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Renewal of the American north-western army
Alliance in this quarter between the Americans and Indians—Advantages reaped by the enemy from sir George Prevost's armistice-Destruction of Indian towns-Scalping anecdote-Character of the Kentuckians-Skirmish at Frenchtown. Colonel Proctor's arrival from Detroit-Battle of the river Raisin-Surrender of general Winchester and the left wing of the American army -Gross mis-statements of the Americans corrected-Return of colonel Proctor to Sandwich -Augmentation of the American right wing, under general Harrison-His entrenchment at Fort-Meigs—Arrival of colonel Proctor from Amherstburg-Colonel Dudley's attack upon the British batteries-Defeat and capture of the Americans-Colonel Proctor's reduced forceHis return to Sandwich.
We must now transport the reader from the confines of the St. Lawrence to the strait connecting Lakes Erie and Huron, the scene of general Hull's early discomfiture. No sooner had intelligence of that event reached Washington, than the renewal of the north-western army,
and the recovery of the surrendered territory, became one of the first objects of the American government. A report, industriously spread, that the inhabitants of Michigan “ governed by an authority too rigorous to be compatible with those notions of liberty inspired by the genius of their own constitution, and were awaiting the expected succour from their friends, with the deepest anxiety,"* hastened the collection of a new army, which soon outnumbered the old. A brigade of Ohio volunteers, a second of Virginians, and a third of Kentuckians, also 2000 Pennsylvanian volunteers, and the 17th United States' regiment, were, by the early part of September, in full march from different points towards the Miami rapids, the place which had been assigned as the general rendezvous.
This army was afterwards divided into two wings; and the command of one given to majorgeneral Harrison ; of the other tò major-general Winchester. By way of fleshing the troops, they were sent against the numerous tribes of Indians scattered over the uncultivated parts of the north-western country. The demi-barbarous Kentuckians, in particular, pillaged the provision grounds, and destroyed the towns and their inhabitants, with relentless fury. Notwithstanding the apparent squeamishness
*Sketches of the War, p. 54.
of the United States' government, about accepting the aid of the suvages, we are told of “are rangements having been made between general Harrison and the executive government, which authorized him to employ thein ;?* and accordingly, the services of the renowned chief Logan, and of 700 warriors, were accepted, but merely in consequence, it is carefully added, " of their desire of being taken into the service.”—This happened in the early part of September, 1812; yet Mr. Madison's speech to congress, dated on the 4th of the succeeding November, and in which he notices the accumulating force under brigadier-general Harrison in the north-west, contains the following charge against the British :-"A distinguishing feature in the operations which preceded and followed this adverse event,” (general Hull's surrender,)
" is the use made by the enemy of the merciless savages under their influence. Whilst the benevolent policy of the United States invariably recommended peace, and promoted civilization, t among that wretched portion of the human race, and was making exertions to dissuade them from taking either side in the war, the enemy has not scrupled to call to his aid their ruthless ferocity, armed with the horrors of those instruments of carnage and torture, which are known to spare neither age nor sex.”
i Sketches of the War, p. 58. + Sec
Immediately after the capture of Detroit and the Michigan territory, colonel Proctor, pursuant to directions he had received from majorgeneral Brock, prepared to send captain Muir, with a detachment of troops and Indians, to reduce Fort-Wayne, on the Ohio frontier; and which was then garrisoned by not more than 70 men. But the colonel received from general Brock, by the orders of sir George Prevost, the notification of the fatal ármistice concluded with general Dearborn. The former communicated, at the same time, sir George's wish, that, although the arınistice did not extend to general Hull's late command, it should be acted upon by colonel Proctor; who was also instructed to refrain from every
hostile'act, and to restrain the Indians by every means in his power. This apparent want of vigor on our part sent many of the Indians, highly dissatisfied, to their homes; and enabled the Americans to strengthen the whole of their north-western frontier, till then completely exposed ; as well as to forward to their different posts ample supplies of stores and provisions.
After relieving Fort-Wayne from the hostile attacks of some Indians led by the Prophet, (Tecumseh's brother,) or, as it is falsely said, • of the allied British and Indians,” majorgeneral Harrison determined to make the Indians feel those effects of the war, which their repeated
cruelties had provoked ; and to convince them that the American troops were not so contemptible and degraded, as the Indians might conclude them to be, from the surrender of the late commander-in-chief on the same station."* The major-general, therefore, divided his force into scouting parties; and despatched them, under active and zealous officers, to massacre, burn, and destroy, the Indians and their towns, Through a sickening detail of several pages of · Mr. Thomson's book, the destruction of numerous towns is pompously displayed, but the editor possessed too patriotic a spirit to attempt to describe the slaughter committed by his enlightened countrymen among those oppressed tenants of the woods," the wretched people," whose "civilization” the United States' government was so anxious to “promote.”
The spirit of party is often a valuable friend to the cause of truth. While the democrats labored at glossing over, the federalists employed equal industry in rummaging every dusty .corner for materials that might expose, the odious measures of the government. That they sometimes succeeded, appears by the following extract, taken from an old newspaper, published at Pittsburg, in the United States :
* Sketches of the War, p. 57.