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Lydia Bacon
Diary notes from 1812

July 3rd

…From this time till our capture one continued din of war caused us anxious days and sleepless night, no Sabbaths, no sanctuary, privileges blest us with their return, but all days were alike merged in a continual preparation, for Brother to shed his Brother blood for here had been such a friendly intercourse kept up and been cemented by marrying with each other, that it seemed like families taking up arms against their fellows, do not be uneasy on our account. I trust we shall be protected, our cause is good and let us hope that the same kind of Providence who fought our Battles in the revolution will still succor and protect this highly favour’d people.

August 5th

… A detachment of Troops has gone to Brownstown and my husband among them we have heard, that an engagement has commenced between the English and Americans, the thought is almost too much to bear, that it is possible my beloved Josiah may be among the slain. We have just heard that our troops were victorious, no officers killed and only one wounded, Col Miller commanded, my dear Josiah had returned in safety.

August 15th

A summons has been sent today, from General B. (Brock) Commander of the English forces in Canada, to General H. (Hull), to surrender Detroit with the Army to him. This General has not seen fit to comply with, and every preparation is making for a Bombardment, the British soldiers are very busy pulling down the large house, which conceals their Battery. If I did not feel half frightened out of my wits, I could laugh, to see what quick work they make of it. Never did a building come down quicker. All women and children are to go into the fort as the only secure place against…the bombs and 24 pound shot of the English, the officers who came with the summons have returned and as soon as they arrive on the opposite shore the firing will commence.

August 16th

Soon as auroras beautiful rays adorned the east the Cannon began to roar apparently with tenfold fury. To do execution the enemy’s shot began to enter the fort & as some ladies were making cylinders (bags to hold powder) and scraping lint in case it should be wanted. A 24 pound shot entered the next door to the one they were in and cut two officers who were standing in the entry directly into their bowels gushing out. The same ball passed through the wall into a room where a number of people were and took the legs of one man off and the flesh of the thigh of another. The person who had his legs shot off died in a short time, thus one of these angry messengers destroyed the lives of three and wounded a fourth in a moment of time…

…The enemy had got the range of the fort so completely that it was considered dangerous for the women and children to stay any longer in the quarters and we all hurried to a root house (on the opposite side of the fort) which was bomb proof. Never shall I forget my sensation as I crossed the parade ground to gain the place of safety. You must recollect my feelings had been under constant excitement for many weeks and now were wrought up to a high pitch Weep I could not, complain I would not, and I felt as if my nerves would burst and my hair felt as if it were erect upon my head, which was not covered and my eyes raised upwards to catch a glimpse of the bombs shells and balls that were flying in all directions…

…On gaining the root house I found it nearly full of women and children…what a scene was here presented, such lamentation and weeping I have never heard before and I sincerely hope I never shall again. Among all this number but three appeared composed and they felt more than can be described. The wife of one of the officers who had been shot was in an agony of grief as you may well suppose and amidst her lamentations asking what she had done to deserve this sore trouble. O thought what have any of us done do deserve any thing else. One child too young to realized danger, was screaming most violently for its attendant to walk with her on the Parapet. On looking out of the door of the root house opposite I saw a ball take a chimney down and was told the same ball killed some on the Parapet on the other side of the house who was stationed there on duty…
About this time the enemy landed on our side under cover of their armed vessels of which they had a sufficiency to demolish. Detroit if they chose and we had not a boat in order to carry a single gun… A white flag was accordingly displayed upon the Parapet. The common girl signaled for a cessation of hostilities and the cannon ceased to roar, all was still. Immediately the enemy sent to ascertain for what purpose the white flag was exhibited and learnt the determination of the General to surrender.


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