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December 19 1812: French Beat Russians

On December 19, 1812, Major Sheaffe passes on to Colonel Talbot further news including news from Russia about the Battle of Borodino. "The French say they have beaten the Russians," he writes "on the River Moskwa, 25 leagues from Moscow. They own the loss of 10,000, and estimate that of the Russians at 40 to 50,000. It is said that the latter were joined" after the battle by 40,000 from Moscow, which city an uncredited report states to have been taken by the French."

The full letter is reproduced below.

 Major-General Sheaffe to Colonel Talbot
Fort George, 19th Decr., 1812.

My Dear Colonel,—In consequence of the explanation furnished by you and L. Colonel Nichol, I shall authorize the payment of the sums disallowed in the estimate of the 24th Septr. for the pay of the Norfolk, Middlesex and Oxford regiments.

I received despatches yesterday from headquarters to the 6th Decr. A superintendent and storekeeper for our dock-yard arrived at Kingston, a Mr. Plucknett, who has been in one of our dockyards at home. From 100 to 120 shipwrights and 30 seamen are by this time near Kingston. Naval officers and seamen are expected from Halifax. A frigate and a sloop of war'are to be built on this lake and another vessel like the Lady Prevost on Lake Erie. Some gunboats with heavy guns are to be added to the list.

The Royal George and Moira winter at Kingston. There has been a ridiculous affair near Champlain: 6 or 700 Americans attempted to surprise a picquet of ours of 20 voyageurs and 12 Indians, who were placed in a ditch by Mr. McCoy, command'g. The Americans so completely surrounded the post that had been occupied by our people that in firing on them they only injured one another, and our men joined in the fire, without having a man hurt. The enemy retired after having 50 or 60 killed and wounded. A few of the latter were taken.
I. Coffin is appointed temporary Acting Assistant Commissary General.

Lord Wellington has taken Burgos. The French say they have beaten the Russians on the River Moskwa, 25 leagues from Moscow. They own the loss of 10,000, and estimate that of the Russians at 40 to 50,000. It is said that the latter were joined" after the battle by 40,000 from Moscow, which city an uncredited report states to have been taken by the French.

Madison has been re-elected by 47. Rumor says that the United States frigate has been taken. Parliament is dissolved.

Massena advancing with 10,000 men towards Spain. Suchet and Joseph have retired from Valentia. Seville taken by assault with little loss. One of the large French mortars employed against Cadiz, and deserted by the Gauls, has been sent to England as a present to the Prince of Wales. The Government of Spain has published a declaration of freedom to all who had acted with the French.

If you knew but all I have to say, to write, and to do, you might be able to estimate the value of so long a letter. Local intelligence I leave to L. Colonel Bostwick.

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