Page images
PDF
EPUB

batteries at Fort Mississaga, volunteered his excellency will be pleased to submit their servces in the field on this occasion. He names for promotion to the most favourable was severely wounded. Lieutenant Tom- consideration of his royal highness the prince kins deserves much credit for the way in regent; viz: Captain Jervoise my aidewhich two brass 24 pounders, of which he de-camp; captain Robinson, 8th (king's) had charge were served ; as does serjeant regiment, (provincial lieutenant-colonel), Austin of the rocket company, who directed commanding the incorporated milita; capthe Congreve rockets, which did much exe- tain Eliot, deputy assistant-quarter-mastercution. The zeal, loyalty, and bravery with general; captain Holland, aide-de-camp to which the militia of this part of the pro- major-general Riall; and captain Glew, 41st vince had come forward to co-operate with regiment. his majesty's troops in the expulsion of the This despatch will be delivered to you by enemy, and their conspicuous gallantry in captain Jervoise, my-aide-de-camp, who is this, and in the action of the 5th instant, fully competent to give your excellency every claim my warmest thanks.

further information you may require. I cannot conclude this despatch without

I have the honour to be, &c. recommending, in the strongest terms, the

GORDON DRUMMOND, following officers, whose conduct during the

Lieutenant-general., &c. late operations has called for marked approbation ; and I am induced to hope that your! His Excellency Sir G. Prerost.

CHAPTER XX.

CONTENTS.

and its results.

was not made; the front, too, shown by the The battle of Bridgewater, or Lundy's Lane, British being so formidable, that a retreat and its results.--Destruction of stores and on the part of the Americans was found baggage.—General order issued by Lieuten- necessary, this retreat not being, as Ameriant General Drummond.- Fort Erie.—Gen- can writers represent, orderly, but marked eral Drummond's despatch.—The repulse at with the destruction of military stores of Conjocta Creek.-Outrage at Port Talbot, on various kinds. Lake Erie.

That the American loss was severe can be Of all the battles that were fought during proved by the fortunate admission of Ingersol,

the war, none could be who says, † "Those who had sunk exhausted, The battle of Bridge water, or Lundy's Lane, compared with that of those gone to take care of the wounded, the

Lundy's Lane for the numbers who, in all battles, stray from obstinacy both of attack and defence ex- their places, those left in camp when the hibited on both sides. At Chippewa the rest went out to battle ; all those diminucontest was decided principally by musketry, tions left, in the judgment of reliable officers, but at Lundy’s-lane the Americans, for the not more than a thousand fighting men first time, ventured to cross bayonets with embodied, when they were marched back to Britsh troops, and the issue of the combat Chippewa.” That the loss was so severe, then taught them, whatever their moral we, cannot, for a moment believe, when we courage, their physical inferiority to British consider the numbers of the Americans and Canadian troops.

engaged ; we can only, therefore, took on This battle may almost be styled an im- this statement of Ingersols as an attempt at promptu engagement, inasmuch as the an excuse for the retreat of a superior body American General, in ordering the advance before an inferior. in the first instance, was without correct

If ever a writer earned a pension from his information, as to the force opposed to him. devotion to his "country's cause,” Ingersol is This we learn from Wilkinson, who distinctly that man. Nothing has sufficed to withstand states that it was reported to General Scott, the onslaught of his pen on the character “that the enemy could not be in force,” and and morale of the British, and a few extracts, that, consequently, that officer pressed taken in connection with Drummond's degforward with ardor,” to attack the British. patch, will not be found unamusing. We

If ever one army was fairly beaten by are first informed, page 99, that "General another, the battle of Lundy’s-lane furnishes Brown, when the victory of Bridgewater, us with such an instance; that is, if remain- so far as could be judged from all circuming in possession of the field while your stances, was complete, was with difficulty adversary retreats precipitately and in dis- supported on his horse as he retired to Chip order, be considered as a proof of victory; pewa.” We presume that Mr. Ingersol on General Drummond was attacked by a reading over this paragraph considered if superior force, and, through the gallantry of necessary to account for General Brown and his troops, he not only sustained his posi- his army's retreat to Chippewa, accordingly tion, but, on the next morning, when General on page 100, we find it stated that “ The Ripley* received instructions from General struggle was over. Pride of success was Brown to make another attack, he was found supplanted by bodily exhaustion, anxiety 80 well prepared to repel it, that the attack

† Page 99, Historical sketch of the second * Wilkinson, Vol 1. Appendix 9.

war.

66

for repose from excessive toil, and relief misled by the tale told at the Observatory,
from tormenting thirst. The Americans, which now marks the scene of the struggle,
therefore, BUT AS Victors were marched and that the worthy sergeant who recounted
to their encampment, as Brown had directed, the tale, recognizing the historian ass
though without the cannons captured.” Yankee, crammed him with the version of
When we consider that the Americans had the battle prepared for his countrymen; if
made a leisurely march of it to Lundy’s-lane, so, Mr. Ingersol fared better than General
that they went fresh into action, with the Scott, who, we presume, having some ap
knowledge that strong reinforcements were pearance of respectability about him, was
at hand, and that they expected to encounter mistaken for an Englishman, and had the
a vastly inferior force, Ingersol's twaddle unspeakable mortification of having the spot
about the want of water and so forth, is very pointed out to him, “where General Scott
absurd. The major part of the British turned tail and ran away."
forces engaged at Lundy's-lane had made a
forced march of fourteen miles, and had

On one sentence, taken from the Quebeo gone into action literally out of breath and Gazette of the 23rd September, 1814, Mr. exhausted with fatigue, yet we do not find Ingersol bases a regular edifice of deductions, one word in General Drummond's despatch

with all our strength,” wrote the Gazette, relative to the “necessity of repose from

“ it would be rashness to penetrate far into excessive toil.” Again, we are told by

the United States, and might produce another Ingersol, that for want of horses, harness, Saratoga." This single sentence suffices to drag ropes, and other contrivances, the furnish Ingersol with material for the folinestimable trophies (the captured guns) lowing extraordinary assertions :fell at last into the hands of the British, who Continued skirmishes, sieges, sorties, returned to the hill, soon after the Ameri- and other demonstrations, following the two cang left it. Mr. Ingersol further accounts pitched battles* in Canada, proved only corolfor the capture of an American howitzer, by laries to the problem solved by them, that indignantly denying General Drummond's the American army, like the navy, was sustatement. That officer, in his despatch, perior to that of England. As soon as the stated "a howitzer, which the enemy brought double elements of military ascendant were up, was captured by us.” To this Ingersolwell combined, and strict discipline added to responds—“ They captured nothing, but stern enthusiasm, the mercenary Briton was merely found a cannon accidentaily left, when subdued. Coarse, vulgar, English preduan hour after the enemy's retreat, their con- dice, uttered by envious and odious journalquerors in complete and undisturbed pos-ism, continued their abuse of the United States session of the guns and the field, slowly and as a licentious and knavish nation. But in perfect order, left it and them, to return English better sense perceived, and dispasto the indispensable repose of their camp.” sionate judgment pronounced, them also It has been our good fortune to converse

martial and formidable. Not a little of that with several of the officers who distinguished impression came from the seemingly insignithemselves in the battle of Lundy's-lane, and ficant invasion of Canada, which, during the by all we have been assured, that, so far inonths of July, August, and September, from the American troops leaving the hill

, 1814, not only defied, but invariably defeated leisurely, and voluntarily abandoning the the great power of Great Britain by land guns, as Ingersol represents, the real state and water, ending, perhaps fortunately, not of the case was, that the Americans did by the conquest of a British province, but abandon both the top of the hill and the discomfiture of British armies and fleets, guns, but that it was because a vigorous wherever Americans encountered them.” bayonet charge compelled them, and that It is most wonderful how Ingersol could the guns were recaptured about one hundred have penned such a sentence, when the real yards from the position originally occupied. We almost fancy Mr. Ingersol has been

* Chippewa and Lundy's Lane.

[ocr errors]

state of the case is considered, and the and pointing out how the affair should have grounds for Mr. Ingersol's boast disposed of. been conducted, asks whether, “if such

If we refer to the position occupied by the views had governed in the affair at Bridge Americans during one period of the year water, the trophies won on that occasion 1813, we find that nearly the whole of the would have been lost, or would the question western peninsula was in their possession, be yet unsettled, to which of the two armies with the single exception of the position at the victory belonged ?” Burlington heights, and if we trace the events This admission from General Armstrong of the war from that date we find that by is sufficient to settle the question as to whom the energy and strategic skill of Generals belonged the victory at Lundy's Lane; any Drummond and Murray, the whole of the admission by an American of doubt as to country thus occupied had been wrested whether “ they had whipped,” being, when from the invaders, that their strongest fort we consider the national character, tanta (Fort Niagara) had been stormed, that their mount to an acknowledgement of defeat. whole frontier had been devastated, and that, Mr. Ingersol traces in these battles the with the solitary exception of holding Fort origin and cause of peace. “Battles in Ca Erie, Mr. Ingersol had not the smallest ex- nada did more to make peace than all the cuse for giving to the world the statement solicitations at St. Petersburg and London, we have quoted above.

negociations and arrangements at Ghent. Mr. Ingersol, however, not satisfied with The treaty of Ghent without these battleg the above extraordinary assertions, goes still would have been the shame of the United a step further, and ascribes the success of States, and the beginning of another war.” the American troops in repelling subsequent We fully concur with Ingersol that these attacks, to the prestige of General Brown's battles had very much to do with producing valour. “Not less," writes the veracious peace, but we contend that it was the issue American, “ than six thousand five hundred of these battles, in conjunction with the other excellent British regular troops, without humiliating defeats which they had expericounting their hordes of Indians and Cana- enced, that brought a vainglorious and boastdian militia, had been routed, mostly killed ing people to a sense of their real power, wounded, captured, all demoralized and dis- and that, the remembrance of their signal couraged. In defiance of the mighty efforts discomfiture in Western Canada was suffiof the undivided strength of Britain, three or cient to outweigh the subsequent successes four thousand American troops held posses- at New Orleans, Plattsburg and elsewhere.' sion of that part of Canada.” This mere The “reflections on war" of Mr. Ingersol holding of that part of Canada (Fort Erie) are not less curious than his assertions us to was, also, found by Ingersol “inestima- the consequences of the battles of Lundy's ble in its beneficial natural consequences,” Lane and Chippewa. • To the student of as it defended the Atlantic seaboard “more history," he writes, when moralizing on the effectually and infinitely cheaper than a effects of what he claims as victories, “the hundred thousand militia could have done. view reaches further in the doctrine of warThe invasion of Canada kept a very large fare, its martial, political, and territorial hostile force occupied there. If Brown, in-effects. The battles which made Cromwell stead of two or three, had been eight or ten the master of Great Britain and arbiter of thousand strong, they would probably have Europe, which immortalized Turenne, and detained the British who captured Washing- which signalized the prowess of Spain, when ton from venturing there."

mistress of the world, were fought by small We could cite many more instances of Mr. armies of a few thousand men.” Ingersol's misrepresentations. It will, how Ingersol has here thrown new light upon ever, sufice to make instead a short one some most interesting periods of history, and from General Armstrong's “Notices of the we learn for the first time that the battles of War," who, after condemning Gen. Brown Naseby and Worcester in England were for fighting the battle “ by detachinents,” fought by armies of similar strength to that

General Order issued

Drummond.

of General Brown. Nor is the modesty less ficiency of transport provided for his bag. remarkable which compares General Brown gage, stores, and provisions, had not been and his campaign on the Niagara frontier remedied; and a great portion of it was now (one most signally condemned by General necessary to the accommodation of his Armstrong) with the exploits of one of Louis wounded and sick. The necessity of a reXIV.'s most celebrated commanders, the treat could be no longer concealed or delayed; man who, at the head of a large force, deso- and the consequence was, that a conlated the most fertile portion of Germany, siderable quantity of provisions, stores, and and carried desolation, whilst he inspired camp equipage, with a number of tents were fear, throughout the palatinate.

thrown into the river, or burnt." General Our historian forgot, when enunciating Wilkinson adds, “I have this fact from an the discovery that courage, strategy, and officer left with the command which perevery military virtue are as well displayed formed this duty.” on the smaller as the vaster scale, to compare

With this declaration before him Ingersol the campaign, or the Canadian tournament, and other Americans have the assurance to &8" he delights to call it, with Marathon or contend that a victory was gained, and that Thermopylæ. We have, however, devoted their troops retired in good order! sufficient space to Mr. Ingersol and his rea When claiming the action of Lundy's Lane sons for the causes “ which nerved the arms

as a victory, the Amerithat struck so powerfully for victory at the by Lieutenant General cans were always com Falls of Niagara."

pelled to qualify and The same misrepresentations which cha- explain, not so, however, General Drumracterize Ingersol, mark the various versions mond, who had the satisfaction of knowing given to the American people by Thompson, that his troops and their gallantry, on the O'Connor, and Smith, and, according to their memorable 25th of July, were duly appretales, the Americans, whose numbers ciated at head quarters, as the issuing of the they diminish by nearly one half, are repre following order testified:-sented as winning an easy victory over a

ADJ, General's OFFICE, force nearly double their own. For instance,

MONTREAL, 4th Aug., 1814. Mr. Thompson makes the British force, in The commander of the forces has the stead of sixteen hundred and thirty-seven, highest satisfaction in promulgating to the Only five thousand' one hundred and thirty troops, the District General Order, issued mon, and, last not least, he brings to the aid by Lieut. Gen. Drummond, after the action of the British General four of the fleet. When which took place on the 25th of last month, we remember that the river is not navigable, near the Falls of Niagara. His Excellency Owing to the rapidity of the current, above is desirous of adding to the meed of praise Queenston, which is eight miles from Lundy's so deservedly bestowed by the Lieutenant Lane, this mistake of Mr. Thompson will General on the troops, regulars, and militia, appear the more ridiculous.

who had the good fortune to share in this Before closing this account of the battle of brilliant achievement, the deep sense he

Destruction of stores Bridgewater, or Lundy's entertains of their services, and of the dis and baggage.

Lane, as it is commonly tinguished skill and energetic exertions of termed, we will give one short extract from Lieutenant General Drummond in the meaGeneral Wilkinson's memoirs. The General, sures which have terminated by repelling when noticing General Brown's orders the invaders from his Majesty's territories. to General Ripley to return for the guns he

The commander of the forces unites with had forgotten, writes, "finding the enemy so Lieutenant General Drummond, in sincerely strongly posted and in superior force, he judici- lamenting the grent loss which the service Ĉusly retired; and then a scene ensued has sustained by the severe wound received which has been carefully concealed from the by Major General Riall, and his subsequent public. By the improvidence of General untoward capture. It will be a most pleasBrown (the American Turenne) the de- ing part of the duty of the Comman

« PreviousContinue »