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BUFFALO RAIZED!

British Troops Burn Buffalo to the Ground!

Daniel Brayman gives us his first hand account as he related it to his grandson, George D. Emerson, in 1864. It, in part, reads:

"On the morning of the 3oth of December, 1813 the British crossed over, and took up position near the battery. [After referring to the futile night fighting by Americans, the narrative continues]. This policy continued until the number of men were reduced to about 6oo. These fought for a while until orders were received from Gen. Hall to retreat, or as the expression was, for each man to take care of himself. They retreated to the woods in their rear, but found them occupied by the Indians. A fierce fight ensued and many were killed and scalped. It was about 10 o'clock p. m., when the figlgt ended. The enemy did not come up that evening.

"At 8 o'clock I was at the quartermaster's department, but learning that 2,7oo rations had been drawn that day, returned home feeling perfectly safe. I saw that day thirteen bodies of the killed lying at Reese's blacksmith shop. It was a bitter cold day, and the bodies were frozen stiff just as the men had died. They were in all conceivable postures.

Legs and arms twisted round in all shapes; the gaping wounds, the man-led heads torn by the ruthless scalping- knife, all formed a sight horrible to behold.

Street map of the Village of Buffalo Before it was Burnt in 1813

Street map of the Village of Buffalo Before it was Burnt in 1813

HIGH RESOLUTION MAP IMAGE CLICK HERE 762K

"That evening, the 3oth, a man came along and reported that the British and Indians were coming. I did not credit the story, and went to bed. The people of Black Rock and Buffalo seemed to think differently, for we could hear all night long the tramp of the fugitives. Wagons and horses were not plenty then and most of the panic-struck ones fled on foot. Before daybreak next morning, Major Miller came to our house, and rousing us up, told us that we must leave-that the British were coming to burn the town, and that all the militia had run away. I immediately harnessed up my team and made preparations to leave. Mrs. Brayman put her bake-kettle with bread in it, some pork and other things, into the wagon. The town was now about deserted, and seeing it was useless to remain we started. We overtook the fugitives this side of Eleven-mile Creek, which we reached a little after sunrise.

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3oth of December, 1813 Buffalonians defend their small settlement from the British who were marching on the town in retaliation for an earlier burning of a Canadian settlement. _-image source unknown

We went to Henshaw's tavern, but found it deserted, the occupants having left in such haste as even to leave the breakfast dishes on the table. Mrs. Brayman cooked our breakfast here, and in a little while we started on. We could then see the smoke issuing from burning Buffalo. We continued on about three miles, finding empty houses plenty-the panic having been as great if not greater than at Buffalo. We went into one house where the folks had thrown everything into the garden. Butter, lard, pork, feathers from the beds. etc., lay around in sweet confusion. We tried to straighten out matters, but the owners not returning until spring, we remained in the house during the winter.

"In March, l8I4, we returned to Buffalo. Only one small house, Mrs. St. john's, had been spared the general destruction. Quite a number had come back before we did and had improvised houses in every manner. Some had built little shanties, while others had merely roofed their cellars."

Excerpted from: Municpality of Buffalo, A History. Vol. 1. Henry Hill, Editor. 1923. Lewis Historical Publishing, New York

 

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