Page images
PDF
EPUB

BOOK XIII the left and centre. After repeated attacks, the efforts to carry the hill were continued until about

troops on the left were partially forced back, and midnight, when he had suffered so severely from Chap. VII. the enemy gained a momentary possession of the the superior steadiness and discipline of the British

road. This gave him, however, no material ad troops, that be gave up the contest, and retreated - 1814.

vantage, as the troops which had been forced with great precipitation to his camp beyond the
back formed in rear of the 89th regiment, front- Chippawa. "On the following day he abandoned
ing the road, and securing the flank. During his camp, threw the greatest part of his bag-
this short interval, Major-general Riall having gage, camp-equipage, and provisions into the
received a severe wound, was intercepted as Rapids ; and having set fire to Streets Mills, and
he was passing to the rear, by a party of the destroyed the bridge at Chippawa, continued his
enemy's cavalry, and made prisoner. In the retreat in great disorder towards Fort Erie. The
centre, the repeated and determined attacks of light-troops, cavalry, and Indians, were imme-
the enemy were met by the 89th regiment, the diately detached in pursuit.
detachments of the royals and king's, and the General Drummond estimated the loss of the
light-company 41st regiment, with the most Americans at vo less than 1,500, including several
perfect steadiness and intrepid gallantry, and hundred prisoners; their whole force, rated at
the enemy was constantly repulsed with very 5,000, having been engaged. The British force,
heavy loss.

“ Io so determined a manner,” says during the first three hours of the action, did not General Drummond, “ were these attacks di- exceed 1,600 men, and the additional troops, rected against our guns, that our artillerymen under Colonel Scott, did not augment it beyond were bayoneted by the enemy in the act of load. 2,800 of all descriptions. Of these, the loss ing, and the muzzles of the enemy's guns were

amounted in killed, wounded, and missing, to advanced within a few yards of our's. The dark. 878. In this manner was defeated another atness of the night, during this extraordinary con tempt of the Americans to penetrate into Canada, Alict, occasioned several uncommon incidents : respecting which it cannot escape observation, our troops having for a moment been pushed that although British valour and discipline were back, some of our guns remained for a few mi- finally triumphant, the improvement of the Amenutes in the enemy's hands; they were, however, rican troops in these qualities was eminently conpot only quickly recovered, but the two pieces, a spicuous. That this defeat, and the arrival of six-pounder, and a five-and-half-inch howitzer, succours from Europe, were timely events, may be wbich the enemy brought up, were captured by inferred from the trial of a number of inhabitants us, together with several tumbrils ; and in lim of Upper Canada for high-treason, in the month of bering up our guns at one period, one of the May, of whom fifteen were convicted; out of which enemy's six-pounders was put, by mistake, upon number, eight were executed at Burlington, in a limber of our's, and one of our six-pounders the district of Niagara, on the 12th of July. limbered on one of his; by which means the An expedition was sent in the beginning of pieces were exchanged; and thus, though we July, from Halifax, to Passamaquoddy-bay, near captured two of his guns, yet, as be obtained one the mouth of the bay of Fundy. On the 5th, a of our's, we have gained only one gun.”

party, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel About nine o'clock (the action having com- Pilkington, arriving at the place of rendezvous menced at six) there was a short intermission of on the 7th, found there Captain Sir Thomas firing, during which the enemy was employed Hardy in the Ramilies, with transports, having in bringing up the whole of his remaining force, on-board the 102d regiment. They immediately and he shortly afterwards renewed his attack proceeded, and, on the llth, anchored off the with fresh troops, but was every wbere repulsed town of Eastport, on Moore-island, in Passamawith equal gallantry and success

. About this quoddy-bay, when a summons was sent to the period the remainder of Major-general Riall's American officer commanding at Fort Sullivan, division, which had been ordered to retire on the requiring his surrender of the island. On his readvance of the enemy, consisting of the 103d fusal, preparations were made for an attack, the regiment, under Colonel Scot; the head-quarter effect of which was an immediate capitulation, division of the Royal Scots; the head-quarter whereby the garrison became prisoners of war, division of the 8th or king's ; flank-companies and the island, with all the ordnance, stores, &c. 104th ; some detachments of militia, under Lieu came into the possession of the victors. The istenant-colonel Hamilton, inspecting field-officer, land was stated to contain about 1,500 inhabitants, joined the troops engaged ; and General Drum and to be highly cultivated. Two other islands inond placed them in a second line, with the were likewise occupied by the expedition, so that exception of the Royal Scots and flank-com- the whole bay was subjected to the British flag, panies 104th, with which he prolonged his front and the inhabitants were required to take an oath line on the right, where he was apprehensive of of allegiance to King George, or quit the spot the enemy's out-flanking him. The enemy's with their property.

We had to record, at the conclusion of the soners entered into in April last, between Colonel BOOK XIII., campaign in 1813, the threats of a system of re- Baynes and Brigadier-general Winder, all objecciprocal retaliation, which would have fixed a tions to that convention were removed, and it was Chap. VIII. character of sanguinary ferocity on the war disa ratified, with a supplementary clause, by which

1814. graceful to any people above the rank of savages. the twenty-three British soldiers, and the fortyThe determined conduct of the British govern- six American officers and non-commissioned ofment, with the untenable ground upon which re ficers, detained as hostages, were included in taliation was first declared by that of the United the convention, to be released and exchanged in States, doubtless produced that accommodation the same manner as other prisoners of war menwhich was made public in a general order at tioned in the articles of convention, notwithstandMontreal, on the 18th of July. Its substance ing the exception therein contained. was, that, on the invitation of the Americau go At this period, the British force in Canada was vernment, Colonel Baynes and Lieutenant-colonel augmented by the arrival of the troops which had Brenton havivg been deputed to meet Colonel embarked at Bourdeaux, on the conclusion of the Lear, at Champlain, for the purpose of re-consi war with France. dering the convention for the exchange of pri

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER IX.

Naval and Military Operations in the Chesapeak.Battle of Bladensbury.Entrance of the

British Army into Washington.Description of that Place.-Remarks.-Capture of Alexandria. -President's Proclamation.Attack on Baltimore.-Death of General Ross.-Failure and Death of Sir P. Parker, at Bellier.Military Operations on the Frontiers of Canada.-Expedition up the Penobscot.-Destruction of an American Frigate.--Proclamation of the British Commanders.

The operation of the British armaments on the situated ten or twelve miles below the city; and eoast of the southern American states bad bither a man-of-war, with some small vessels, were sent to been on a small scale, and calculated rather to up the Chesapeak above Baltimore, by way of alarm and irritate ; but as soon as the troops ar diversion. The army being landed, on August rived from Bourdeaux, the resolution was taken 19th and 20tb, at Benedict, General Ross marchof striking some important blow in these quar- ed to Nottingham on the 21st, and to Upper ters. A large naval force was employed, under Marlborough on the 22d ; Admiral Cockburn, the chief command of Vice-admiral Sir Alexander in the meantime, with the barges, armed launches, Cochrane, having on-board a powerful land-force, and other boats of the feet, having the marines commanded by Major-general Robert Ross. In on-board, proceeding up the Patuxent, on the the beginning of August, Admiral Cochrane was flank of the army. When they approached the waiting in the Chesapeak for the arrival of Rear- station of Commodore Barney with his flotilla, that admiral Malcolm, with an expedition from Ber- officer did not wait an attack, but set fire to his muda. Being joined by him on the 17th, the vessels, all of which, to the number of seventeen, admiral was informed by Rear-admiral Cockburn, were blown to pieces, except one, which was. whom he found in the Potowmae, that the Ame- captured. The expedition was now within sixrican commodore Barney, with the Baltimore teen miles of Washington; and the force of the flotilla, had taken shelter at the head of the Pan Americans being ascertained to be only such as tuxent. This circumstance afforded a pretext for would authorize an attempt to carry the capital, ascending that river to attack him, while the ul. General Ross determined on making it. He put timate destination of the combined land and his troops in motion on the evening of the 23d, naval force was the American capital, Washington. and on the 24th reached Bladensburg, on the To this city the best approaches are by port To eastern bank of the Potowmac, about five miles. bacco, on the Potow mac, and Benedict, on the from Washington. Patuxent, from both of which are good roads to The enemy was. now discovered on the oppo. Washington, and the distances are nearly equal. site side of the river, strongly posted on two. It being determined to enter the Patuxent, the commanding heights, formed in two lines, his admiral sent a force to bombard Fort Washington, advance occupying a fortified house, which, with

BOOK XIII. artillery, covered the bridge over which the Bri ment of ten feet, and a gravel walk of thirty feet,

tish troops were to pass. They were in number planted with trees on each side, which leave Char. IX. 8 or 9,000 men, with 3 or 400 cavalry, commanded eighty feet of paved street for carriages

. The by General Winder, and composed of troops rest of the streets are in general 110 feet wide; 1814

drawn from Baltimore and Pennsylvania. The a few only being ninety feet. The squares or di disposition for an attack being made, the British visions of the city amount to 1150. The rectan. light brigade soon carried the fortified house, the gular squares generally contain from three to five enemy retiring to a higher ground. The assail acres, and

are divided into portions of from forty ants rushed on, and with an irresistible charge to eighty feet in front, their depth being from drove the first line upon the second, wbich also about 1 10 to 300 feet, according to the size of the got into disorder, and filed with rapidity, leasing square. There is not a single house in the city the British in full possession of the field. Of the but what is built either of brick or stone; so that American artillery, ten pieces fell into the victor's its appearance is the most beautiful that can be hands, its commander, Commodore Barney, being conceived. The area for the capitol, or senate. wounded and taken prisoner. The British loss house, is on the most elevated eminence of the in this action did not exceed 250 in killed and eity, about a mile from the Eastern Branch, and wounded.

not much more from the Potowmac, commanding General Ross, after a short balt, marched to a full view of the city, as well as the surrounding Washington, which he reached at eight o'clock country: In a direction due-west from the capiin the evening, and he immediately began the tol, aud due-south from the president's house

, destruction of the public buildings. Those com run two great pleasure parks, or malls, whickí mitted to the flames were the capitol, including intersect and terminate on the banks of the Pothe senate-house, and house of representation, towmac, and are ornamented at the sides by a the arsenal, the dock-yard, treasury, war-office, variety of elegant mansions. Fifteen of the best president's palace, rope-walk, and the great of the open areas, where the principal streets bridge across the Potowmac: in the dock-yard cross each other, are named after the different were consumed a frigate nearly ready to be states composing the union, and when finished, launched, and a sloop-of-war. The object of the were to bave statues or columns to the memory of expedition being effected, it was determined to their favorite or most eminent men. One of them withdraw the troops, before any greater force of bas been already selected for a statae of James the enemy could be assembled, and a retreat was Madison. The equestrian statue of Washington accordingly commenced on the night of the 25th. was erected not long_since in another.

The Tbe army reached Benedict on the 29th, and re eastern branch of the Potowmac is one of the embarked on the following day; and nothing safest and most commodious barbours in America, could be more complete than the success of this being sufficiently deep for the largest ships about daring enterprise, the credit of suggesting which four miles above its junetion with the Potowmac; was given by the general to Admiral Cockburn. while the channel lies close along the edge of the

In order to give our readers some idea of the city, and is abundantly capacious. city of Washington before its capture by the being situated on the great post road, exactly Bri'ish army, we shall here give a brief descrip- equi-distant from the northern and southern extion of it. It stands in the territory of Columbia, tremities of the union, and nearly so from the and is situated at the junction of the rivers Po- Atlantic to the Ohio, was deemed the most eligible towmac and the Eastern Branch, extending about situation for the Congress; and the rapidity with four miles each; a spot scarcely to be exceeded, which it has been built, is owing to the excellent in point of salubrity and beauty, by any in the and inexhaustible quarries of free-stone a few world. The plan of the city combines every miles below it, on the banks of the Potowmac. thing grand and beautiful: for although the land Extensive coal-mines have been ascertained to in general appears level, yet by gentle and gra exist in its neigbbourbood. dual swellings, a variety of elegant prospects is By the capture of Washington, the American produced, and a sufficient descent formed for government not only sustained a severe loss in carrying off the rain. The city is divided into property, but incurred much reproach from the squares, or grand divisions, by streets running nation, especially from the party averse to the war, due north and south, and east and west. But as having been the occasion of a disgrace which from the capitol, the president's house, and some it bad taken no effectual measures to prevent. of the important areas of the city run in diagonal A vulnerable part of the republic was now exstreets, from one principal point to another, which posed, and men's minds were impressed with a not only produce a variety of fine prospects, but sense of imminent danger, where before it bad obviate the insipid sameness which renders great been regarded only as a remote possibility. On cities in general unpleasing: The grand leading the other hand, the extent of devastation practised streets are all 160 feet wide, including a pave by she victors, brought a heavy censure upon the

The city

[ocr errors]

British character, not only in America, but on in destroying or mutilating the monuments of BOOK XIII., the continent of Europe. "It was acknowledged, the arts, but they were men sprung from the very that strict discipline was observed while the dregs of society, miserable sans-culottes, agitated Chap. IX.

troops were in possession of Washington, and by all the furies of the revolution. But when from i private property was anxiously protected. But the midst of one of the most enlightened nations

1814. ibe destruction not only of every establishment a chief has issued, who, without fanaticism, withconnected with war, but of edifices consecrated out any extraordinary motives for vengeance, to the purposes of civil government, and afford. without any of those violent passions which dising specimens of the advance of the fine arts turb the understanding, has imitated the fury vi among a rising people, was thought an indulgence the most savage hordes; has carried fire and flame of animosity more suitable to the times of barba- into the heart of a city whose wealth and beauty rism, than to an age and nation in which hostility were one of the most valuable monuments of the is softened by sentiments of generosity and civis progress of the arts, and of human industry ; has lized policy

made war, not upon bis enemies, but on the coIf there be such a thing as humanized wår, its lumns of temples, of public edifices, and palaces ; principle must consist in inflicting no other evits bas laid waste for the mere pleasure of devastae upon an enemy than are necessary to promote tion-we behold in this a proceeding which must

the success of warlike operations. This indeed excite deep feelings of grief and indignation. may be construed so as to admit of a wide scope For twenty years Europe groaned under the borof mischief, and it will sometimes scarcely be pos- rors engendered by the frightful genius of revosible to draw the line between allowable and Jutions. England justly thundered against these illicit injury

But there are cases in which no excésses; and now when sentiments of humanity ambiguity exists, and those of the destruction of spring up again in all hearts, she renews in Ameuseful or ornamental works, the purpose of rica these scenes of carnage and desolation ! which is altogether pacific, seem to be of this However, if she thought by such sanguinary exekiod. History presents many instances of the cution to strike terror into the heart of her enehostile conflagration of palaces, which have sel- mies, she is deceived in her cruel calculations. dom failed to be reprobated as acts of unmanly Injustice and barbarity revolt still more than they vengeance. Retaliation, indeed, bas usually been frighten. They communicate an unknown energy the pretext of hostilities exceeding the prescribed to the soul ; they rouše even the most pacific, and measure; and, in the present case, the excesses produce those bold and desperate resolves which committed by the Americans in their invasion of secure the safety and independence of nations.” Canada were made the apology for the devasta- . It has been mentioned, that a part of the opetions at Washington. But by referring to a for- rations against Washington consisted in dispatchmer part of this work, in Book XI. Chapter XI. ing a furce against Fort Washington, situated upon it will be found, that due retribution had already the Potowmac below that city. Captain Gordon, beep inflicted for those enormities, with the pro- of the Sea-horse, the commander of this expedimise that the punishment should not be carried tion, proceeded with several other vessels up the farther without fresh provocation.

Potowmac on the 17th of August, but for want of The intelligence of the destruction of Washing- pilots was not able, after severe labour, to reach ton was received in England with great exulta- the fort till the 27th. tion ; but in France it created a very different The bomb-ships were placed on the evening of sensation ; and the proceedings of the British at the 27th, and immediately began the bombardWashington were represented as barbarous in the ment of the fort, it being Captain Gordon's intenextreme. “We daily receive new details," said 'tion to attack it with the frigates at day-light the one of the French papers," as to the herrible following morning. On the bursting of the first eatastrophe which has annibilated one of the finest shell, the garrison were observed to retreat ; but cities in the world. People ask, how a nation, supposing some concealed design, the fire was emigently civilized, has conducted itself at Washe continued. At eight o'clock, however, this doubt ington with a barbarity equal to that of the bands was removed by the explosion of the powder-maof Attila and Geoseric. "They ask whether this gazine, which destroyed the inner buildings, and act of atrocious vengeance be not a crime against at day-light on the 28th the British took possesthe whole human race. Robespierre, indeed, sion. Besides the principal fort, which contained seconded by his execrable accomplices, caused two fifty-two-pounders, two thirty-two-pounders, the towns of La Vendee to be burned-or and eight twenty-four-pounders, there was a batdered the massacres of Toulon and Bedoin- tery on the beach of five eighteen-pounders, a demolished the city of Lyons_but still it was martello tower, with two twelve-pounders, and Robespierre, and his name is devoted to eternal loop-boles for musketry, and a battery in the rear execration. The revolutionary Vandals who de of two twelve and six six-pound field-pieces. The

BOOK XIII. enemy, and their complete destruction, with their lected a large military force, and a number of

carriages also, was effected by the seamen and ma fire-vessels. For the details we cannot do better Chap. IX. rines sent on that service, in less than two hours. than give them in Captain Gordon's owo words,

The populous and commercial city of Alexandria in his dispatch to Admiral Cochrane, from which 1814. thus lost its only defence; and, having buoyed the

we shall make the following extract: The channel, Captain Gordon deemed it better to post Meteor and the Fairy, assisted by the Anna pone giving any answer to a proposal made to him Maria dispatch-boat, a prize gun-boat, and a boat for its capitulation until the following morning, belonging to the Euryalus, with a bowitzer, had when he was enabled to place the shipping insuch

a greatly impeded the progress of the enemy in their position as would ensure assent to the terms he works ; notwithstanding

which they were enabled

to increase their battery to eleven guns, with a common-council of Alexandria baving assembled, furnace for heating shot. On the 3d, the wind unanimously concurred in a resolution, stating, coming to the N. W. the Etna and the Erebus that the forts for the defence of the district having succeeded in getting down to their assistance

, been blown up by their own men, and abandoned and the whole of us, with the prizes, were assem. without resistanee, and the town being left with bled there on the 4th, except the Devastation

, out troops or means of resistance

to the hostile which, in spite of our utmost exertions in warping force now in sight, they have with reluctance been her, still remained five miles higher up the river. compelled to authorize an arrangement with the This was the moment when the enemy made his enemy, by which it has been stipulated, that greatest efforts to effect our destruction. The during their continuance before the town they are Erebus being judiciously placed by Captain Barnot to be molested. The conditions proposed by tholomew in an admirable position for harassing Captain Gordon, and acceded to by the corpora- the workmen employed in the trenches, was aition of Alexandria, imported that the town, with tacked by three field-pieces, which did her consi. the exception of public works, should not be de- derable damage before they were beaten off

. And stroyed, nor the inhabitants in any manner mo another attempt being made to destroy the De. lested, on compliance with the following articles:- vastation with fire-vessels, I sent the boats under that all naval and ordnance stores, public and Captain Baker to her assistance: nothing could private, be given up; that possession is immedi- exceed the alacrity with which Captain Baker ately to be taken of all the shipping, the furnitàre went on this service, to which I attribute the im. of which must be sent on-board by their owners; mediate retreat of the boats and fire-vessels. His that the sunk vessels are to be delivered in the loss, however, was considerable, owing to their same state they were on the 19th ; that mer. having sought refuge under some guns in a nar. chandize of every description must be instantly row creek thickly wooded, from which it was delivered up, including all such as has been re impossible for him to dislodge them. On the 5th, moved from the town since the 19th, and that at noon, the wind coming fair, and all my arrangerefreshments are to be supplied to the British ments being made, the Seahorse and Euryalus squadron at the market-price.

anchored within short musket-shot of the batteries

, This capitulation was signed on the 29th, and while the whole of the prizes passed betwixt us the whole of the captured vessels which were sea and the shoal; the bombs, the Fairy, and Erebus

, worthy, being twenty-one in number, were fitted firing as they passed, and afterwards anchoring and loaded by the Ślst. Captain Gordon being in a favorable position for facilitating, by means now informed that great preparations were making of their force, the further removal of the frigates

. by the Americans to oppose his return, deter- At three p. m. having completely silenced the mined to quit Alexandria, without waiting to enemy's fire, the Seahorse and Euryalus cut their destroy the remaining stores which he had not cables, and the whole of us proceeded to the next the means of bringing away. Contrary winds position taken up by the troops, where they had impeded the progress of the squadron down the two batteries, mounting from fourteen to eighteen river, and the grounding of one of the ships (the guns, on a range of cliffs of about a mile extent, Devastation) afforded the enemy an opportunity under which we were of necessity obliged to pass of attempting its destruction, and raising batteries very close. I did not intend to make the attack to command the channel. In order to destroy the that evening, but the Erebus grounding within vessel that had grounded, the enemy sent three range, we were necessarily called into action

. On fire-vessels, attended by five row-boats; but their this occasion the fire of the Fairy bad the most object was defeated by the promptitude and gal- decisive effect, as well as that of the Erebus

, lantry of Captain Alexander, who, having collect- while the bombs threw their shells with excellent ed some boats, chased those of the enemy up to precision, and the guns of the batteries were the town of Alexandria. Captain Gordon had, thereby completely silenced by about eight o'clock

. however, a number of difficulties to encounter in At day-light on the oth I made signal to weigh, proceeding down the river, the enemy having col- and so satisfied were the whole of the parties op

« PreviousContinue »