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eient number of troops, to man nine large boats, which were completely fitted to attack the three schooners, the Somers, Porcupine, and Ohio, then lying at anchor off the fort.”* Nor would he have told the still more glaring falsehood, that “ the Porcupine,” against whose commander the American lieutenant so justly complains, “ succeeded in beating them off.”* Had not the rapidity of the current, driven the two schooners, after their cables had been cut, past, and a considerable distance beyond, the Porcupine, that vessel would have shared the fate of her two companions.
The force of the American schooners, in guns, men, and size, and the trifling loss on both sides, will be found in our naval volume.† These two valuable prizes were taken to Frenchman's creek; and as many of the brave fellows surviving, as were not required to remain on board, hạstened, with their leader, to general Drummond's camp. : The success of captain Dobbs's daring exploit induced general Drummond, on the morning of the 13th, preparatory to the grand assault upon the works at Fort-Erie, to open his batteries ; which consisted of one long iron, and two short brass 24-pounders, one long 18-pounder, one 24-pound carronade, and a 10-inch mortar. Although this cannonade was continued for two days, the American editors acknowledge no other casualties than 45 men killed or wounded. * Sketches of the War, p. 315. +James's Nav. Occur. p. 391.
Erery arrangement having been made, the 8th, and De Watteville's regiments, with the light companies of the s9th and 100th regiments, and a detachment of artillery, the whole column somewhat under 1300 men, and commanded by lieutenant-colonel Fischer, of De Watteville's, marched, at two o'clock on the morning of the 15th of August, from a position which they had previously occupied, towards the enemy's intrenchments at Snake hill. As soon as the head of the column had approached the abattis, a heavy fire was opened upon it by the American 21st and 23d regiments, and by one 18 and two 6-pounders, and a 5-inch howitzer, posted in a strong redoubt. The letter of an American gentleman at Buffaloe describes the onset, thus :
66 Tke enemy approached, with bayonets charged, and guns without flints, nearly surrounded the piquet, and pursued them so closely, as to enter the abattis with them, and got in the rear of the redoubt." “ The scaling-ladders were too short, and destruction was dealt on every side among them.”+ Mr. Thomson says: “ With scaling ladders, of no more than 16 feet in length, he could not possibly throw his troops upon a battery of about 25 feet high, and his second attempt, equally furious as the first, met with
* Sketches of the War, p. 309.
no better success. Convinced of his inability to get possession of the battery, and feeling the deadly effects of the incessant showers of grape, which were thrown upon him, he determined, in his next effort, to pass the point of the abattis, by wading breast-deep into the lake, to which the works were open. In this attempt, also, he was unsuccessful, nearly 200 of his men being either killed or drowned, and the remainder precipitately falling back.”* According to colonel Fischer's report, † it was not intentionally, but in marching too near the lake, that the troops got into the water. The darkness of the morning, added to the ignorance of the way, might well entangle the men among the rocks; and the incessant showers of grape and musketry, which they had no means of returning, threw them into confusion. This alone, without the insufficiency of the scaling-ladders,--a piece of important information, which we gain only from the American accounts,-sufficiently accounts for the entire failure of the attack, made by the right British column upon the southern extremity of the American works.
The centre British column, at the head of which was lieutenant-colonel Drummond, of the 104th, consisted of the flank companies of the 41st, and 104th (the latter reduced to about 80 men) regiments, and a party of seamen and
* Sketches of the War, p. 309. + App. No. 36.
marines, in all,-not as Mr. Thomson says, “700,""* but 190 rank and file. The left column, under the command of lieutenant-colonel Scott, of the 103d regiment was composed of that regiment, 500 strong, supported by the flank companies of the royal Scots, mustering, altogether, not “ 800,"* but 650 rank and file. As the proceedings of these two columns are much more fully detailed in the American, than in the British account, we shall transcribe nearly the whole of the former, deferring to the conclusion, our own remarks upon such inaccuracies as it may
The attack from the centre and left columns,” says Mr. Thomson," was reserved until the contest became very animated between colonel Fischer's column, and the troops upon the left. From the line of defences, between the Douglass battery and the fort, and from those in front of the garrison, lieutenant-general Drummond supposed reinforcements would be drawn to the aid of the southern extremity of the works; and, with this view, had given greater strength to his right, than to his other columns, and intended to avail himself of the
consequent weakened state, of the north and south-east angles of the American post. The piquet being driven in, the approach of lieutenant-colonel
* Sketches of the War, p. 310.
Drummond was heard from the ravine, and colonel Scott's column at the same time advanced along the margin of the water. From the salient bastion of the fort, captain Williams immediately opened his fire upon the centre column, whilst the approach of colonel Scott was attempted to be checked by the Douglass battery, and captains Boughton and Harding's New York and Pennsylvania volunteers, on its right; the 9th infantry, under captain Foster, on its left; and a 6-pounder, planted at that point, under the management of colonel M‘Ree. At 50 yards distance from the line, the enemy's left column made a momentary pause, and instantly recoiled from the fire of the cannon and musketry. But the centre column, having advanced upon every assailable point of the fort, in defiance of the rapid and heavy discharges of the artillery, and having ascended the parapet, by means of a large number of scaling-ladders, its officers called out to the line, extending to; the lake, to desist firing ;-an artifice which succeeded so well, that the Douglass battery, and the infantry, supposing the order to proceed from the garrison, suspended their fire, until the deception was discovered. The left column, in the mean time, recovered from its confusion, and was led up to a second cbarge, from which it was again repulsed, before it had an opportu