THE 41ST REGIMENT OF FOOT AT THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE,

SEPTEMBER 10, 1813

AN ANALYSIS OF CASUALTY RATES

by James Yaworsky

 

 

[Extract from] A List of Killed and Wounded in His Majestys Ships and Vessels under mentioned in Action with an American Squadron on Lake Erie Upper Canada 10th. Septr. 1813.

H.M.S. DETROIT

           KILLED - 0

          WOUNDED - 8

David Green          Private - slightly  

James Bolman      Private - severely

William Liversley Private - severely

William Young      Private - slightly

William Hart         Private - severely

Miles Wermesley   Private - slightly

Patrick Boyle          Private - slightly

Robert Dunamore   Private - slightly

H.M.S. QUEEN CHARLOTTE

         KILLED  7

John Linard              Private

Samuel Freath          Private

Cornelius Coackley Private

James Barter           Private

Thomas Watkins      Private

John Ratcliff             Private

William Boxman       Private   

          WOUNDED -  8

John Breach           Private -  dangerously

William Smith       Private -  dangerously

George Wearham    Private - dangerously

John Bucket            Private - severely

John Locket           Private - severely

Edward White        Private -  dangerously

Rol. Selway           Private - dangerously

George Staff         Private -  severely  

H.M.S.  LADY PREVOST

         KILLED - 0

        WOUNDED - 5

James Taylor         Private -  severely

William Jackson   Private -   severely

William Webber    Private -  slightly

John Norris (2)     Private -  slightly

____ Davis            Private -  slightly

H.M.S. GENERAL HUNTER

         KILLED - 0

        WOUNDED - 1

John Blacker        Private - severely

Total Casualties in the Squadron:

                  killed    wounded

officers            3            9

men                38         85

total               41          94

(signed) R.H. Barclay

         Commander & late Senr.Officer

NOTES:

It appears that the transcription by Knopf contains several typographical errors as well as omissions and/or errors in reading the original documents. I have not seen the original myself.

I have included only information pertinent to the 41st.

Total casualties for the 41st amounted to 7 privates killed, 22 wounded.

Total casualties for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment were: killed: 16 - 1 Lieutenant, 1 sergeant, 14 privates; wounded: 25 - 3 sergeants, 2 corporals, 20 privates.

A Return of British prisoners of War at Chillicothe Ohio ending on 31 March 1814  lists the following numbers taken captive September 10 1813:

Royal Navy: 104

41st Regiment: 141

Royal Newfoundland Regiment: 65

Indians: 65 (!)

Officers of the fleet: 17            

Presumably these figures include the wounded.

The official Morning State Report, 41st Regiment, 5 October 1813, lists "prisoners on board fleet, 10 September, 1813" as:

1 lieutenant

3 sergeants

5 corporals

143 privates    (from Lomax's History of the 41st Regiment, P. 88.)

This adds up to 152 members of the Regiment. Adding up the dead (7); plus "officer of the fleet"(presumably the Lieutenant) (1); plus the "rank and file" (141); produces a total of 149. The British and American tallies therefore appear to be off by 3 for the 41st. Or 4 if the Lieutenant shouldn't be included.  Perhaps 3 or 4 of the wounded died between Barclay's report, and the arrival of the prisoners at Chillicothe. This would appear to be the most likely conclusion, given that Regimental records are presumably quite accurate for the number of members detached for duty with the fleet.

But note the Return of Prisoners of War, landed at Camp Portage on the 15th & 16th September, 1813, reproduced below, lists 119 members of the 41st.  Adding on the 22 wounded produces 141 names which tallies with the Chillicothe return.

The other possibilities appear to be:

1) 3 or 4 members of the Regiment were able to escape capture in some way (unlikely);

2) 3 or 4 members of the Regiment in fact never boarded the ships (not as likely as wounded dying);

3) 3 or 4 members were killed in the action, their bodies thrown overboard, then missed in Barclay's report (the most unlikely).

Note that the total of 1 commissioned officer (and only a lieutenant), 3 sergeants, and 5 corporals seems a niggardly provision to supervise 143 privates who were evidently spread over at least the listed 3 of the 5 ships of the fleet.

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment had 16 killed plus 65 prisoner (of whom 25 were wounded) for a total of 81 members present at the battle. Half the members present were casualties -slightly over 50%!  The 41st had 29 casualties out of 152 which translates in to roughly a 20% casualty rate.  Were the Royal Newfoundland soldiers, having a proportion of "sailors" in their ranks, taking on more hazardous duties i.e. stationed in fighting tops, acting as sailors clearing damaged rigging, etc.?  Or was this mere chance?

Figures for the "Royal Navy" apparently include everyone else. Adding the "officers of the fleet" to this total produces 104 + 17; further adding killed of 18 produces a grand total of 139, of whom 18 + 47 were casualties for a total of 65 - once again, running close to the 50% level.

The combined "Royal Navy" and "Royal Newfoundland" casualty rates would suggest that the 41st were acting purely as "marines" - i.e. on ships, but still primarily footsoldiers  - and were perhaps able to shelter somewhat from the cannon fire, or at least were not stationed in as exposed positions as those who had to work the ships were.          


[Extract from] RETURN OF PRISONERS OF WAR, LANDED AT CAMP PORTAGE ON THE 15TH & 16TH SEPTEMBER 1813.

NO.   NAME                 RANK

41st REGIMENT

1    Arthur O'Kieffe       Lieutenant

2    Richard Forrestal     Sergeant

3    William Lane               "

4    Charles Jones              "

5    George Brooks         Corporal

6    John Rashill                  "

7    William Simms             "

8    Joseph        ?               "

9    William Matthews        "

10   Patrick Power         Private [as are all that follow]

11   Noah Clarke           

12   George Trowbridge[Troubridge]

13   Daniel Dolley[Dolby?]

14   Robert Dollimore

15   Robert Kilmister

16   Patrick Sheehan

17   Joseph Newman

18   Patrick Boyle

19   Charles Jeskins[Perkins?]

20   Peter Tracy

21   William Jones

22   John  ?

23   John Hood

24   William ?

25   John Norris

26   Samuel  ?

27   Richard G ?

28   Samuel Mumford

29   William  ?

30   John Blacker

32   John ?

33   Daniel Price

34   Zachariah Windale

35   William Baxter

36   Robert Tyson

37   William Hooke

38   James Morgan

39   Michael Myers

40   William Mathew

41   John McGrath

42   William Williamson

43   John Watts (?)

44   Jacob Broadway

45   William Sheldon

46   Thomas Jones

47   Thomas Glass

48   Robert Gilchrist

49   James Nowland

50   James Clarke

51   Daniel Enwright

52   John Shields

53   John Bellenger

54   Thomas Steffes

55   Michael Toole

56   Thomas Watson

57   Nathaniel Beasley

58   Charles Cooper

59   James Grist

60   William Pike

61   William Hawley

62   Robert Mullens

63   John Ward (?)

64   Mathew Birtwistle

65   Robert Giles

66   Andrew Connill

67   Thomas Tolboy

68   Benjamin Whitehouse

69   John Hodge

70   Isaac Goddard

71   William Teadon(?)

72   Adam Wild

73   Peter Carrington

74   Henry Hull

75   Robert Smith

76   William Plummer

77   Michael O'Bryan

78   John O'Bryan

79   John White

80   Michael Broyle

81   John Whiteley

82   Francis Beagon

83   Thomas Cooling

84   Miles Wormsley

85   John Farrell

86   Jacob Hall

87   George Taylor

88   James Mullett

89   Thomas Forth

90   John Walter

91   John Rowe

92   Daniel Newport

93   John Stone

94   A(?) Davies

95   James Kemp

96   George Meach

97   Richard Finnimou(?)

98   James Hopkins

99   Benjamin Garlick

100  John Faulkner

101  James Connack (Cormack?)

102  Thomas Ashby

103  John Sumner(?)

104  William Rawlings

105  John Chapman

106  John Browne(?)

107  John Norris

108  John McCreary

109  John Collins

110  Joseph Pimlett(?)

111  Robert Nelson

112  William Thomas

113  Thomas Clancy(Clarey?)

114  Timothy Sullivan

115  George Stagg 

116  Hugh  (?)

117  William Wesley(?)

118  John Prichard

119  William Levesby

from photostat of original in William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Note the extent to which this list tallies with the Morning State quoted in Lomax: 1 officer, 3 sergeants, 5 corporals,  but only  29(killed & wounded) + 110(on this list) = 139 privates, instead of 142 as on the Morning State.

PRINCIPAL SOURCE:

Document Transcriptions of the War of 1812 in the Northwest Vol. IV, Anecdotes of the Lake Erie Area, War of 1812

Transcribed from Original Sources by Richard C. Knopf
published by The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1957
(in collection Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, Put-In-Bay, Ohio 43456

Version 1 - 06/2003

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