British account of the battle of Craney Island
Dispatches, of which the following are copies, have been received at this office from Admiral the right Honorable Sir John Borlaise Warren, Bart. and K. B. Commander in chief of his Majesty ships and vessels on the American and West Indy station, addressed to John Wilson Corker, Esq.
San Domingo, Hampton Roads,
Chesapeake, June 24, 1813.
Sir – I request you will inform their lordships, that from the information received of the enemy’s fortifying Crany Island, and it being necessary to obtain possession of that place, to enable the light ships and vessels to proceed up the narrow channel towards Norfolk, to transport the troops over on that side for them to attack the new fort and lines in the rear of which, the Constellation frigate was anchored, I directed the troops under Sir Sidney Beckwith to be landed upon the continent with the nearest point to that place, and a reinforcement of seamen and marines from the ships; but upon approaching the island, from the extreme shoalness of the water on the sea side, and the difficulty of getting across from the land, as well as the island itself being fortified with a number of guns and men from the frigate and the militia, and flanked by 15 gunboats, I considered in consequence of the representation of the officer commanding the troops of the difficulty of their passing over from the land, that the preserving in the attempt would cost more men than the number with us would permit, as the other forts must have been stormed before the frigate, and dock yard could be destroyed; I therefore ordered their troops to re-embark.
I am happy to say, the loss in the above affair (returns of which are enclosed) has been considerable, and only two boats sunk.
I have to regret, that Capt. Hanchett, of his Majesty’s ship Diadem, who volunteered his services, and led the division of boats with great gallantry, was severely wounded by a ball in the thigh.
The officers and men behaved with much bravery, and if it had been possible to have got at the enemy, I am persuaded would have soon gained the place.
I have the honor to be, &C.
John Borlaise Warren.
J. W. Corker, Esq.
A general return of killed, wounded and missing in the affair near Crany Island, June 22, 1813 – total – 3 killed, 8 wounded, 52 missing.
Sidney Beckwith, Q. M. Gen.
Source: Nile’s weekly register Saturday, November 27, 1813. Page 216