevost, 23 July 1814, Cruikshank, E.A. ed., The Documentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier, 1812-1814 9 vols. Welland: Lundy’s Lane Historical Society, 1896-1908 [hereafter: DHC], 1:87. Riall to Drummond, 9 July 1814, ibid.:54. Drummond to Prevost, 13, 15 and 16 July 1814, ibid.:57, 59 and 60.
5. Cartwright to Hamilton, 2 Nov. 1793, Preston, Richard A. ed., Kingston Before the War of 1812 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1959, 202. MacKay to Beckwith, 25 April 1794, ibid.:203. Proceedings of a Board of Survey . . . 24 Feb. 1813, NAC, RG 8, I, 729:104.
6. Riall to Drummond, 17 July 1814, DHC, 4:69.
7. Harris Logbook.
8. Harvey to Tucker, 23 July 1814, DHC, 1:84. Harvey to Riall, 23 July 1814, ibid.:82. Graves, Donald E., Where Right and Glory Lead: The Battle of Lundy’s Lane, 1814 Toronto: Robin Brass Studio, 1997, 102-109.
9. Drummond to Prevost, 27 July 1814, DHC, 1:87.
10. For details about the origins and size of the American vessels, see Table Two. For more about the Brown-Chauncey dispute, see Malcomson, Lords of the Lake, 285-94.
11. Chauncey to Jones, 10 Aug. 1814, 38:83.
12. Thomas Ridout to T. G. Ridout, 9 Aug. 1814, Firth, Edith G., The Town of York 1793-1815 Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962, 332.
13. Drummond to Prevost, 8 Aug. 1814, DHC, 1:125.
14. Porter to Crowinshield, 16 Jan. 1815, 42:48. Chauncey had listened to Hawkesworth and sent him to the marshal at New York, Chauncey to Smith, 3 Jan. 1815, Chauncey Letterbook. For the Hawkesworth court martial see the Public Record Office, England, ADM 1, 5447. The author thanks his brother, Thomas Malcomson, for obtaining a copy of the proceedings for him.
15. Drummond to Prevost, 2, 8 and 14 Sept. 1814, DHC, 1:190, 195 and 200. The Vincent was formerly the American merchantman Lady Washington prized by Yeo’s squadron in June 1813 and later given to the army as a tender, Malcomson, Lords of the Lake, 150.
16. Dobbs to Yeo, 13 Aug. 1814, DHC, 1:135.
17. Drummond to Prevost, 13 Aug. 1814, DHC, 1:134. District General Order, 13 Aug. 1814, ibid.:135. Conkling to Kennedy, 16 Aug. 1814, ibid.:136.
18. Surveys of the captured vessels may be found in: NAC, MG 24, F 25, 118-121 and RG 8, I, 695:41. Commodore Yeo suggested to Prevost that Dobbs and his men being given prize money for the vessels even though the army had taken them. Later correspondence shows that a prize warrant for £3000 was sent to Canada in August 1815 after some of the men had departed for England, NAC, RG 8, 695: 66, 68, 95, 96, 97 and 98. Dobbs was still at Quebec acting as agent for the transports and so it is likely that he took his share.
19. Drummond to Prevost, 15 Aug. 1814, DHC, 1:141. This report includes the British list of casualties. The American list appears in Whitehorne, Joseph, While Washington Burned: The Battle of Fort Erie, 1814. Baltimore: Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company, 1992, 185-6.
20. Drummond to Prevost,15 Oct.1814, DHC, 2:252. For more on the Drummond - Yeo dispute, see Malcomson, Lords of the Lake, 294-8, 303-9.
21. Drummond to Prevost, 10 Oct. 1814, DHC, 2:243.
23. Wood, William, ed., Select British Documents of the Canadian War of 1812 3 vols. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1920-28, 3:746. Whether Dobbs and his officers were remunerated for their expenses is unknown as there is nothing dealing with the matter in Yeo’s correspondence with the Admiralty, NAC, MG 12, ADM 1, Secretary’s Department, In Letters fro Captains. Yeo: vols. 2736-8.