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of the 104th, regiments, amounting, in all, to 460 rank and file, crossed the strait, early on the morning of the 3d, and landed a short distance below Conejockeda, or Schojeoquady, creek.* The American force at Black Rock, consisted of 240 men of the 1st rifle regiment, and a small body of volunteers, under the command of major Morgan; who, having, by deser• ters, or some other means, gained information of the intended attack, had taken a position on the upper, or south side of the creek, cut away the bridge crossing it, and thrown up a breastwork of logs. Colonel Tucker, with his men, advanced to the creek side, with the view of repairing the bridge, under cover of his fire,
Major Morgan,” says Mr. Thomson, “ did not attempt to retard the enemy's advances, until he was within rifle-distance, when he opened a fire, which proved so destructive, that lieutenant. colonel Tucker fell back to the skirt of a neighbouring wood, and kept up the contest at long shot. In the mean time, general Drummond threw over reinforcements, and the British des tachment now amounted to nearly 1200 men.”+ We have already had several specimens of Mr. Thompson's powers at bringing up“ reinforce. ments.” In this instance, not a man crossed over, except the original party ; in which state. ment we are supported by Mr. Thomson's con
* See Plate I. + Sketches of the War, p. 304.
temporary; and who, much to his credit, has not made the British force amount to more than “ about 500 regulars."* The plan being defeated, colonel Tucker re-crossed the strait with the loss of 25 men killed, wounded, and missing. The Americans admit a loss of two privates killed; one captain, two lieutenants, and five privates, wounded.
On the 4th of August, brigadier-general Gaines arrived, and took, the command of the American army, at Fort-Erie. By the 7th, most of the traverses about the fort were completed. Upon a battery, 25 feet high, situate at Snake hill, the southern extremity of the works, five guns were mounted. Between that and the main-works, there were two other batteries, one mounting three, and the other, two guns. The northern point of the fort had been extended to the water ; and the Douglass battery, of two guns, erected on the bank. The American dragoons, infantry, riflemen, and volunteers, were encamped between the western ramparts and the water, and the artillery, under major Hindman, stationed within the main-works. After Mr. Thomson bas given this description of the new Fort-Erie, and of the garrison within it, he tell us, very gravely, that the British were “ strongly posted behind their works.” neral Gaines determined,” proceeds this writer, * Sketches of the War, p. 304. + Hist. of the War, p. 259.
" to ascertain their strength, and endeavour, if possible, to draw them out. On the 6th, he sent major Morgan, who had previously been transferred from the American shore, to pass through the woods intervening between the British lines and the fort, and with orders to amuse the eneiny's light troops, until his columns should indicate an intention to move: in that event, major Morgan was to retire gradually, until his corps should have fallen back, upon a strong line posted in the plane below the fort, to receive the pursuing British troops. The object of this movement failed ; major Morgan having encountered and forced the enemy's light troops into the lines, with the loss of 11 killed, and three wounded and made prisoners; but, notwithstanding he maintained his position upwards of two hours, he could not succeed in drawing forth the main body of the British troops. He, therefore, returned to the fort, after losing five men killed, and four wounded."*
Scarcely a shot could have been fired by a patrolling party, but, apparently, reached the ears of Mr. Thomson. He details several little affairs of the sort ; and, by duly arranging the words:-“A large body of the enemy;"_"reinforcements;"_"spirited conflict;”—“precipitate retreat” of the Britislı; and “victory,” or, if unfortunate, simply “retiring,” of the Ameri
* Sketches of the War, p. 305.
cans; has compiled abundance of entertainment for his American readers. In the only material fact which he advances, he has been misinformed. “ The enemy's line,” says he," was protected by several block-houses."* On the contrary, at this time, there was not, among the British works, even an apology for one. Why did he not find room for stating, that commodore Chauncey, having equipped his second frigate,+ and ascertained that the British feet was divided, had been out upon the lake, since the first of the month; or, in the words of an article from “ Batavia, August 13th,” say :-“ A considerable reinforcement of troops from up the lake joined our army at Fort. Erie, a few days since; and eight or ten hundred more are daily expected from that quarter"? His reasons will be more obvious, as we proceed.
Captain Dobbs, of the Charwell, which vessel, along with the Netley and others, was lying at Fort-George, had come up with a party of seamen and marines, for the purpose of attacking the three American armed schooners, lying at anchor close to Fort-Erie. The strength of the current, and the danger of attempting to pass between the batteries at that fort and Black Rock, were no slight difficulties in the plan of operations.
The Charwell's seamen having brought captain Dobbs’s gig, upon their shoulders, from Queenstown to Frenchman'screek, a distance of 20 miles; the next point was, to get * Sketches of the War, p. 306. + James's Nav. Occ. p. 398.
that gig, as well as five batteaux which had been procured for the purpose, into Lake Erie, Lieutenant-colonel Nichol, quarter-master-general of the militia, pointed out, and offered to transport the boats by, an eight miles' route through the woods.* The proposal was acceded to; and, at half past seven on the evening of the 11th of August, the boats were launched into the lake, eight miles above Fort-Erie. In half an hour afterwards, captain Dobbs, with his gig and five batteaux, containing 75 officers, seamen, and marines,-a greater complement of British, by one-third, than manned captain Barclay's fleet of ships, brigs, and schooners, upon this same lake, t-hastened to attack three American armed schooners; whose united complements were known to exceed 100 men, and those of no ordinary class. The gig and two batteaux formed one division, under captain Dobbs; the remaining three batteaux, the other, under lieutenant Radcliffe, of the Netley. The manner in which the schooners Ohio and Somers were boarded, and carried, by captain Dobbs and his gallant ship-mates, is fully expressed in the American official account. I Had Mr. Thomson, instead of inventing a story of his own, paid due respect to lieutenant Conkling's letter, he would not have stated, that “the British general furnished captain Dobbs, of the royal navy, with a suffi* Sce Plate I.
+ James's Naval Occurr. p. 289. App. No. 34.