Pages

October 25 1812: All Canada Mourns Her Truly Gallant Brock

On October 25, 1812, Major Lovett, writes to his friend Joseph Alexander in Albany.  Lovett writes about the Battle of Queenston and recalls the death of Brock.  Lovett writes: 
All Canada mourns her truly gallant Brock and Col. McDonald, his Aid-de-Camp, was the Attorney General of the Province, their second Idol. I knew him. Two Indian Chiefs fell — we took one. The Armistice which was agreed upon after the Battle for three days, has been continued, and now exists: when it will end I cannot say. Since the Battle every thing has been conducted in that character which will forever honor civilized nations. The Salute which we fired at Brock's Funeral, almost overwhelmed General Sheaffe. With sensibility which almost choked his utterance, he exclaimed to an officer standing by him: "Noble minded as General Brock was, he would have ordered the same had a like disaster befallen the Enemy." On hearing this Genl. V. R., was almost overwhelmed. My friend, the scenes of war are trying, and where, where in God's name, are they to end? My soul is in agony while I review the situation of our Country.
Lovett's letter is reproduced below. 

Major Lovett to Joseph Alexander.
Sunday Evening, Oct. 25th, 1812.

Dear Alexander - On the 23d, General Van Rensselaer, by permission, resigned his command to Brig. Gen. Smyth, and tomorrow morning starts for Albany. It was my intention to have stolen time eno' to have written you a long letter stuffed with important truths by this conveyance; but for three days past it has been nothing but Despatches, copies of despatches, and copies of copies till my brains are despatched. These things by day, and Solomon by night wear me down pretty close to the old stuff, which has not yet failed, and I trust in God it will not fail me. I shall now have leisure to post up my day Book expense account, and put my traveling tabernacle in order. When I shall start for Albany is just as uncertain as when Solomon will be able to travel. His wounds are deep and severe; but he is heart whole and will recover — leave him I cannot and will not. I hope he may move in four weeks. I know you have a buzz, and 10, 000 opinions of the Battle: all I can say to you in this moment of time is, don't be hasty in your opinions: you cannot view the whole ground yet, but you will soon, and be satisfied. I tell you for a truth never to be yielded, there was no middle course: Battle, or wide, personal, and public disgrace was the alternative: this I know was the truth, and truth must ultimately prevail. I hardly know what I wrote you in my harry at the close of the battle; but it was undoubtedly the truth as far as I then understood the facts. I have since by permission forwarded a lengthy communication to Van Vechten on the subject, to be used at his discretion. But there are facts still behind, resting on documents, which the General has not yet communicated to any one. In a word, be patient, and learn the whole; and then you will have no occasion to complain. Wait a few weeks, and the Campaign will disclose its own facts. I find not an officer, not a soldier who was in the battle, but justifies the whole — indeed the complete success of the battle justifies itself; we carried all that we proposed, and held it from morn' till night and had double the force necessary to hare retained it. Never were men braver than those engaged. The several actions were sharp: but all the world was not killed nor wounded as some have represented. Exact truth upon this subject can never be known —it is impossible — the aggregate of our information would about warrant this: Killed 60—wounded 170—Prisoners, balance against us, say 720. As to numbers the slaughter was probably about even on both sides. But Characters differ. We lost no officer of higher rank than Captain.

All Canada mourns her truly gallant Brock and Col. McDonald, his Aid-de-Camp, was the Attorney General of the Province, their second Idol. I knew him. Two Indian Chiefs fell — we took one. The Armistice which was agreed upon after the Battle for three days, has been continued, and now exists: when it will end I cannot say. Since the Battle every thing has been conducted in that character which will forever honor civilized nations. The Salute which we fired at Brock's Funeral, almost overwhelmed General Sheaffe. With sensibility which almost choked his utterance, he exclaimed to an officer standing by him: "Noble minded as General Brock was, he would have ordered the same had a like disaster befallen the Enemy."
On hearing this Genl. V. R., was almost overwhelmed. My friend, the scenes of war are trying, and where, where in God's name, are they to end? My soul is in agony while I review the situation of our Country.

Governor Tompkins, by exceeding hard driving has so managed, and economized his time as to be able to be in season to get there too late. He arrived here this day. Why, or for what, is more than I can tell you. He has been closeted almost the whole day with the General; but I cannot learn that he has any plan, or plan of a plan, or copy of a plan's pan. I know that which I will not write, wait a little, I say, wait, do not descant, nor condemn until you know the real situation in which Gen. Van Rensselaer has had to act. At bottom you will find the friend — the Patriot, and the Soldier.— I fear my hearing is ruined : it is not much better now than the day after the battle — the Lord deliver me, I say, from the Music of 18 Pounders, with bombs for the rough Bass, and Sixes for the treble.

Tell my dear family all you know of us — and my love to all my old friends. Last of all, pay your General that Respect and attention which his toils, privations and Soldiership entitle him to.

Your assured friend,
J. Lovett.



No comments:

Post a comment