Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Sinclair’s Defeat
NOVEMBER the fourth, in the year of ninety-one,
We had a sore engagement near to Fort Jefferson:
Sinclair was our commander, which may remember’d be,
For there we left nine hundred men, in the Western Territory.
At Bunker’s hill and Quebec, where many a hero fell,        5
Likewise at Long Island, ’tis I the truth can tell:
But such a dreadful carnage never did I see,
As happen’d on the plains near the river St. Marie.
Our militia were attack’d just as the day did break,
And soon were overpower’d, and forced to retreat.        10
They killed Major Ouldham, Levin and Briggs likewise,
While horrid yells of savages resounded through the skies.
Major Butler was wounded the very second fire;
His manly bosom swell’d with rage when forced to retire.
Like one distracted he appear’d, when thus exclaimed he,        15
“Ye hounds of hell shall all be slain, but what revenged I’ll be.”
We had not long been broke when General Butler fell;
He cries, “My boys, I’m wounded; pray take me off the field—
My God!” says he, “What shall we do?—We’re wounded every man!
Go, charge! you valiant heroes, and beat them if you can.”        20
He lean’d his back against a tree, and there resign’d his breath,
And, like a valiant soldier, sank in the arms of death;
When blessed angels did await his spirit to convey,
And unto the celestial fields he quickly bent his way.
We charged again, we took our ground, which did our hearts elate:        25
There we did not tarry long; they soon made us retreat;
They killed Major Ferguson, which caused his men to cry—
“Stand to your guns,” says valiant Ford: “we’ll fight until we die.”
Our cannon-balls exhausted, our artillery-men all slain,
Our musketry-men and riflemen their fire did sustain;        30
Three hours more we fought like men, and then were forced to yield,
While three hundred bloody warriors lay stretch’d upon the field.
Says Colonel Gibson to his men, “My boys, be not dismay’d;
I’m sure that true Virginians were never yet afraid;
Ten thousand deaths I’d rather die than they should gain the field—”        35
With that he got a fatal shot, which caused him to yield.
Says Major Clark, “My heroes, I can no longer stand:
We will strive to form in order, and retreat the best we can.”
The word retreat, being pass’d all round, they raised a hue and cry,
And helter-skelter, through the woods, we like lost sheep did fly.        40
We left the wounded on the field, O, heavens, what a shock!
Some of their thighs were shatter’d, some of their limbs were broke;
But scalping-knives and tomahawks soon eased them of their breath,
And fiery flames of torment soon tortured them to death.
Now to mention our brave officer, ’tis what I wish to do;        45
No son of Mars e’er fought more brave, or show’d more courage true;
To Captain Bradford I belong’d, in his artillery,
Who fell that day, amongst the slain: what a gallant man was he!

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