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means necessary for transportation provided, James should chronicle so extraordinary a cir the combatants began their movement in cumstance as the want of powder in the prinboats, along the lake shore, to Two-mile Creek, cipal British fort in Western Canada, had we the point designated for a general landing. not so recently scen that a frigate was built,
When Hull's surrender had put the British and a quantity of provisions and stores depoin possession of the artillery they so much sited in so exposed and indefensible a position required, five of the twenty-four pounders as York. Whoever was the culpable party, had been brought from Detroit, four of which whether Sir George Prevost or General bad been mounted at Fort George, and the Sheaffe, there is very little doubt but that to fifth on a battery, en barbette, about half a this circumstance may be attributed much of mile below Newark, now Niagara. A fire the impunity with which the Americans inado from some field pieces had been opened on their preliminary movements on this occasion. the American boats, when proceeding, on the The British force was posted as advantage26th, to the rendezvous. This had provoked ously as circumstances would admit by Gene e return from Fort Niagara, by which the ra! Vincent, and they made a most gallant block houses, sonie scattered dwellings near resistance, being overpowered only by the the fort, and the fort itself were considerably numerical strength of the assailants, and the damaged. On the morning of the 27th a fire from the American shipping, which comheavy cannonade was again commenced from mitted dreadful havoc, and rendered their fort Niagara to cover the attacking party, and efforts to oppose the landing of so immeasur. "in addition,” (says James,)“ two schooners, ably superior a force altogether ineffectual by the use of their sweeps, had reached their Three times, under cover of the heavy fire stations at the mouth of the river, in order to from the fort and the shipping, the Americans silence the twenty-four pounder and the nine- attempted to land, and were repulsed, by the pounder, also planted en barbette close to persevering courage of their opponents; and Newark. Another schooner stationed herself it was only at last, when considerably reto the northward of the light house, and so duced in numbers, that General Vincent, who close to the shore as to enfilade the first saw the inutility of persevering in so unequal Damed battery, and cross the fire of the re- a contest, retired, blowing up, before his maining two schooners." The remaining five retreat, the small quantity of powder which schooners anchored so as to cover the landing yet remained in the magazine at Fort George. of the troops. The frigate Madison, Oneida The heavy fire had rendered the fort altobrig, and a schooner, took up also advanta- gether untenable; General Vincent had, theregeous positions. The united broadside of fore, no alternative left but to retreat in the these vessels was fifty-one guns, many of direction of Queenston, first despatching them thirty-two and eighteen-pounders. orders to Col. Bishopp at Fort Erie, and to Against this formidable array what had the Major Ormsby at Chippewa, to evacuate their British?—a weak position entirely exposed to respective posts, and to move with as little a cross fire of shot and shells, and a scarcity delay as possible, by Lundy's Lane, to the of powder-incredible as this last assertion Beaver-dam. In the retreat about filty of the may appear, we are, nevertheless, borne out in regulars unfortunately were made prisoners. making it by James, who asserts, in speaking The remainder, both regular and militia, mado of the events of the 26th, that "the guns at an undisturbed retreat, and were joined at the Fort George were compelled, owing to a scar- place of rendezvous, by the garrisons of Fort city of powder, to remain silent, while Com- Erie and Chippewa. In General Vincent's modore Chauncey, on that evening, was sound dispatch* full particulars of this action will be ing the shore within half gunshot." The Americans, in speaking of this circumstance, * From Brigadier-General Vincent to Sir George and looking at the impunity with which Fort
Prevost. Niagara kept ur, alınost unanswered, its
FORTY-MILE CREEK, May 28, 1813. fire, may well boast that they received com
Sır, -I have the honor to inform your Exoet
lency, that yesterday morning, about day-breaks, paratively little injury from the British can the enemy again opened his batteries upon Fort non. It would excite astonishment that George: the fire pot being immediately recurved,
found, we must not, however, omit to notice The British loss in killed and wounded was one exageration contained in it, relative to the very heavy. The 8th, Glengarry and New. American striggle. We allude to the passage foundland detachments lost full one-half of “His whole force is stated to amount to their united force, and the militia appear to nearly ten thousard men." This, in all have also suffered severely, at least eighty-five probability, unintentional over-tatement was having been either killed or wounded. The quite unnecessary, as General Vincent made total British loss was estimated at four a very gallant resistance, and, when he was hundred and forty-five. Thomson, in his overpowered by numbers, he made a very Sketchos of the War," makes up a very able ritreat-collecting by the next morning imposing total of prisoners; like most of his nearly sixtean hundred men, with a position, statements, however, his account is grosely Burlington heights, to fall back on, which, exaggerated. Ile counts the wounded regulars accorling to Dearborn, while it remained in twice over; once as wounded, and a second the power of the British, rendered the success. time as prisoners—he adds further, " the fulocerpation hy the Americans of the Western militia prisoners who were paroled to the perinsula impractienble. As at York, Gen. number of five hundred and seren," &c. Now, Vincent again saved the kernel, and left, as the in the first place, no unwounded regulars fell fruits of victory, to the Americans, the shell, into the hands of the Americans, except the consisting of a few ruined houses and untenable fisty who were captured at the fort. Again, fort.
Mr. Thomson forgets to informn us how the
it ceased for some time. About 4 o'clock, A. M. teries in the fort. As our light troops fell back a combination of circumstances led to a belief that upon the main body, which was moved forwards an invasion was meditated. The morning being to their support, they were gallantly sustained by exceeding hazy, neither his means nor his inten- the 8th (king's) regiment, commanded by Major tion could be ascertained, until, the mist clearing Ogilvie, the whole being under the immediate away at intervals, the enemy's fleet, consisting of direction of Colonel Myers, acting Quarter-masterfourteen or fifteen vessels, was discovered under general, who had charge of the right wing. In way, standing towards the light-house, in an ex. the execution of this important duty, gallantry, tended line of more than two miles, covering from zeal, and decision, were eminently conspicuous; ninety to one hundred large boats and scows, each and I lament to report that I was deprived of the containing an average of fifty to sixty men. services of Colonel Myers, who, baving received Though at this time no doubt could be entertained three wounds, was obliged to quit the field. of the enemy's intention, his points of attack could Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey, the deputy Adjutantonly be conjectured. Having again commenced a General, whose activity and gallantry had been heavy fire from his fort, line of batteries, and displayed the whole morning, succeeded Colonel shipping, it became necessary to withdraw all the Myers, and brought up the right division, consistguards and piquets stationed along the coast, being of the 49th regiment, and some militia. tween the fort and light-house, and a landing was The light artillery under Major Holcroft were effected at the Two-mile Creek, about half a mile already in position, awaiting tbe enemy's advance below the latter place. The party of troops and on the plain. At this moment the very inferior Indians stationed at this point, after opposing the force under my command had experienced a enemy, and annoying him as long as possible, severe loss in officers and men; yet nothing could were obliged to fall back, and the fire from the exceed the ardor and gallantry of the troops, who shipping so completely enfiladed and scoured shewed the most marked devotion in the service the plains, that it became impossible to approach of their king and country, and appeared regard. the beach. As the day dawned, the enemy's plan less of the consequence of the unequal contest. was clearly developed, and every effort to oppose Being on the spot, and seeing that the force unhis landing having failed, I lost not a moment in der my command was opposed to ten-fold numconcentrating my force between the town of Fort bers, who were rapidly advancing under cover of George and the enemy, there awaiting his ap- their shipping and batteries, from which our posiproach. This inovement was admirably covered tions were immediately seen, and exposed to a by the Glengarry light infantry, joined by a detach- tremendous fire of shot and shells, I decided on ment of the royal Newfoundland regiment and retiring my little force to a position which I hoped militia, which commenced skirmishing with the might be less assailable by the heavy ordnance of enemy's riflemen, who were advancing through the enemy, and from which a retreat would be the brushwood. The enemy having perfect con
com left open, in the event of that measure becoming mand of the beach, he quickly landed from three necessary. Here, after awaiting the approach of to four hundred men, with several pieces of artil- the enemy for about half an hour, I received lery, and this force was instantly seen advancing authentic information, that his force, consisting of in three solid columns, along the lake bank, his from four to five thousand men, had re-formed right covered by a large body of riflemen, and his his columns, and was making an effort to turn my left and front by the fire of the shipping, and bat-right flank. At this critical juncture not a mo
five hundred and seven paroled militia prisoners on the part of the British, in resisting the were obtained-as he has failed in this, we attack." must refer to James. “No sooner had the
Our loss was very great, but that of the American army got possession of the Niagara frontier, than officers with parties were sent is
, the number that fell in the hand-to-hand
enemy was quite as great in proportion—that to every farm-house and lovel in the neigh- conflict would be about equal, were we to bourhood, to exact a parole from the male make an allowance for the terrible execution inhabitants of almost every age. Some were done by the fifty-one gun broadside of the glad of this excuse for remaining peaceably at vessels. The Americans themselves state their their houses; and those who made any loss at thirty-nine killed and one hundred and opposition were threatened to be sent across cleven wounded, which is very satisfactory ; the river, and thrown into a noi-ome prison. and, as James has it, not a liitie creditable to We cannot wonder, then, that by these the few regular troops and Cana niansby whom industrious, though certainly unauthorized
the fort was defended. 0:e extraordinary mcans, the names of as many as five hundred
bit of modesty is observable in De: rborn's and seven Canadians were got ready to be
official letter on this occasion. He does not forward d to the Secretary at War, so as, not
state that the British were superior in force-only to swell the amount of the loss sustained, this is particularly striking in an Americanbut by a fair inference of the force employed, he, however, hints at “the advantage the
enemy's position afforded him." We have ment was to be lost, and sensible that every effort had beermade, by the oflicers and men under my command, to maintain the post of Fort George, i my little army;--every one most zealously discould not consider myself justified in continuing charged the duties of his respective station. The 80 unequal a contest, the issue of which promises struggle on the 27th continued froni three to four no advantage to the interests of his Majesty's ser-hours; and, I lament to add, it was attended with vice. Having given orders for the fort to be very severe loss. evacuated, the guns to be spiked, and the ammu I have the lionor to enclose a list of the killed, nition destroyed, the troops under my command wounded, and inissing, with as much accuracy as were putin motion, and marched across the conn. the nature of existing circumstances will admit. try in a line parallel to the Niagara river, towards Many of the missing, I hope, will be found to be the position near the Beaver Dam, beyond Queens- only strugglers, and will soon rejoin their corps. town Mountain, at which place I had the honor of I shall reach the head of the lake to-morrow evenreporting to your Excellency that a depôt of pro- ing. Ilitherto the enemy has not attempted to visions and ammunition had been formed some interrupt my movements. Information reached time since. The rear-guard of the army reached me this morning, through an authentic channel, that position during the night, and we were soon that he had pushed on three thousand infantry, afterwards joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Bisshopp, and a considerable body of cavalry, towards with all the detachments from Chippewa to.Fort Queenston. His whole force is stated Erie. The light, and one battalion company of amount to nearly ten thousand men. the 8th, (king's,) joined us about the same time, I send this despatch by Mr. Mathison, who as did Captain Barclay, with a detachment of the acted as a volunteer on the 27th; and I am happy royal navy.
to inform your Excellency, that his conduct was Having assembled my whole force the follow- very honorable to his character, and merits my ing moruing, which did not exceed sixteen hun- marked approbation. Ammunition will be wantdred men; I continued iny march towards the ing by the first vessel. Captain Milnes has been head of the lake, where it is my intention to take kind enough to remain with me until my next up a position, and shall endeavour to maintain it, despatch. until I may be honored with your Excellency's
I have the honor to be, &c. instructions, which I shall feel most anxious to
John VINCENT, Brig. Gen. receive. I beg leave to suggest the great import- His Excellency Lieutenant-General ance that exists for a communication being
Sir George Prevost, &c. &c. &c. opened with me, through the medium of the fleet. The anchorage under Mr. Brandt's house is per- Return of killed, wounded, and missing, of His fectly good and safe. I believe your Excellency
Majesty's troops in action with the enemy at need not be informed, that in the event of it be
Fort George, May the 27th, 1813. coming necessary that I should fall back upon One captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, one York, the assistance of shipping would be requi- serjeant, forty-eight rank and file, killed ; one site for the transport of my artillery. I cannot general-staff, one major, two captains, five lieuteconclude this long communication, without ex- nants, two ensigns, four serjeants, wenty-nine pressing a well merited tribute of approbation to rank and file, wounded; one lieutenant, thirteen the gallantry and assiduity of every officer of the serjeante, eight drummers, two hundred and forty staff, and indeed of every individual composing rauk and file, wounded and missing.
already stated the exposed position of the would have reflected honor on a band of veter. British ; our readers may, therefore, take ans long accustomed to the din of arms.'" this insinuation at its proper value. O'Con We left General Vincent at the Beaver nor in his account, reversing the real state of Dam, where he had been joined not only by things, makes the British “five to one." the detachment from Fort Erie and Chippewa, Thomson, more modestly, says, “the action but by one flank and one battalion company was fought by inferior numbers on the Ame of the 8th, and Captain Barclay, R.N., with a rican side," and Dr. Smith, giving no numbers, small body of seamen on their way to Lake dwells only on the firmness and gallantry of Erie. To cut off this force, Dearborn, who the American troops."
seems never to have been in a hurry, deThe escape of General Vincent and his spatched, on the 28th, a considerable body; troops left the Americans as far as ever from but, luckily, he sent them in the wrong direethe desired undisturbed occupancy of the tion, for had he chosen the Lake road, there western peninsula. Ingersol observes, "Vin- would have been a probability of cutting off cent, the British General, effected his retreat General Vincent. Two days were occupied (probably without Dearborn's even knowing it, in this fruitless pursuit, and, on the recall of for he stayed on shipboard), to the mountain the troops, two days more were passed in a passes, where he employed his troops in at- consideration of how the lost time was to be tacking, defeating, and capturing ours during made up. Dearborn's idea was to use the all the rest of that year of discomfiturcs." fleet as a means of transportation to BurlingArmstrong, in his remarks, has, “if, instead ton Bay: but, fortunately for the British, the of concentrating his whole force, naval and Cabinet at Washington gave this arm of the military, on the water side of the enemy's de expedition a different direction. No alternafences, he had divided the attack, and, cross- tive, therefore, remained to Dearborn but the ing the Niagara below Lewiston, advanced on pursuit by the Lake shore, which should have Fort George by the Queenston road, the in- begun, had Dearborn possessed any energy, vestment of that place would have been com- on the morning of the 28th. plete, and a retreat of the garrison impracti Before, however, following the fortunes of cable."
the brigade despatched in pursuit, we will It was certainly fortunate for the British turn to Sackett's Harbor, and the fate of the that the Americans had generals who were expedition prepared against it by Sir George not tacticians enough to profit by their supe- Prevost, and a considerable body of troops riority in numbers. Had Brock commanded destined to act in concert with the fleet under the Americans, the campaign of 1813 might Commodore Yeo. have had a more fortunate issue for our ene After disposing of this subject, we will remies.
turn to Gen. Vincent and his fortunes, taking, Although the disasters at York and Niagara while in the west, a glance at Proctor, whom were disheartening in some degree, yet the deve left just after his return from Fort Meigs scendants of the brave men who composed the Another chapter will, however, be required militia at that time have cause to look on both for a consideration of all these subjects; we these events with much pride and satisfaction. will, therefore, conclude the present one with It is clear, from the conduct of the militia on Ingersol's testimony as to the defence of Caeach of these occasions, that they had attained nada :—“On the land the defence of Canada a high degree of military discipline, and, as a was couducted with much more energy, encontemporary justly observes, “the marked terprise and spirit, than the American attempts coolness and fearless intrepidity with which at invasion, which failed, after a long series of the York and Lincoln militia resisted the ap- delays and reverses, and proved abortions as proach of the enemy towards their shores, discreditable as Hull's. "
the attention of the entire Province was
directed, which, in consequence of the preEspedition against Sackett's Harbour, 27th May.
sence and co-operation of the two commanders-Proceedings at west end of Lake Ontario ; in-chief, the inhabitants had flattered themsurprise at Stony Creek.—Result of the Dear- selves would have a very different result, and born and Chauncey expedition.—Affair at the the failure of which inflicted a blow on the Beaver Dam.-Capitulation of Col. Bærstler military character of Sir George Prevost from and five hundred and forty-one American which it never recovered. troops. -Reinforcements arrive at Queenston,
Prone to exaggeration as we have in most but return to Fort George.—Proceedings in cases found Ainerican historians, it is a
singular feature in the present instance, that Congress on receipt of news of Bærstler's
they seem to have laid aside their natural surrender.—Colonel Clark's expedition against characteristic, and to have modestly set forth, Fort Schlosser.—Colonel Bisshopp's expedition with but little coloring of misrepresentation, against Black Rock.-American alliance with the facts as they really occurred. This modeIndians. - Proctor, and aspect of affairs in the ration bears the harder on Sir George Prevost, west.
as it would almost scem as if his discomfiture
appeared in their eyes something scarcely Before entering on the subject of the ex- worth boasting of, ready as they always were Expedition against
pedition againstSackett's to lay hold of every circumstance, however Seckett's Harbor, 27th Harbor, we would pre- trivial, (and of this we have already adduced May.
mise that we have hither- several striking proofs,) that they could in any to endeavoured to do full justice to Sir George manner distort, or magnify into a victory. Prevost, wherever it appeared that blame had Without farther preamble, then, we would been unjustly imputed to him, and to point remind the reader, that Commodore (Sir out the real quarter to which discredit should James) Yeo's arrival from England, with a attach, whether the causes of his failure party of officers and seamen, had given an might be attributable to the orders from the impetus to the naval preparations at Kingston, Home Government, by which he was in a and that the vessels there had been manned great degree fettered, or arose from the in- and equipped in a manner sufficient to warrant sufficient force under his command, and the the expectation, that the fleet, under so able extended frontier which he was called upon a commander, might once more boldly appear to defend. We can scarcely, then, be accused on the lake. Great, therefore, was the delight of blindly or capriciously joining in a crusade of all, when it was ascertained that Sir George against this officer's memory in the present Prevost's consent had been obtained for em. instance, the more especially as we have ploying, this acquisition of naval strength, in a diligently sought to discover, in the American combined attack, on the important post of accounts of the descent on Sackett's Harbor, Sackett's Harbor, now considerably weakened some extenuating causes for the failure of a in its defences, by the absence of Commodore movement, on which the ultimate success of Chauncey's fleet, and of the numerous army the war seemed so mainly to depend, to which I which had recently been stationed there.