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gang of naval artificers; all of whom, together with the militia stationed at the post, amounted to no more than 600 men. There were, also, between 40 and 50 Indians, led by major Givens.
At seven o'clock on the morning of the 27th of April, the American squadron, with the troops on board, arrived, and took a good position about two miles and a half to the westward of the town. At eight o'clock the de barkation commenced; and the advance, consisting of major Forsythe and about 260 riflemen, pushed for the shore. Here they were unexpectedly assailed by major Givens and his Indians; who, after skirmishing for a short time, retired, and were joined by 60 of the Glengarry fencibles. This small force Mr. Thomson, taking general Dearborn for his authority, calls “ the principal part of the British and Indians, under the immediate command of general Sheaffe.”* In the mean time, general Pike had effected a landing, with, says the American official account,
but not Mr. Thomson, “ 7 or 800 men." The whole of the American troops, at this time on shore, amounted, by their own accounts, to upwards of 1000. . These were met by 210 men of the 8th and Newfoundland regiments, and about 220 militia-men; who made a formidable charge upon the American column, and partially compelled it to retire. But,” continues Mr. Thomson, “ the officers instantly rallied the troops, who returned to the ground, and” (gallant soldiers !) “ impetuously charged upon, and routed the .grenadiers."'* The fact is, the remaining 1000 Americans had now landed, and were rapidly advancing to support their faltering companions. Then, and not till then, did the British regulars and militia retire, under cover of their insignificant batteries. . The latter had, in the meanwhile, been engaging the whole of commodore Chauncey's schooners; which, from their light draught of water, had approached within gunshot.
* Sketches of the War, p. 122. + App. No. 19.
The commodore's letter states, that the debarkation commenced at eight, and finished at 10 o'clock; therefore, the whole 2000 American troops, with general Pike at their head, accompanied by the artillery, were on shore at that hour. Yet this contest, with 650 British regulars, militia, and Indians, and in which the grenadier-company of the 8th suffered itself to be almost cut to pieces, did not terminate till 2 o'clock in the afternoon: a sufficient proof that the most determined bravery had been exerted, to defend the town of York against the combined attack of the American fleet and army. After the British had been repulsed, according
* Sketches of the War, p. 122.
to Mr. O'Connor, “ by a number far inferior to theirs,"* general Pike and his men, formed in platoons, marched towards the redoubts; at which the few cannon had been previously spiked. On arriving near the second redoubt, general Pike halted, to await the return of a strong corps of observation, under lieutenant Riddle, which had been sent forward to ascertain the strength of the garrison. While the: general was sitting upon an old stump, examining,
, or, to use a homely but expressive phrase, pumping, a wounded British serjeant who had. been taken in the woods, the stone powdermagazine, situate outside the barrack-yard, and to which a train had been laid, blew up, with al tremendous explosion, and killed or wounded 260 of the invading troops, along with their general.
The American historians, improving upon the statemenis in their own official letters, accuse general Sheaffe of treucherously ordering the train to be laid, and of artfully placing several cart-loads of stone to increase the effect. Mr. Thompson adds:"Had not general Pike halted the troops at the enemy's second battery, the British plan would have attained its consummation, and the destruction of the whole column would have been the natural consequence.”+ He who reflects that this was an invading army, * Hist. of the War, p. 83. + Sketches of the War, p. 126.
will be inclined to admit, that, even had the whole column been destroyed, the Americans would have met their deserts; or, if disposed to commiserate the poor soldiers, to wish that their places had been filled by the American president, and the 98 members of the legislature who voted for the war.
The chief part of the British troops had been withdrawn to the town, which was about three quarters of a mile from the scene of explosion. After ordering the destruction of the ammunition, naval stores, and the new ship that was building, general Sheaffe left directions with a lieutenant-colonel and major of militia, who were residents in the town, to treat with the American commander, for terms; and then, with the regulars and such of the militia as were not residents, retreated across the river, Don, in the direction of Kingston.
According to the last article of the capitulation, the whole number of prisoners delivered up amounted to 293 ; yet one American editor has made the number of prisoners “ 750,” and his two contemporaries « 920;" and this, although the whole amount to which general Dearborn could swell the British fórce opposed to him, was “ 700 regulars and militia, and 100 Indians."! Our loss in killed and wounded is stated by the Americans at 5:250;” no doubt an exaggeration; as the loss of the regulars,
according to the official returns, scarcely exceeds half that amount; and 40 of these were killed or wounded by the accidental explosion of a wooden powder-magazine, the head of which had been carelessly left open. Mr. Thompson says, the British wounded were left in the houses, and “ attended to by the American army and navy surgeons;"* but this is extremely doubt, ful, because the fifth article of the capitulation expressly provides, “ that such surgeons as may be procured to attend the wounded of the British regulars and Canadian militia, shall not be considered as prisoners of war.t
The Americans state their own loss at 14 killed, and 32 wounded in battle, and 38 killed, and 222 wounded by the explosion; making a total loss, on shore, of 52 killed, and 254 wounded, Among those who fell by the explosion were general Pike, seven captains, seven subalterns, two aides-de-camp, and one volunteer. The squadron lost three killed, and 11 wounded ; which makes the aggregate American loss, at the capture of York, amount to 334 men.
General Pike's behaviour, previous to his death, is thus recorded by Mr. Thomson ;-"As they conveyed him to the water's edge, a sudden exclamation was heard from the troops, which informed him of the American, having supplanted the British, standard in the garrison. He ex
* Sketches of the War, p. 43. + App. No, 18.