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November 2 1812: Lovett's Truth will Prevail



On November 2 1812, Major Lovett, stationed in Buffalo writes to his friend in Joseph Alexander. He is still trying to convey the impression that Queenston was a success for the American side or at least that there was no dishonor in the way the troops had fought. He writes:
Conscious that our little Family have done all that they could, and more than any other three Men have, or can do, we feel tranquil, and however the world may, for the present, attempt to dispose of the Battle of Queenstown, in the end I do know that Truth will prevail, and it will be acknowledged that all that could be done has been done. Every day furnishes new evidence of the astonishing intrepidity of the Americans engaged in the action. The fact is repeated, over and over again, by British Officers, that in the first place, they did not believe we would fight at all; and in the next, that the men fought more like Devils than any thing else; that for the first ten hours, all resistance opposed was perfectly idle.
Lovett's letter  is reproduced below. 

Major Lovett to Joseph Alexander. 
Buffalo Nov. 2d, 1812.

My Dear Friend - Anchored as we are in this infernal region, it was very reasonable for us to expect letters from some of our friends by the last mail, but we got none. Conscious that our little Family have done all that they could, and more than any other three Men have, or can do, we feel tranquil, and however the world may, for the present, attempt to dispose of the Battle of Queenstown, in the end I do know that Truth will prevail, and it will be acknowledged that all that could be done has been done. Every day furnishes new evidence of the astonishing intrepidity of the Americans engaged in the action. The fact is repeated, over and over again, by British Officers, that in the first place, they did not believe we would fight at all; and in the next, that the men fought more like Devils than any thing else; that for the first ten hours, all resistance opposed was perfectly idle. Out of the 46 first men who met Col. Van Rensselaer on the bank, it is admitted but Six got off. Grosvenor assures me that in one instance, when some Infantry and his Riflemen got a cross fire upon a squad of the enemy, he counted Sixteen dead, almost in a heap. Indeed the oldest soldiers on the line say, they never saw such sharp shooting. Lt. Col. Fen wick is an old Soldier) he says, he does not believe the annals of war, furnish such an instance of mark'smanship. He says he was known to many of the enemy's officers : that he was instantly clothed with bullets — one in his eye — one in his right elbow — one in his side — and I yesterday counted nine ball holes in his little cloak. Colonel Van Rensselaer bade his boy bring his coat the other day. We found a musket ball entered the cape, just under his right ear, passed about three inches, and out again; under his right wrist, a ball cut coat and lining through four inches; and there are several others thro' the skirt of his coat. The stocking which was on the leg that was wounded, besides the two holes where the ball went in and out, has no less than five holes across the shin. The shots in Gen. Wadsworth's clothes shew his escape to have been next to miraculous. But these cotton and woolen stories are too many and too long to write; they may do to talk about when we meet. The truth is, that altho' my spirits are not depressed, I feel sober —the scenes of war, to a thoughtful mind, are sobering. Besides, I think I see the finger of Heaven pointing, in a manner not to be mistaken, in that poised scale of success which swung before our eyes at the end of the battle. I am satisfied for myself, and now, but not till now, I have a desire to return home. I call myself well; but my health is not just as rugged as it was; from the 11th Aug to the 26th October, I had never touched anything like a bed — been by no fire; and now, sleeping in a bed, and sitting by a warm fire, lets me down from the tone I had acquired. Besides the night of the first attack (as we intended) was one of the most trying I ever experienced — incessant storm; half snow, half rain, the 12th was all duty; the 13th all death; and the subsequent scenes have been trying to body, and soul. But T shall stand it thro' and get home. The General is before this with you. I need not enlarge upon the general subject. I have only to charge you all to stick to the man who has stuck to his country and command, until passing events taught him that his further efforts in commanding Militia, as things now are, could only disgrace him, without serving his Country. The Colonel is doing as well as possible, and we hope, this day week, to start for Albany: but I am not without some fears that the wound where the ball is lodged, will yet give the Colonel some trouble.

The Editor of the Buffalo Gazette and your letter speak pretty much the same language. The hiss of Vipers grows feeble here. I can tell you nothing, certain, of what Genl. Smyth intends to do, but I will tell you what I think he may attempt if, contrary to my opinion he attempts any thing. I think he may attempt to cross here, and the result I will show you, when I return home, if Gen. Van Rensselaer will suffer publicity of an opinion which he long ago wrote Gen. Dearborn on that subject, the opinion is full and able. The world must and shall be convinced that this Campaign has been conducted with open eyes, directed by busy brains. Guard the Character of your General, his Papers will defend him. Col. Fenwick says, unreservedly that Gen. V. B. has done all that could be done. There was yesterday a severe Cannonade below, probably on Lake Ontario — we have no intelligence, possibly a Naval Brush on the Lake. Just now, Col. Parker, the most respectable Officer in Smyth's Brigade called to see us: he says the Pennsylvania Militia will not cross over to Canada. Let Gen. V. B. know this immediately. Col. Fenwick desires me in the most affectionate manner to present him to the General, he is now next door to us. Do you tell the Genl. I wish he would write a short consoling line to Col. Fenwick. Yours, ever faithfully,

J. Lovett.

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