Re: [War Of 1812] Port Dover, Lake Erie - After Action Report for June 23th, 2007
- What a superb account of actions in the colonies.
Commodore pro tem
Crown Forces North America
June 23rd, 2007
Port Dover, Lake Erie, Upper Canada.
I beg your leave to acquaint you with the circumstances of the events
of this past weekend whereupon the forces under your command did
acquit themselves admirably in the face of the enemy.
Commander Peter Rindlisbacher, Lake Erie Station, upon being apprised
of a large enemy fleet departing Erie, Pennsylvania, for a potential
invasion of Port Dover, Upper Canada, dispatched messengers to the
other Great Lakes stations requesting reinforcements of artillery and
ship's boats to come to the defence of Port Dover.
You will be pleased to hear that all stations requested responded
immediately and with great vigour, resulting in 3 pieces of field
artillery and 3 ship's boats arriving at the harbour before the enemy
could appear. In addition, Captain Ray Hobbs, commanding the 41st
Regiment of Foot, provided a sizeable detachment of soldiers under the
command of Sergeant Tom Fournier.
Lieutenant David May, commanding, Provincial Marine, Lake Erie
Station, arrived from Fort Malden, Amherstburg, Upper Canada with a
3-pounder brass field gun and the ship's boat Rolette. Lieutenant
Thomas Hurlbut, Lake Simcoe and Upper Lakes Station, sent Midshipman
Michael McLeod in command of the ship's boat Auld Alliance. Captain
Gill Bibby, HMS Hamilton Ship's Company, arrived with the ship's boat
which unfortunately remained confined to the harbour for repairs.
Lieutenant Ken Fisher, commanding, HMS Charwell Landing Party, arrived
with a brass field gun and Acting Lieutenant Charles Fitton,
commanding, HMS Ferret Landing Party, arrived with an iron field gun,
leaving HMS Ferret ship's boat in the dockyard to complete its fitting
out. HMS Charwell's Marine contingent under Sergeant Bill Kovaks and
the Rocket Troop of Royal Horse Artillery under Sergeant Federico
completed the defences.
I hesitate to mention that there was an attempted desertion by the
Drummer of the Royal Marines on Saturday afternoon. The man in
question was apprehended in the village by his fellow Royal Marines
and dragged screaming back to the Royal Navy camp. Upon being found
guilty of desertion, he was sentenced to be hung immediately from the
nearest yardarm. When it was brought to the attention of the officers
present that there were no yardarms nearby that could support such a
weight and that the camp would be without its drummer, the sentence
was commuted to flogging. To the horror of the onlooking public, the
deserter was bound to the wheel of a field gun and given 9 lashes of
the cat-o'-nine- tails before he would proclaim his loyalty to King
The officers commanding, having determined the validity of the rumours
of the approaching enemy fleet, and noting that the village of Dover
was a seething hot-bed of republicanism, decided upon a subterfuge to
redirect the villagers' loyalties.
The Auld Alliance and the Rolette left harbour on Saturday evening
under pretext of searching out the enemy fleet. Meanwhile, two
artillery field pieces were deployed on the beach to defend against
the enemy fleet. Once out of sight, the British ship's boats' crews
changed to American uniforms, ran up the Stars and Stripes and
commenced an attack upon Port Dover much to the consternation of the
Upon hearing the alarm, the Provincial Marine commenced to drag their
3-pounder brass field piece from the Royal Navy camp to the beach ably
led by a Highland Piper, the (previously mentioned) Royal Marines
drummer and contingent and the detachment of the 41st Regiment of
After a half hour exchange of musketry and artillery fire, the "enemy"
vessels disappeared into the darkness, leaving His Majesty's forces in
command of the village. This display of force (although only blank
charges were used so as to not harm our boats) has done much to
improve the demeanour of the village and redirect their loyalties to
the King. The rest of the night saw a great revelry amongst our
troops and the villagers with large bonfires and much drinking of
toasts to the King.
On the evening of the Sunday following, the enemy fleet (numbering
some 2-3 dozen ships of sail) did appear offshore but by Monday
morning they were observed some 3 miles offshore "beating" back to
The mills and village of Dover have been saved. Huzzah! Huzzah!
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the great support
provided by Col. Bob Blakely of the local militia and Captain Chris
Wilkinson of the British Indian Department. They were a source of
liaison with those loyal villagers that could be depended upon
to provision our camp.
I am commanded by the above mentioned officers to submit this report
for your approval as a true account of the events so described.
Sir, I have the honour to be your humble and obedient servant,
Gord Deans, Ship's Clerk,
HMS Charwell Landing Party, Royal Navy,
Lake Erie Station, Great Lakes, Upper Canada.
GOD SAVE THE KING.
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