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James found himself close to general Lewis's camp at the Forty-mile Creek. It being calm, the larger vessels could not get in, but the Bes resford and Sidney Smith schooners, and one or two gun-boats, succeeded in approaching within range of the American batteries. Four pieces of artillery were brought down to the beach ; and, in less than half an hour, a temporary furnace for heating shot was in operation.* The fire of the British vessels was then returned, the Americans say,
“ with full effect.” They admit, however, that at noon'on the day of sir James's appearance, the troops broke cantonments, and scampered off as fast as they eould, baving previously sent away a part of their camp-equipage and baggage in batteaux to Fort-George; but this hasty removal, say the historians, was owing to orders just received from general Dearborn. The batteaux put off. Twelve of them, with their contents, were captured by the Beresford, and the remaining seven were driven on shore and abandoned by their
In compliance with the directions of major. general Vincent, sir James Yeo landed the detachment of the 8th, under major Evans, at the Forty-mile Creek, that it might join lieutenantcolonel Bisshopp, with the flank company of the 49th, and one battalion company of the 41st, which had arrived there from the heights. At about seven o'clock on the evening of the 8th, this advanced corps, numbering about 450 rank and file, entered the second deserted American camp, where the men found, generously spared to them out of the conflagration of stores, 500 standing tents, 140 barrels of flour, 100 stands of arms, besides a variety of other useful and necessary articles; also about 70 prisoners. Nothing of this appears in the American accounts. The British advance, being now so well provided, encamped upon the spot, to await the arrival of the main body.
* Sketches of the War, p. 138.
Whether it was through the imbecility of the officers, or the fears of the men, the American troops, under general Lewis, fled in the utmost haste; having sustained a loss in killed, wounded, and missing, including desertions, (if we may trust the American newspapers,) of nearly 1000 men. So apprehensive, indeed, were they of being cut off, that, instead of proceeding to FortGeorge by the direct route, they marched round by Queenstown. The accounts they brought to general Dearborn, of the number and prowess of the British, led to preparations for defending that post, and to an immediate concentration of the detachments froni Chippeway and Fort-Erie; nor was Fort-George, with the strongly entrenched camp in its neighbourhood, although garrisoned by upwards of 5000 Americans, deemed a situation of perfect security: therefore, the bulk of the remaining baggage was sent across the river to Fort-Niagara. Thus, was the whole interior of the Upper Canada peninsula rescued from the ravages of an invading army, by a mere handful of British troops, ordered from their own camp at the bold suggestion, and led into the midst of the enemy's, by the judg. ment and intrepidity, of lieutenant-colone! Harvey
Major-general Vincent, having been reinforced by the 104th regiment, had placed the advanced corps of his little army under the command of lieutenant-colonel Bisshopp; who, about the 22d of June, pushed forward detachments, to occupy the cross-roads at the Ten-mile Creek, and at the Beaver Dam. One of these detach, ments, consisting of a subaltern and 30 rank and file, of the 104th, occupied a stone-house near to the dam. To reconnoitre, and, if possible, to capture this force, lieutenant-colonel Berstler, with a detachment of infantry, cavalry, artillery, militia and volunteers, numbering 673 officers and men, was sent from Fort-George.
At eight o'clcock on the morning of the 24th, colonel Bærstler and his party unexpectedly encountered, in the woods, a body of about 200 Indians lęd by captain Kerr. A skirmish ensued, which lasted upwards of two hours, when the American troops, dreading being led into an ambush, endeavoured to gain the wood leading towards Lundy's Lane; but were unexpectedly encountered by lieutenant-colonel Thomas Clark, at the head of 15 militia-men, accidentally passing in that direction. These immediately opened a fire, from the wood, upon colonel Borstler's army; and compelled it to halt upon the open space of ground, across which it bad been retreating Mr. Thomson, out of kindness to colonel Berstler, has denominated these 16 militia, “one company of the 104th regiment, and about 200 militia, in all 340 men;" and declares, that even this force was continually augmenting, and became, at last, greatly superior. The colonel must have thought so too; for he sent to Fort-George, a distance of 16 miles, for an immediate reinforcement.
During the retreat from the Indians, lieutenant Fitzgibbon of the 49th, having with him a small detachment, consisting of a subaltern and 46 rank and file, closed upon, and reconnoitred the American troops. He stationed his men on an eminence to the right of their position; and, receiving information of the expected reinforcement from Fort-George, resolved upon the bold measure of immediately summoning colonel Bærstler to surrender. This, lieutenant Fitzgibbon immediately did, in the name of lieutenant-colonel De Haren. Mr. Thomson has exerted himself to save colonel Bærstler's character on this occasion, by stating, that “ lieutenant Fitzgibbon informed him, on the honor of a British soldier, that the regular force, commanded by lieutenant-colonel Bisshopp, was double that of the American, and that the Indians were at least 700 in nurnber. Colonel Bærstler,” proceeds this editor, “ trusting to the veracity of the officer, fearing the impracticability of escaping, and being unwilling to abandon his wounded, agreed to terms of capitulation.”
Just as these were drawing up, arrived major De Haren, who had been sent for by lieutenant Fitzgibbon ; and who brought with him about 220.men, consisting of the light troops attached to the advanced detachment. The major put the finishing stroke to this admirable ruse de guerre, by affixing his name to the document surrendering lieutenant-colonel Berstler, along with one major, six captains, 13 heutenants, one cornet, one surgeon, 25 serjeants, two drummers, and 462 rank and file, as prisoners of war; besides 30 militia, intended to have been released on parole: making a total of 542 men. At the same time were also surrendered, one 12 and one 6-pounder, two cars, and the colours of the 14th United States' regiment. f. The amount of the American wounded in the affair with the Indians nó where appears; but, referring to the number of men sent on the expedition, either the loss
* Sketches of the War, p. 151..' + App. No. 38.