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These atrocities were represented to majorgeneral Vincent, and he was strongly urged to allow a small regular and Indian force to be marched against general M'Clare. Colonel Murray finally gained his point; and, taking with him 379 rank and file of the 100th regiment, about 20 volunteers, and 70 of the western Indians, led by colonel Elliot, moved forward on the road towards the Forty-mile Creek ; beyond which point he had been ordered not to proceed. The advance of this small detachment soon reached the ears of general M'Clure, who had taken post at the Twenty-mile Creek, and who now retreated, in haste, to a position somewhat nearer to Fort-George. Colonel Murray obtained fresh permission to extend his march to the Twenty-mile Creek, and subsequently to the Twelve-mile Creek. These movements had driven the American general and his men to Fort-George ; and then commenced a scene of devastation and horror, of which no adequate idea can be formed, except by such as had the misery to be spectators. How, then, shall we hope to succeed in describing it ?
The winter of 1813, according to general Wilkinson, set in earlier than usual. Lambert, in his account of the climate of Lower Canada, says
that Fahrenheit's thermometer is sometimes 36 degrees below 0, and that the mean of the
cold in winter is about 0.* The climate of Upper, is certainly not quite so rigorous as that of Lower Canada; but yet the mildest winter of the former, bears no comparison whatever to the severest winter of this country. For several days previous to the 10th of December, the weather in Upper Canada had been unusually severe, and a deep snow lay on the ground. Towards night-fall on that day, general M'Clure gave about half an hour's notice to the inhabitants of Newark, that he should burn down their village. Few of the poor people believed that the wretch was in earnest. Soon, however, came round the merciless firemen. Out of the 150 houses of which Newark had consisted, 149 were levelled to the dust! Such articles of furniture and other valuables as the incendiaries could not, and the inhabitants had neglected or been unable to, carry away,shared the general fạte. Of counsellor Dickson's, library, which had cost hiin between 5 and 6001. sterling, scarcely a book escaped the ravages of the devouring element. Mr. Dickson was, at this time, a prisoner in the enemy's territory; and his wife lay on a sick bed. The villains how shall we proceed ?-took
the poor lady, bed and all, and placed her upon the snow before her own door; where, shivering with cold, she beheld, if she could see at all,
* Lambert's Travels, Vol. I. p. 107.
her house and all that was in it consumed to ashes. Upwards of 400 helpless women and children, without provisions, and in some instances with scarcely cloaths upon their backs, were thus compelled, after being the mournful spectators of the destruction of their habitations, to seek shelter at a distance; and that in such a night, too!—The reader's imagination must supply the rest. In what
W the American historian, or will he at all, describe the conflagration of Newark? Not one word about it appears in doctor Smith's book. Mr. Thomson says briefly: - General M'Clure determined on destroying the town of Newark.”* It is Mr. O'Connor whom we have to thank, for being explicit upon this point. 66 As a measure deemed necessary to the safety of the troops, the town of Newark was burned. This act,' said general M-Clure, (proceeds Mr. O'Connor) · however distressing to the inhabitants and my feelings, was by order of the secretary of war, and I believe, at the same time, proper.' The inhabitants, (continues Mr. O'Connor,) had 12 hours' notice to remove their effects, and such as chose to cross the river were provided with all the necessaries of life.”+
With the knowledge that Mr. Secretary Armstrong had recently been in the neighbourhood of, if not at Fort-George, we can readily sup, * Sketches of the War, p. 188. + Hist. of the War, p. 158.
Mr. O'Connor informs us that “ a council of war," that fatal damper of American military ardor, decided that Fort-George
was not tenable.” Of the guns, or the fortifications, he says nothing. Mr. Thomson concurs in opinion that the post was “untenable ;” and gives as a reason, that the British force outside consisted of 1500 regulars, and at least 700 Indians ;!' calls general M'Clure's troops“ the remnant of an army;" and then informs us, that the American general “ determined on destroying the batteries ;" * leaving to doctor Smith to advance the next step; who, as is to confirm his predecessor's disceroment, says roundly : “ FortGeorge was soon afterwards abandoned, and blown up, by general M'Clure.”†
Early in November lieutenant-general Drummond and major-general Rial had arrived from England ; the former to relieve major-general De Rottenburg, in the military command and presidency of the upper province. These officers had been detained below, to see the end of general Wilkinson's expedition. That business concluded, they moved on to Kingston and York; at which latter place general Drummond was sworn into office; and then, along with major-general Rial, hastened to join the centre division of the army. Both generals arrived at St. David's, major-general Vincent's present * Sketches of the War, p. 188. + History of the War, p. 265.
kead-quarters, soon after the capture of Fort. George; and at a time when colonel Murray's prompt and decisive measures had given a new aspect to affairs.
This officer contemplated a retaliatory attack upon the opposite lines; to which plan general Drummond yielded, not only his approbation, but, rightly judging that the delay of waiting for permission from the commander-in-chief, then at Quebec, * might recover the enemy from his panic, and thus defeat the object,-his immediate sanction. No more than two batteaux were on the Niagara shore, the remainder were in Burlington Bay. Captain Kerby, an active militia-officer, under the orders of captain Elliott, the deputy assistant-quarter-master-general, contrived, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, and the badness of the roads, to effect the carriage, by land, of a sufficiency of batteaux for the enterprise.
Every thing being prepared by the evening of the 18th, the troops destined for the assault, consisting of a small detachment of royal artillery, the grenadiers of the royal Scots, the flank companies of the 41stt, and the effective men of the 100th regiment, amounting, altogether, to fewer than 550 rank and file, and commanded by colonel Murray, crossed the river on that night, and landed at the Five-mile Meadows, about * Distant 530 miles. + 2d Battalion which had recently arrived from Europe.