Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"The Burning of Dover Mills :
An American Viewpoint"
Doris Ann Lemon, June 1991, Vol.3 No.2,
Alexander McMullen, a member of the American Dragoon Force that brought
about the Burning of Dover, under orders by Captain Campbell, wrote this
account to his mother following the May 14, 1814 destruction:
|" The situation of this
village was pleasant, the houses generally frame near a beautiful
creek with a fine, large fulling-mill, grist mill and saw mill.
The inhabitants (male) had principally left town at our approach.
We were placed in line of battle, the artillery in the centre, the
regulars on the right, a reserve in the rear, and a company, I
suppose of observation, some distance off. An order from
Campbell to set fire to the houses was now executed by men detailed
from all the companies. A scene of destruction and plunder now
ensued which beggars all description. In a short time the
houses, mills and barns were all consumed and a beautiful village,
which the sun shone on in splendour that morning, was, before two
o'clock a heap of ruins. The women and children had remained
in the village and were permitted to carry out the valuable part of
their moveable property. A party of sailors appointed to man
the artillery killed the hogs in the streets, and severing them in
the middle, carried off the hind parts while the shoulders and head
were left in the street. The sun was setting as the troops
re-embarked and shortly after dark we set sail. The fleet
sailed for Erie, where we arrived next evening at dark, generally
disgusted with the conduct of Campbell. "
ruthless tactics on an unprotected village were deplore by his superiors.
He faced a very biased Court of Equity. Their findings, while
ambiguous, gave Campbell the right to return to his post, having suffered
a mild reprimand. he was fatally wounded later at the Battle of
Chippawa. He left behind a name forever tarnished by the ruthless
destruction of a defenseless village.