The Battle of Hampden
By HARRY J. CHAPMAN.
The battle of Hampden was fought Saturday, September 3rd, 1814. In July the British seized Eastport, spiked the guns in the old fort at Thomaston, committed various depredations that greatly alarmed the people of Maine and fearing a general invasion, the militia was ordered to rendezvous at Bangor under the command of General Blake.
On August 26th, a strong squadron sailed from Halifax to attack Machias, but informed on the way by Captain Pearse of the presence of the U. S. covette Adams
in the Penobscot, they resolved on her capture. On the morning of September first the fleet dropped anchor in Castine harbor, comprising the battleships Dragon
, and Bulwark
, seventy-four guns each; Burhante
, and Tenedon
, frigates; Sylph
, and Pertivian
, sloops-of-war; Pictou
, armed schooner; tender, and ten transports, three hundred guns, having on board the 29th, 62d, 98th regiments; First Company, Royal Artillery; two rifle companies of the Seventh Battalion, Sixtieth Regiment, thirty-five hundred men, formerly a part of Wellington's army, which with sailors and marines made up a force of about six thousand. The expedition was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir John Sherbrooke, later, Governor of Nova Scotia. Major-General Gerard Gosselin commanded the troops; Rear-Admiral Edward Griffith, the fleet. Lieutenant Andrew Lewis and twenty-eight men of the 40th U. S. Infantry garrisoned Fort Porter, mounting four twenty-four pounders; Lieutenant Henry Little, of Bucksport, was quartered in the courthouse with ninety-eight militiamen. Little retired. Lewis paused long enough to fire on Lieutenant Colonel Nichols of the Royal Engineers, reconnoitering in a small sloop, then spiked his guns, blew up his magazine, and escaped up the Bagaduce in boats taking two three pound brass field-pieces.
He joined Little when they made their way to Bucksport. Sunday, Sir John and Admiral Griffith at three o'clock in the morning marched to Bucksport with seven hundred men, and recovered the guns on threat to burn the town. Lewis managed to cross the river in the night with his men and was present at the battle. The next day when on the march to Bangor, Little was fired on by the pursuing ships opposite Frankfort, and seeing that a detachment of Royal Riflemen were landing to intercept him under Major Croisdale and Lieutenant Wallace, he turned into the woods and never reached the battle-field. Sherbrooke immediately occupied Castine; General Gosselin took possession of Belfast with six -hundred men.. The Dragon
, transport Harmony
, and a prize-tender, under Captain Barrie of the Royal Navy, with the flanking companies of the three regiments, and one rifle company of the sixtieth, five hundred men, and a small train of light artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry John, and Major Riddle, left the main squadron at noon of the first, and anchored that night in Marsh bay, Frankfort. The next day they proceeded, leaving the Dragon
behind, and late in the afternoon anchored at Bald Hill Cove, three miles south of the battlefield.
On the high north bank of the Cove, General Blake had established his advanced pickets under Lieutenant George W. Brown, supporting two four pounders, Sergeant John Williams and Michael Sargent, gunners. Captain Ward landed with a company of riflemen, when Brown retired, dragging away his cannon. The British went into camp on the shore. At five o'clock the next morning Colonel John advanced up the highway in the fog and rain, moving with great caution, as he expected to encounter the enemy at any moment, estimated to be fourteen hundred men. Captain Ward led with a strong skirmish party, supported by the flanking company of the Sixty-second under Major Keith, the flanks guarded by eighty marines under Captain Carter. Behind came the main body, Captain Cooker with the flanking company of the twenty-ninth; Lieutenant Carston and a company of Royal Artillery with a howitzer and a six pounder; Lieutenants Symonds, Motely, and Slade with marines from the Bulwark
. Captain Barrie followed with the ships. One Oakman, a native, was pressed into service as guide, who was killed at the battle.
Captain Charles Morris of Woodstock, Conn., who afterwards attained high rank and became a notable figure in the American Navy, was placed in command of the Adams
, then blockaded in the Potomac river, armed with twenty-four cannon, and manned by two hundred and fifty-eight men. During a snow storm in January he run the blockade, escaped to sea, and captured ten British merchantmen. Cruising northward in search of prey, on August 17, he run his vessel on a rock in the fog near Isle au Haut, but succeeded in floating her. Fearful the British might learn of his mishap, he put up the Penobscot and beached her at Hampden a few rods below Crosby's wharf, (later known as Long Wharf, at the mouth of the Souadabscook.) Near him was anchored the Victory
, and Decatur
, just returned from Europe, their cargoes undischarged. News of the arrival of the British at Castine reached Morris at noon of that day, who at once called on General Blake for troops to defend the Adams
. Blake immediately marched to Hampden with his militia and many volunteers, where he prepared for battle.
The eastern militia was under the command of Brigadier-General John Blake of Brewer, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, of splendid record, and undoubted bravery. Various detachments were stationed at Eastport and other places. He had under him parts of two regiments:
STAFF FIRST BRIGADE, 10th Division, MASS. MILITIA.
John Blake, Brigadier-General Brewer
Charles Blake, Quartermaster Brewer
Francis Carr, Jr., Aide Bangor
Elijah Goodridge, Aide Bangor
Charles Ulmer, Aide Hampden
STAFF THIRD REGIMENT, FIRST BRIGADE.
Andrew Grant, Lieutenant Colonel Hampden
Joshua Chamberlain, Major Brewer
Rufus Gilmore, Adjutant Newburgh
Enoch Mudge, Chaplain Orrington
Edmund Abbott, Surgeon's mate Frankfort
Andrew Tyler, Jr., Paymaster Frankfort
Cyrus Brewer, Quartermaster Orrington
Captain Peter Newcomb, Hampden 8 officers 49 men
Captain Warren Ware, Orrington 5 officers 52 men
Captain Semuel Butman, Dixmont I2 officers 47 men
Captain James Patton, Hampden 7 officers 33 men.
Captain John Emery, Jr., Hampden IO, officers 27 men
STAFF MAJOR THOMAS GEORGE BATTALION, DETACHIED FROM LIEUTENANT 'COLONEL JOHN WHITING'S FOURTH REGIMENT,
FIRST BRIGADE. Brewer
Thomas George, Major
Thomas Carr, Jr., Adjutant Bangor
Captain Solomon Blake, Brewer 8 officers 24 men
Captain Lot Rder, Eddington 5 officers 14 men
Captain Daniel Webster, Orono 8 officers 32 men
Captain Timothy Sibley, Eddington 5 officers 35 men
CAPTAIN JOSHUA CHAMBERLAIN'S DETACHED COMPANY, THIRD
Regiment FIRST BRIGADE.
Captain Joshua Chamberlain 13 officers 66 men
CAPTAIN THOMAS H. GEORGE'S DETACHED COMPANY, FOURTH
REGIMENT FIRST BRIGADE.
Captain Thomas H. George, Brewer 13 officers 51 men
Captain Charles Hammond, Bangor Eighth Artillery
Major Mark Trafton, Bangor
Captain Charles Morris Crew of the Adams
This force was about 750 men.
The battlefield lay between the highway and river, the Souadabscook, and Pitcher's Brook on the south, a tract about a mile long, and half a mile wide. With men and oxen, Captain Morris dragged his heavy cannon to the high hill a hundred feet above the river, opposite the helpless Adams
, and established a powerful battery of nine guns; thirteen guns were stationed on Long wharf; one commanded the gap between the two batteries. This was a strong position and completely commanded the river, and he was confident the British fleet could not win by. General Blake took up a strong position, the crest of a high ridge just south of the academy, a wood structure erected in 1807, burnt February 4 1842, and rebuilt that year of brick. His right rested on the first church, erected in 1794 on the site of the present town hall, and extended to the river just south of the hill battery. His line of battle overlooked the present burying -round, then a pasture, across which the enemy must advance. In the highway in front of the church, he stationed an eighteen pounder taken from the Adams
. The two brass fieldpieces of the Bangor Light Artillery, Captain Charles Hammond, were placed west of the road and commanded the bridge across the brook. These guns were under Captain Lewis, and served by his men, who had escaped from Castine. Colonel Grant commanded the right of the line; Major Chamberlain, the left. The women and children were sent to the house of Joshua Lane, a mile out on the Colebrook road. Lieutenants Wadsworth and Madison cornmanded the hill battery; Lieutenants Parker and Beatty the one on the wharf. They were served by the crew of the Adams
THE COUNCIL of WAR
On the evening before the battle, General Blake called a council in the Academy, attended by his officers, the Selectmen, Simeon Stetson, Jona Knowles, James Patten, and others. Morris and Blake advised throwing up entrenchments along the ridge, which would have. The matter was debated with much made Blake’s position impregnable, had his men stood their ground. They finally broke up in confusion, with nothing done would prevent the enemy outflanking him, Morris told them if they scending the river. But they were alarmed, he would prevent them a line of battle, drenched and it seemed hopeless to resist. As many of the Americans were without arms, he supplied them from the Adams
. They lay that night in the rain, the field hidden in fog, hourly expecting attack.
The next morning, the British were heard marching up the road, glimpses of them were but owing to the fog could not be seen. British captain who had with his guns, killed Oakman, and was Pitcher Brook bridge, and Lewis opened caught as they crossed the enemy, been in forty pitched-battles. But this did not check, and they crossed and deployed in line of battle toward the river immediately advanced up the hill in face of Lewis' fire. The militia were ordered to hold their fire until the enemy were near. The British fired as they advanced, and then charged. Owing to the fog, and the smoke that blew in their faces, the militia did not see them until they were swarming up the ridge with gleaming bayonets when, almost without firing a shot, the Centre gave way, and in a moment the whole line of battle broke and the men rushed in panic from the field, making for the bridge across the Souadabscook, where Chamberlain and George tried in vain to rally them and make a stand. Lewis and his men surrounded and left without support were forced to abandon their guns. Sergeant Bent remained, fired the eighteen pounder for the last time, spiked it, and fled with the rest. Meanwhile Captain Morris had gone down to the wharf battery and saw the British ships and a number of barges crowded with men through the fog, and opened with his guns sweeping the river with grape, but the range was far. Learning that Blake was attacked, and earful of the result, he sent Lieutenant Watson and twenty marines to watch the enemy south of the hill battery, and assist in covering it, if attacked in flank.
He soon sent back word that the Militia were in flight. Certain to be captured, Wadsworth spiked his guns and fled with his men to the bridge, pursued by the exulting British, Morris fired the buildings on and about the wharf, spiked his own cannon, fired the Adams
and was the last to turn away just as the British appeared on the hill above. He could not gain the bridge so he and his men plunged into the stream, swam across, made their way to Bangor, thence to the Kennebec and Portland, escaping capture. Captain Harnmond and his men dragged away their two brass cannon and hid them in the woods under the care of Zodoc Davis, tanner, pound-keeper, who lived on Joppa street, what is now probably Railroad street. Such was the inglorious ending of the battle that was over almost before it begun. The Militia could not resist the charge of the British regulars and they fled in all directions to the woods, their distant homes, concealing their arms, and removing from their persons all evidences of their military employment.
Blake had one man killed, eleven wounded. The British lost one captain and one marine. Captain Gell of the Twenty-ninth and one private wounded. A Mr. Reed standing in front of the Loud house in Orrington had his shoulder carried away by a cannon ball, and
died. The two Englishmen were buried near the old brick store, but were afterwards interred in the graveyard in the rear of the town hall, where their graves may be seen to this day. Eighty prisoners were taken and confirmed on the Decatur
, but were released the next day on parole.
Leaving a guard of two hundred men who took possession of the battle-field and village, the British crossed the bridge, the officers mounted on horseback, and pursued the flying militia. The road to Bangor led through dense woods the greater part of the way. The ships were the first to arrive, greeted by a lowered flag on Barker's store at the corner of Exchange and Washington streets, then open to the water. The sailors landed and at once
plundered six stores of their goods, valued at six thousand dollars. The British arrived about noon, met by the Selectmen, Moses, Patten, and Thomas Bradbury, with a flag of truce, who surrendered the village to Colonel John. The soldiers quartered in the courthouse, later the old city hall, and in the school-houses; the officers occupied private dwellings and the famous Hatch tavern, Main Street, built in 1801. The terrified inhabitants furnished eatables in abundance, and in the afternoon, all liquors were ordered destroyed, to prevent the British soldiers becoming intoxicated, a condition that happened, and was one reason why the town was so speedily evacuated. All the male inhabitants to the number of one hundred and ninety-one were placed under parole not to bear arms against Great Britain until exchanged. All arms and powder were surrounded at the toll-house, Kenduskeag bridge, and here Zodoc Davis was forced to deliver up the two brass cannon, on threats to burn the town. They burnt the vessels, Caravan
, Three Brothers
and others, fourteen in all, and carried away the Bangor Packet
, Oliver Speary
, and started to burn the unlaunched vessels, but as the flames threatened to destroy the village, the selectmen gave the enemy a bond in the sum of $30,000 conditioned to deliver the unlaunched vessels at Castine, November first, following.
Sunday afternoon, the British marched back to Hampden with twenty horses, cattle, and other plunder, and camped near Morris' hill battery, now the site of the Kenduskeag Canoe and Country Club. The cannon were thrown down the bank into the river.
The guard left behind were quartered in the old brick store, one of the landmarks of the village, erected by General John Crosby in 1817 where he traded for many years', the business continued by his son. Major Crosby and Eben Dudley until 1852. The famous Long Wharf was begun, by Benjamin Wheeler, the first settler who built a grist mill on the stream. General Crosby greatly enlarged and lengthened the wharf.
The British burnt the Decatur
, exacted a bond of $12,000 and destroyed some $40,000 worth of property. Many of the buildings were riddled with bullets. Tuesday they joined the Dragon
, but exacted of Frankfort forty oxen, one hundred sheep, and the surrender of all arms. They then departed to Castine. The Selectmen of Bangor appointed a committee of twelve foremost citizens to confer with them, whereupon, they drew up a petition setting forth their distress, praying to be relieved of the terms of the bond, and dispatched Amos Patten, and John Crosby of Hampden, to Halifax to lay it before General Sherbrooke and Admiral Griffith. They refused to relieve Hampden, but said the people of Bangor might either destroy the vessels, or deliver them, or sell them and distribute the money among the soldiers who captured them, or pay the bond. They returned home in much distress, but peace was declared December 24th, and the terms of the bond were never exacted.
The shameful retreat of the militia brought great discredit on the American arms, and on May 15th, 1815, Governor Strong ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate the conduct of the officers. Blake was commended. Whereupon, Colonel Grant and Major Chamberlain were tried by Court Martial at Bangor, January 8th, 1816, at which Major Chamberlain was acquitted, but Grant was cashiered and suspended from his command for two years.
Gardiner was incorporated in the year 1804. Named for Dr. Sylvester Gardiner, to whom most of the township was granted about I754 by the Plymouth Company. Robert H. Gardiner, a distinguished son of Maine, who is remembered for his public and
Christian spirit, came into possession of the place by inheritance in 1803. Then there were but about 600 inhabitants. Mr. Gardiner used his energies and wealth unsparingly and his influence tended to inspire the people to work. Mills arose, dams were built, machine shops constructed and the first church was a fine Gothic structure on a commanding eminence and was considered one of the most beautiful buildings in New England. Cobbosseecontee Falls give this place its peculiar value as a manufacturing center.
Courtesy of the Androscoggin Historical Society