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» 8 I 7 






OF l8l2 





CAUTION — Please handle this volume with care 

The paper is very brittle. 


*•■•• — 



OF l8i2 

tio ..\"* 

C. Pr'LUCAS, C.B. 



-^3 7 

> > 









This book, intended to be an instalment of Canadian 
^ history, has been compiled as far as possible simply from 
Q the dispatches on both sides relating to the war. Nearly 
all of tiiem will be found printed in one or other of the 
following books : — The Annual Register ; the Appendices 
to James's Naval and Military Occurrences of the war ; 
Brannan's Official Letters of the Military and Naval Officers 
of the United States during the Wars with Great Britain 
in the Years 1812 to 1 815, Washington City, 1823 ; and the 
Documentary History of the Campaigns upon the Niagara 
Frontier^ collected and edited for the Lundy's Lane His- 
torical Society, by Lieut.-Col. E. Cruikshank, to whom 
students of the war owe a debt of gratitude. The different 
printed versions of the dispatches in these books do not 
always quite tally with each other. Among other Canadian 
books I have consulted Mr. Brymners Reports on Canadian 
Archives ; the second volume of Christie's History of the 
late Province of Lower Canada^ 1849 » Professor Hannay's 
History of the War of 181 a; and the eighth volume of 
Kingsford's History of Canada. Six out of the eight 
maps which accompany the letterpress are cotemporary 
American maps, which the Delegates of the Clarendon Press 
have been good enough to reproduce. They are from a 
little volume in the Colonial Office Library, entitled Military 
and Topographical Atlas of the United States including the 
British Possessions and Florida^ &c., by John Melish, 
Philadelphia, 1813. I wish to express my warm acknow- 
ledgments to Mr. C. Atchley, I.S.O., Librarian of the 
Colonial Office, for constant and kindly help given to me 
in this as in other books. 


May, 1906. 





i8i3 I 


X813 . 69 


1814-J815 156 


The Treaty of Ghent and General Summary 348 

Index 361 


* I. Map of thb Seat op War in North America To face p. i 

2. Map of thb Detroit Frontier ... »» 31 

*3. View of the Country round the Falls of 

Niagara », 41 

4. Map of the Niagara Frontier with inset 

OF the Peninsula of Ontario ... ,, 93 

*5. East end of Lake Ontario and River 
St. Lawrence from Kingston to French 
Mills „ 107 

*6. Map of theRiver St. Lawrence and adjacent 

country from Williamsburg to Montreal „ 129 

*7. Map of the Abibrican Coast from Lynhavbn 

Bay to Narragansett Bay ,219 

*8. Map OF New Orleans AND Adjacent Country „ 233 

* Reprodnctioas of cotemporary maps. 

THE WAR OF 1812 



Long before the war of 1812 between Great Britain and Caaaes of 
the United States of America broke out, the causes which of 1812. 
more directly led to it were at work. The first cause was 
interference with the carrying trade of neutral Powers by 
declaration of blockade on the part of belligerents. This 
system reached its climax when Napoleon after the battle | 
of Jena issued in 1806 the Berlin Decree, and Great 
Britain replied with the Orders in Council of 1807. The 
second cause was the right of search for deserters who 
had taken refuge or service on neutral vessels, which right 
was continuoudy and strenuously exercised by British 
admirals and captains. The third, and perhaps the 
main, cause — a complement of the second — was the 
impressment of sailors, whereby it was asserted that 
American citizens were constantly forced to serve on 
British ships. 

The second and third grounds of complaint were The 
illustrated by the incident of the Leopard and thef^^f 
Chesapeake in June, 1807. Deserters from a British ca«m- 
ship of war had taken service on an American frigate, the ^' * 
Chesapeake. The latter was followed out to sea by the 
British ship Leopard^ whose captain was acting under 
the direct orders of the British admiral at Halifax, Vice- 
Admiral Berkeley. The commander of the Chesapeake 
having demurred to the right of search, the Leopard fired 
on the American ship, killing and wounding some of the 
crew, and carrying off four prisoners, three of whom were 
subsequently daimed by the Americans as citizens of the 
United States, It was a high-handed proceeding, and, 
occurring as it did at a time of great poUtical tension, it 
caused much bitterness and excitement in America. Th^ 

vtam : WAS B 

THE WAR OF 1812 


British government, it is true, recalled the admiral and 
disavowed the action which had been taken under his 
instructions; but the incident brought up the whole 
question of the right of search^ and over four years 
passed before the American government accepted the 
reparation which had been offered. At length the 
Prince Regent's speech at the opening of Parliament on 
January 7, z8z2, the year in which war with the United 
States actually b^^» intimated that * while His Roydl 
Highness regrets that various important subjects of 
difference with the government of the United States of 
America still remain unadjusted, the difficulties which 
the affair of the Chesapeake frigate has occasioned have 
been finally removed '. 

The immediate result of the action of the LeoSa ri 
was much talk in the umted fetatea of invaHitip ^^ar^a. 
To this the acting Lieutenant-Governor of Low er Cana da 

Canadians answ< 



ent husiastic read iness 

to |ti^ ^T^f*^ ^ 


o nly — ^the effect of dispelling the bdief which was widdv 
si ^ead among tne Americans, that an invasion of Cana^ 
w bidd be a proc^^ ^i^n ^^^<'^"f^ « mi^nfrjr in o3^pft^hy 
wi th the invaders. 

inere was a good soldier at this time commanding the 
garrison at Quebec, Colonel Isaac Brock, soon to make 
his name in Canadian story; and, about four months 
after the collision between the two ships had taken place, 
on October 18, 1807, a new Governor-General of the two 
Canadas, Sir James Craig, landed at Quebec Crai{ 
governed Canada for nearly four years, leaving undet 
stress of ill health in Jime, 181 1. He was a soldier of 
high repute. In his younger days he had fought through 
the American War of Independence, and in later Ufe he 
had held commands and gained distinction in various 
parts of the world. Accustomed to order and to be 
obeyed, he came into collision with the dected Assembly 
in Lower Canada, and his peremptory and masterful 

THE WAR OF 1812 

methods were not to the minds of the French Canadians, I 

But his military reputation was no small asset to Canada. 

Correct in his attitude to the United States, giving no 

encouragement to the Indians as against the Americans, 

he was at the same time fearless and outspoken. In 

opening the session of the Legislature at Quebec in 

January, 1810, he spoke of the danger of war from * the 

high-sounded resentment of America', and added an 

assurance that in the event of hostilities Canada would ^ 

receive * the necessary support of regular troops in the 

confident expectation of a cheerful exertion of the interior 

force of the country '. It was good for Canada in these 

troubled years to have a firm, strong soldier for her 

ruler, whose experience and ability, as the Americans * 

must have known, had been well tried in war. 

At the b^iinning of the year 1809 Craig engaged Henry's 
John Henry, an Irish adventurer, who was then Uvingaadcor* 
at Montreal, on a confidential mission to the New England ^ 
states, to ascertain the feeling in that part of the American 
RepubUc towards Great Britain, and the probabilities of 
war. Henry, who had connexions in the United States 
and had lived there at one time, had made the acquain- 
tance of Ryland, the Governor-General's secretary, and 
while visiting Vermont and Massachusetts in the previous 
year, had corresponded with Ryland on the state of 
poUtical feeling in the Republic. In March, 1809, Madison 
succeeded Jefferson as President, and it was of much 
importance to obtain first-hand and trustworthy informa* 
tion as to the poUtical outlook. Henry wrote various 
secret and confidential letters, and expected as the result 
of his mission to be given some post under government. 
He went to England to urge his claims and, being dis« 
appointed, sold copies of his correspondence to Madison, 
who brought it before Congress at the beginning of the 
year 1812. The pubUcation of the letters, though they 
were of no great importance, tended to further embitter 
the minds of the Americans against the English. 

The old causes of dispute between the two nations, in 


4 THE WAR OF 1812 

spite of constant n^otiations into the intricacies of which 
it is not necessary to enter, had not been removed. In 
May, 1811, there had been another collision between 
The LHih a British and an American ship, the Little Belt and the 
the Pf»n- President^ both being ships of war, and either party 
dent. contending that the other had fired the first shot. Event- 
ually the American government took its stand on the 
ground that, while Napoleon had as from November i, 
1810, revoked the Berlin and Milan decrees, the British 
Orders in Council, which bore so hardly on neutral 
shipping, had not been withdrawn. The British govern- 
ment contended that the French decrees were still in 
force ; but Madison and his advisers would not admit 
the validity of their arguments. In November, 1811, 
the President called together G>ngress in special session 
War de- to consider the situation. On the following first of June 
Pr^^ he sent a message to Congress specif}Hng as grounds for 
Madison, war against Great Britain the non-revocation of the 
is^.'^' Orders in Coimdl, interference with American trade, 
practical blockade of American ports, impressment of 
American seamen, and instigation of Indian hostilities 
against the United States. The war party in Congress, 
too strong for the representatives of the northern states, 
carried an Act declaring war against Great Britain, and 
on Jime 19, 1812, Madison issued a formal Proclamation, 
announcing to the world that a state of war existed 
between the two countries. Four days later, on Jime 23, 
the British government withdrew the Orders in Coimcil, 
too late to avert war. 
Critical The year 1812 was one of the most critical years in 
pomti^ all the history of Great Britain. The insanity of King 
Britain in George III had in the previous year made a Regency 
^^"* necessary. In the spring of 1812 the Prime Minister, 
Perdval, was assassinated, and was succeeded by Lord 
Liverpool. In the Peninsula Wellington was making 
way against the French, for in 1812 Ciudad Rodrigo and 
Badajoz were stormed and the battle of Salamanca was 
won. On the other hand, the year x8x2 was the year 

THE WAR OF 1812 5^ 

when Napoleon invaded Russia in all the plenitude of 
his strength. On June 23 the vanguard of the great 
French army crossed the Niemen into Lithuania, and the 
winter, with the retreat from Moscow, was yet to come. 
A terrible burden was laid upon the eighteen millions 
who formed the population of the United Kingdom^ 
Year after year of war had strained the resources of the 
nation almost to breaking point, and the end was not 
yet in sight. The last thing that the British people or 
the British government desired was an additional foe to 
fight, especially an enemy so formidable as the United 
States of America were even in these early days of their 
history. The census of 1810 credited the Republic with Popuia- 
a population of yi millions^ including nearly i^ million ^|^^^ 
of slaves.^ Over 400,000 square miles were now under ©< the 
settlement : almost the whole of the Ohio valley was occu- states in 
pied, and Ohio had, in 1803, been admitted as a state into '^'^' 
the Union. Already, before the eighteenth century ended, 
Kentucky and Tennessee had been admitted, and in 1812, 
the year in which war was declared, Louisiana was consti^ 
tuted a state of the Union . There are no accurate statistics 
of the population of British North America at this time. 
In 1807 the population of Nova Scotia was estimated at 
65,000. In 1811 the estimate for Upper Canada was 
77,000. In 1814 the estimate for Upper Canada was 
95,000, and for Lower Canada 335,000. It may be taken Popnia- 
that in 1812 British North America had hardly more 3^1^ 
than half a million inhabitants of European descent, North 
against six millions of white residents in the United ^^^ 

At the beginning of the war the American General Hull, Remote- 
in a proclamation which he issued after crossing on to^^^^ 
Canadian soil over against Detroit, spoke of Canada as Canada 
'separated by an immense ocean and an extensive Q^t 
wilderness from Great Britain '. These words were not Britain. 

' President Madison, in his speech on taking the oath of office for 
this second term, March 4, 18x3, said, ' Our nation is, in number, more 
than half that of the British Isles.'— if niwa/ Regist$f for 1813, p. 395. 

6 THE WAR OF x8i2 

an inapt description of the realities of the case. The 
* immense ocean ' was then, as ever, Britain's highway, 
but it was a highway that could be kept open only by 
strength, efficiency, and vigilance. Under the stress of 
war with Napoleon, British ships were wanted in all 
parts of the world ; and, anxious as the King's govern- 
ment was to avoid any semblance of menace to the 
United States, the naval forces in the North American 
seas, whose head quarters were at Halifax, had not been 
sufficiently strengthened, before hostilities actually began, 
to give assured preponderance over American vessels. 
Decline Moreover, the British navy had deteriorated since Traf al« 
Bd^h S^» ^^ officers had become over-confident, and sufficient 
Navy. attention had not been paid to gunnery practice. The 
£^^^. American frigates, on the other hand, though few in 

loiceof number, proved to be far stronger and more effective 

American than had been anticipated by the British Admiralty, 

frigates, ^hile the poits and creeks of New England had bred, for 

generations past, a race of good seamen skilled in privateer* 

ing enterprise. Moreover, the security of Canada as a 

British possession depended not only on command of the 

sea, but also on command of the inland waters of the 

The im- Upper St. Lawreuce and Lakes Ontario and Erie. The 

g^^f® events of the war were to prove that this fact had not 

manding been sufficiently appreciated by the British government, 

waters ^^^ from Want of an adequate naval force on the lakes 

cUmtt * ^^^"^® ™^* ^^ ^^ disasters which befell Canada in the 

^^su^Mt war. Writing to Lord Bathurst on February 22, 1814, 

BnSh ^*^^ *^® destruction of the British flotilla on Lake Erie, 

govern- the Duke of Wellington said, * I beUeve that the defence 

"^^^ of Canada and the co-operation of the Indians depends 

upon the navigation of the lakes ; and I see that both 

Sir G. Prevost and Commodore Barclay complain of the 

want of the crews of two sloops of war. Any offensive 

operation founded upon Canada must be preceded by 

the establishment of a naval superiority on the lakes. . . . 

In such countries as America, very extensive, thinly 

peopled, and producing but Uttle food in proportion to 

THE WAR OF 1812 7 

extent^ militaiy q[>eratioiis by laiige bodies are 
impracticable, unless the party canying them on has the 
uninterrupted use of a navigable river or very extensive 
means of land tiansp(Mrt, n^ch such a country can rarely 

In previous wars Canada had meant Lower Canada. 
Invasion, defence or conquest of Canada had meant 
invasion, defence or conquest of Montreal and Quebec, 
with the intervaiing settlements on the St. Lawrence. 
Lake Ontario had been included in the area of operations. The main 
but little more than incidentally, as a starting point for ^^^^ 
expeditions through the Mohawk country against Albany was 
and New York, or down the St. Lawrence against Montreal. o£^a. 
There were important outposts at Kingston, once Cataraqui 
and the site of Fort Frontenac, at Osw^o, at Niagara, 
and further afidd still, on Lake Erie, at Detroit, at 
MichiUimaddnac ; but they were outposts only, outside 
the main zone of war. All this had been changed by 
the colonization of Upper Canada. Quebec was never 
even threatened in the later war ; Montreal was threatened 
only, it was never attacked. There was fighting on the 
old line of invasion, on Lake Champlain, and between 
the northern end of the lake and the St. Lawrence over 
against Montreal ; but with this excq>tion, the war, so 
far as Canada was concerned, was almost entirdy con- 
fined to Upper Canada, to the Upper St. Lawrence above 
Montreal, the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the 
Straits of Detroit ; the Niagara river between Ontario 
and Erie being the central point in the fighting. 

But for the water communication — and the water- Distance 
ways, as already stated, were insuffidently safeguarded- ^^^ 
the settled part of Upper Canada, the peninsula of Ontano, of com- 
was separated from the * immense ocean' by an *ex-^^^^ 
tensive wilderness '. Among the feats of the war it is Upper 
recounted how, in February and March, 1813, the 104th 
or New Brunswick regiment made a winter march from 
Fredericton to Quebec in a little under four weeks, on 

^ WMngUm'9 Dispatches (Garwood), 1838 ed.. rcL ii, p. 525. 

a THE WAR OF 1812 

its way to Upper Canada ; and how» exactly a year later, 
under Major Evans's guidance, the second battalion 
of the 8th regiment with a detachment of sailors was 
successfully brought through by the same route. When 
after the war in April, 1815, Sir George Prevost left 
Quebec for England, he travelled overland to St. John, 
New Brunswick ; and his death in the following January 
was attributed in part to the fatigue of ]oume3dng on 
foot in time of snow through the iminhabited country 
between the St. Lawrence and the St. John river.^ 
From Quebec to Upper Canada there were n^uiy miles 
to be covered by land or by water, and in Upper Canada 
itself the settlements were few, and the intervening 
distances were long. The difficulties which Lord Wolsdey 
encountered and stumounted in connexion with the trans- 
port of men and suppUes from Ontario to Fort Garry, 
now Winnipeg, on the Red River expedition of 1870, 
in a lesser degree in 1812 beset the movement of troops 
from the Atlantic coast to the further end of Lake Erie.' 
In a book on the war, published in 1818, the distance 
from Quebec to Amherstburg by the nearest route is 
given at 1,207 miles.' Amherstburg was a Canadian 

1 Christie's History of ths Lots Province of Lower Canada, 1849, vol. 
ii. p. 245. 

' ' One great peculiarity of our undertaking struck me forcibly at 
the time: that in an age, justly celebrated for its inventions and 
scientific progress, such a military expedition should start unaided in 
any fashion by either the steam engine or the electric telegraph. We 
were to depend exclusively upon sail and oar to reach our far>off 
destination, just as the Greeks and Romans had been forced to do in 
their foreign campaigns some twenty centuries before. Another 
curious fact was, that upon reaching our destination we should be as 
far from a telegraph station as Caesar was from Rome when he jumped 
ashore in Kent with his legions a little before the Christian era.' 
— ^Lord Wolseley's Story of a Soldier's Life, 1903, vol. ii, pp. 194-5. 

' A futt and correct account of the military occurrences of the late war 
hetween Great Britain and the United States of America, London, 1818, 
by William James, vol. i, p. 49. This book was an answer to publica^ 
tions on the war written on the American side, and its style resembles 
that of the rival editors in Pichwich. James had been a prisoner in the 
United States at the beginning of the war and had a violent animus 
against the Americans. He had already written A full and correct 

THE WAR OF 1812 9 

settlement near the outlet of the Detroit river into 
Lake Erie, and here a small British garrison was stationed. 
The distance must have been exaggerated, but there were The 
at least 800 to 900 miles of frontier between Quebec and ^^ 
the western end of Lake Erie exposed to American in- Can adi a n 
vasion. Further away again than Amherstburg, on 
St. Joseph's Island, at the lower end of the strait from 
Lake Superior into Lake Huron, there was another 
British outpost, within striking distance of the American 
station at MichiUimackinac, at the entrance of Lake 
Michigan. To watch this long frontier, and to hold the its scanty 
posts from 250 miles below Quebec to St. Joseph's Island, «a^«>^- 
there were, we are told, at fiist ^ but 4,450 British regulars The 
in the two Canadas, including four regiments of the line, j^^l^of 
the 8th, the 41st, the 49th, and the iooth.« The 8th, the fine 
now the King's (Liverpool) regiment, whose flag carries at the be- 
• Niagara ', was known in 1812 as the King's regiment of S^"^^^ 
foot. It had already seen much service in Canada, ji^^ 3^ 
having been sent out there in 1768. In 1773 detach- regiment, 
ments of the regiment had been placed in garrison 
at Niagara, Detroit, and other western stations; and, 
speaking generally, during the War of Independence the 
soldiers of the 8th were employed in what was then the Far 
West. In 1776 a small party of men from this regiment, 
imder Captain Forster, with Canadian and Indian auxi- 
liaries, descending from Ogdensburg towards Montreal, 
made a successful raid on the Cedars ; and in 1777 another 
detachment served under St. Leger on the abortive 
expedition which attempted to force its way from Oswego 
to Albany by the line of the Mohawk river, in co-opera- 

account of the chief naval occurrences in the war, and he subsequently 
wrote the well-known Naval History of Great Britain. 

' James, vol. i, p. 55. 

' The present zooth regiment, the Leinsters, which has for one of 
its titles 'The Royal Canadians', and bears 'Niagara' on its flag, was 
raised in Canada in 185 8, at the time of the Indian Mutiny^ nnder the 
titie of ' The Prince of Wales' Royal Canadian Regiment of Foot '. It 
is the heir of the looth ' Prince Regent's County of Dublin ' regiment 
which was raised in x 805, served in the war of z8 x 2, and was disbanded 
as the 99th in z8i8. 

zo THE WAR OF tSiz 

tion with the main advance of the British army imder 
Burgoyne. After the American war was over, in 1785, 
Associ- the regiment left Canada. It took part in the expedition 
Gaion*^ to Egypt and the battle of Alexandria^ being then com- 
Drum- manded by Gordon Drwnmond, under whose leadership 
Sr^ost ^ it came again in the later part of the war of i8i2» when 
Drwnmond was in command of all the forces in Upper 
Canada, From 1804 to 1815 a second battalion was 
added to the regiment* In 1808 the first battalion was 
again sent out to British North America, but to Nova 
Scotia, not to Canada, and was almost immediately sent 
on to the West Indies, for the taking of Martinique, 
being in this expedition associated with Sir George Prevost, 
then Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, and subse- 
quently at the time of the war of 1812 Governor-General 
of Canada. Prevost was in charge of the North American 
contingent for the Martinique expedition, and second in 
command of the whole force. The first battalion re- 
turned to Halifax in 1809, went to Quebec in 1810, and 
served through the whole war whidi followed. Mean- 
while six companies of the second battaUon were sent 
out to Halifax in 1810, and, as already stated, were 
marched up early in 1814 through the forest into Canada. 
The4i8t The 41st, the Welsh Regiment, saw more fighting than 
regiment ^^y Q^her regiment at the beginning of the war, and as 
much as any other throughout the war. *The 41st is 
an uncommonly fine regiment, but wretchedly officered,* 
wrote Brock, in September, 1812, having had it under his 
eye partly at Detroit, partly on the Niagara frontier. 
Four names recalling the vrar are on its flag — ^Detroit, 
The 49th. Queenstown, Miami, and Niagara. The 49th, now the 
Berkshire regiment, was Brock's own regiment. He had 
commanded it under Sir John Moore in North Holland, 
and in 1801, on board the fleet at the battle of Copenhagen, 
with Hyde Parker and Nelson. Right well the regiment 
fought on the Niagara frontier, notably at the battle of 
Queenstown, or Queenston, which name is on its flag. 
In the letter just quoted. Brock, who was then at Fort 

THE WAR OF 1812 ii 

George, wrote: *Six companies of the 49th are with 
me here, and the remaining fom" at Kingston, under 
Vincent* Although the regiment has been ten years in 
this country, drinking rum without bounds, it is still 
respectaUe, and apparently ardent for an opportunity to 
acquire distinction.' 

These four reffmesits of the line, including the xooth 
regiment, together with a small body of artillery, were 
supplemented by a few other local troops wliidi were 
classed as regulars, such as the Canadian Faidbles, the 
Canadian Voltigeurs, raised just as the war was about 
to begin, the Royzl Newfoundland regiment, the 104th 
or New Brunswick regiment, the Royal Veteran battalion, 
and the Glengarry Light Infantry. The Glengarry Light The Glen- 
bifantry deserves special mention. After the conclusion ^^^"^^ 
of the War of Independence, in the year 1784, the com- 
mander of a Lo}ralist regiment in that war applied to 
General Haldinoand on behalf of * the Highlanders and 
others of my r^^nent of the Roman Catholic and Pro- 
testant persuasions ... to indulge them to settle in 
8Q>arate bodies for the benefit of their religion \ The 
application was granted, and the Roman Catholic, Gaelic- 
speaking Highlanders, described as having been before 
the war * inhabitants of the back settlements of the pro- 
vince of New York', were given lands in what is still 
known as Glengarry county in the province of Ontario, 
touching the St. Lawrence at Lake St. Francis, and on 
the frontier of Lower Canada. There a Mr. Roderick 
BCacdoneU, in 1785, received permission to join them as 
their priest. In the year 1791 a number of Roman 
Catholic Highlanders in the old country who, we read, 
were turned out of their homes in the Highlands in con- 
sequence of the system of converting * small farms into 
large sheepwalks \ were about to emigrate to the United 
States when they were induced by their priest, Alexander Alex- 
MacdoneU, to settle in and near Glasgow, where he went ^^^^ 
to live among them at great personal risk, for the Nod<">^^- 
Popery spirit was strong at the time, and according to 

12 THE WAR OF 1812 

his own account, written many years afterwards, *na 
clergyman of his persuasion had hardly ventured to stay 
one night in that town since the mobs of 1780 ^ * — ^a 
reference to the time of the Lord George Gordon riots. In 
or about the year 1794, when war had broken out between 
revolutionary France and Great Britain, Alexander Mac* 
donellyon behalf of his flock^ offered to the Government that 
they should be embodied into a regiment to serve in any 
part of the British dominions, a rare offer for a body of 
Scotch Roman Catholics in the eighteenth century. The 
proposal was accepted, and a Roman Catholic regiment 
of Glengarry Fencibles was embodied for service in the 
United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and Ireland. The 
regiment served in Brock's native island of Guernsey, 
and in Ireland during the Irish Rebellion, where, with 
Alexander Macdonell as their chaplain and another 
Macdonell as their colonel, they did excellent service, 
combining marked loyalty to the Government with con- 
siderate treatment of their co-religionists whose rebellion 
they were assisting to quell. After the peace of Amiens 
the regiment was disbanded, and in March, 1803, the 
Secretary of State wrote to General Hunter, then Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of Upper Canada, that they were anxious 
to emigrate in a body to Canada, under the guidance of 
their faithful chaplain, and join their relations already 
settled in the province. They were described in this 
dispatch as * a body of Highlanders, mostly Macdonells, 
and partly disbanded soldiers of the late Glengarry 
Fencible regiment, with their families and connexions ' ; 
and, in view of * the merit and services of the regiment *, 
they were warmly commended to Hunter, who was 
instructed to allot them Crown lands, 1,200 acres to 
Alexander Macdonell, and 200 acres to every family 
whom he introduced. A year later, in April, 1804, the 
Secretary of State wrote again to the effect that circum- 

* See The Canadian Archives lor 1896, Note C. * The Roman Catholic 
Church in Upper Canada/ especially pp. 86-7. See also the preceding 
Note B, ' Anticipation of the war of 181 2 '. 

THE WAR OF i8ia 13 

Stances prevented the disbanded soldiers from going out in 
a body, but that Alexander Macdonell himself intended 
to emigrate, and he commended him to General Hunter. 
The latter answered that he would pay Macdonell every 
attention on arrival, and would have been glad to see 
the old soldiers of the Glengarry regiment settled in 
Upper Canada, for they had served under himself for 
a short time in Ireland, in 1798, and he had found them 
* a remarkably weU-behaved, well-disposed set of people '. 
The outcome was that, if the regiment as a whole did 
not emigrate, a large proportion at any rate followed 
Alexander Macdonell to Canada and there settled with 
their kinsfolk in the Glengarry district — a body of loyal 
Scotch Roman CathoUcs, on the frontier of Roman 
Catholic and French Canada, no small recommendation 
in the eyes of Isaac Brock, who before the war of 1812 
had, like Sir James Craig, no belief in the lo3^ty of the 
French Canadians. The next that we hear of the Glen- 
garry settlers is a proposal made by John Macdonell, 
lieutenant of the county of Glengarry, and described by 
Brock as * Lieutenant-Colond John McDonald, late of 
the Royal Canadian Volunteers ', for raising * a corps of 
Highland Fencible Infantry in the county of Glengarry, 
Upper Canada'.. This was in January, 1807, and an 
int^ral part of the scheme was to be the appointment of 
Alexander Macdonell as chaplain of the regiment, on 
account of his great influence with the men. Brock 
warmly supported the proposal, but the Imperial govern- 
ment negatived it for the time, as being one of various 
similar offers which had either proved or promised to 
be abortive. A. year later, in April, 1808, Sir James 
Craig wrote home sa}^g that, in view of the imminence 
of war with the United States, he had accepted the offer 
which the Secretary of State had put into his hands 
from the inhabitants of Glengarry county, *to raise 
a corps of Fencible men for these colonies of five hundred 
rank and file.' This would appear to have been the offer 
made in the preceding year, which the Imperial govern- 

14 THE WAR OF i8ia 

ment had refused ; and their attitude was justified, for 
at the end of llay, Craig wrote again saying that the seal 
of the Glengarry settlers was greater than their ability, 
that it was found impossible to raise the proposed number 
in a reasonable time, and that therefore he had cancelled 
the scheme. Nothing further was done in the matter till 
the years i8ii-i2. Eventually, in March, 1812, Sir 
George Prevost, Craig's successor, wrote to Lord Liverpool 
that in view of the state of public a&drs he had, without 
waiting for the King's commands, issued a warrant for 
raising a corps of Light Infantxy from among the Glen* 
garry settlers, that he wished to allot land to those who 
enlisted, and that he had prohilnted the enrolment of 
Canadians or Americans who had lately come in from the 
United States. Towards the end of May he wrote again, 
that the promise of a grant of land had proved a great 
mcentive to enlistment, and that the regiment was now 
complete, the number being four hundred, and the head 
quarters Three Rivers. Yet again he wrote in July, that 
in view of the strong indications of war he had authorized 
the strength of the regiment to be raised to six hundred, 
and recruits to be admitted from other districts besides 
Glengarry. His dispatch was crossed by one from the 
Home government, also written in July, and expressing 
a hope that the arrangements for raising the regiment 
might be abandoned, and that Prevost would find himself 
able safely to suspend all extraordinary preparations for 
defence ; but, when August came, another dispatch was 
written, giving the Prince Regent's sanction to raising 
the corps, the maximum number to be eight hundred, 
and land to be granted to each man when the regiment 
should be disbanded. Thus formed, the Glengarry Light 
Infantry served with distinction till the end of the war, 
Alexander MacdoneU, whose influence had largely created 
the new regiment, still serving with them as their chaplain 
and guide, and sharing their toils and privations in the 
field. He himself, in later years, became the first Roman 
Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada, deservedly honoured 

THE WAR OF 1812 15 

for his singolar loyalty and patriotism ; and the name of 
one Macdonell after another recurs in the annals of Upper 
Canada at Has troubled time, one after another doing 
good service for the land of their adoption. 

By the side of this handful of r^ular soldiers, the 
Canadian militia, and such Indians as were already in 
a chronic state of war with the United States, ranged 
themselves for the defence of Canada. The fact that 
Upper Canada was the main theatre of war and invasion 
meant that the Americans were faced by men who, above 
all others in the whole world, were most likely to offer ^^^ 
a stubborn resistance, viz. the United Empire Loyalists. United 
Hull's proclamation, to which reference has already been i^^sts. 
made, and which was only a sample of the bombastic 
proclamations which were freely issued on either side 
during the war, informed the Canadians that by joining 
the United States they would be * emancipated from 
tjnranny and oppression, and restored to the dignified 
station of freemen \ Brock, in his counter-proclamation, 
reminded the men whom HuU wished to detach from 
their British all^^iance, that it was not thirty years since 
Upper Canada had been settled * by a band of veterans 
exiled from their ionner possessions on account of their 
loyalty '. The Americans were, in fact, now to reap the 
harvest which they themselves had sown. Their treat* 
ment of the LoyaUsts had been at once unjust and un« 
generous. It had converted them into the bitterest and 
most determined foes ; and, with the record of the past 
still fresh in the minds of men, to offer freedom from 
oppressicm to the United Empire Lo}rali8ts of Upper 
Canada, while invading their country, was simply to suld 
insult to injury. 

But the settlers in Upper Canada were not all of the American 
Loyalist stock. In January, 1808, Gore, Lieutenant- JJJ^^®'* 
Governor of Upper Canada, reported to Craig that * the Canadian 

TV * * < renegades 

generality of the inhabitants from Kmgston to the borders in xj^er 
of the lower province may be depended upon *, but that Manila, 
he was not equally sure of the loyalty of the residents 

i6 THE WAR OF i8ia 

further west, round York, on the Niagara frontier^ and 
on Lake Erie. * Excepting the inhabitants of Glengarry/ 
he continued, *and those persons who have served in 
the American War, and their descendants, which form 
a considerable body of men, the residue of the inhabit- 
ants of this colony consist chiefly of persons who have 
emigrated from the States of America, and of consequence 
retain those ideas of equality and insubordination, much 
to the prejudice of this Government, so prevalent in that 
country.' ^ A number of Americans had come over the 
border into Ontario and taken up farms, as they had 
done also in the eastern townships of Lower Canada. 
Their sympathies were naturally with the United States, 
and by their side were men of more directly traitorous 
type, such as Willcocks, who had been a prominent 
opponent of the Government and who was subsequently 
killed fighting against Canada in the American ranks. 
At the beginning of the war Willcocks and his associates 
in the Legislature of Upper Canada defeated Brock's 
efforts to pass a supplementary MiUtia Bill, and to suspend 
the Habeas Corpus Act ; and in the later stages of the 
war American raids into Canada were aided and abetted 
by sympathizers living on Canadian soil. 

There were no French Canadians in Upper Canada 

except a few who lived over against Detroit on the 

Canadian side of the river, or who had come across from 

Brock's Detroit when war broke out ; and Brock's proclamation 

mation to ^^ ^^ inhabitants of Upper Canada, issued in reply to 

theciti- Hull's manifesto, was essentially the address of an 

Upper Englishman to Englishmen, warning the Loyalists of 

Canada, f^^ province against the possibility of annexation by 

France. The proclamation ran : * It is but too obvious 

that once exchanged from the powerful protection of 

the United Kingdom you must be re-annexed to the 

dominion of France. • . ; this restitution of Canada to the 

empire of France was the stipulated reward for the aid 

afforded to the revolted colonies, now the United States ; 

^ Report OQ Canadian Archives for 1896, Note B, p. 35. 

THE WAR OF 1812 17 

the debt is still due, and there can be no doubt but the 
pledge was renewed as a consideration for commercial 
advantages, or rather for an expected relaxation in the 
t3rranny of France over the commercial world/ There 
was not the slightest danger that the United States, if 
they conquered Canada, would give it back to France; 
and the war was to show, if evidence were needed, that 
no bait of the kind was likely to induce French Canadians 
to favour a preliminary conquest by the United States ; 
but Brock's words show what was the feeling of the time, 
and how in Upper Canada resistance to American in- 
vasion was identified with the world-wide struggle in 
which Great Britain was engaged against Napoleon. 
There was some reason at the moment for uneasiness French 
with r^;ard to the French Canadians, for when, on the fo^^** 
declaration of war, the militia was embodied in the Montreal 
district, a serious riot took place at Lachine, which was 
only put down with the help of regular troops. On the 
other hand, the Quebec l^slature showed itself to be at 
least as lo3ral as the Assembly of Upper Canada, and, 
while declining to take any steps to facilitate martial law, 
passed an act authorizing the issue of army bills to make 
good the want of ready money, and guaranteeing the 
interest on them and their ultimate redemption. 

One considerable asset Canada had in the adhesion of The 
a large number of fighting Indians, under the leadership of ]^^ of 
a notable man, Tecumseh. He was a Shawnee chief, one Canada, 
of the Western Indians who were being ever dispossessed Tecumseh. 
of their lands by the backwoodsmen of the American 
Republic. He was one of three brothers, anotiier of whom 
was a so-called prophet such as from time to time arise 
among native races. He had already fought hard for 
his people, and, in November, 1811, had taken a foremost 
part at the Battie of Tippecanoe, a tributary of the 
Wabash river, in what is now the state of Indiana, when 
the American General Harrison inflicted a decisive defeat 
upon the confederated Indians. When die war of 1812 
broke out he was in the prime of manhood, having been 

18 THE WAR OF i8ia 

born in 1769 or 1770, and he had the outward appearance 
as well as the qualities of a leader of men. He stands out 
in Indian history, with Pontlac and Joseph Brant, as one 
Of the few red men who were more than savages. Like 
Pontiac, he had the conception of combining the various 
tribes in self-defence against the constant encroachments 
of the white men ; but his character was nobler than that 
of Pontiac, and, as far as was in his power, he checked 
the butcheiy which was the usual accompaniment of 
Indian war. He was a chivalrous enemy and a high^ 
minded man. While Brock lived he was his fast friend, 
finding in him a kindred spirit ; and the one and the other 
met the brave man's death in the forefront of the battle. 
Isaac It was well for Canada, and well for England, that Isaac 

Brock had the keeping of Upper Canada in the early da}^ 
of the war. Veiy fortunately he was not only in command 
of the troops, but also, after the Lieutenant-Governor, Gore, 
leftfor Englandin October, i8ii,incha]:geofthecivilgovem* 
mentalso. Brock, on a smaller scale, is the nearest approach 
to Wolfe in Canadian history, resembling him in chivalrous 
patriotism, in fearlessness which did not wait to count odds, 
in personal influence over the men he led, white men and 
coloured alike. Like Wolfe, though in a less degree, he 
had a short and brilliant career, being killed in his forty- 
fourth year ; and his death on the battlefield on Queenston 
Heights recalls the more memorable death on the Plains 
of Abraham. Either hero fell in a victorious fight ; but, 
less fortunate than Wolfe, Brock knew not when he died of 
the coming victory. He was like Wolfe, too, in that he 
was a wdl-trained soldier, having served his military 
apprenticeship carefully and well. The criticism passed 
upon him after death by a good soldier, his Brigade-Major 
at Fort George, Thomas Evans,^ was that * his high spirit 
would never descend to particulars', and that therefore 

' Afterwards General Evans ; an account of him is given in Kings- 
ford's Hisiory of Canada, vol. viii. p. 239. For the above letter, which 
was dated Jan. 6, 18 13, see The Documsntary Hisiory of th$ Campaign 
an the Niagara Frontier in 18 13 (Lundy's Lane Historical Society), 
Parti, 1813, p. 3a 

THE WAR OF 1812 19 

under his command, details, which were none the less 
essential, were neglected. The same writer, however, 
while criticizing, bore witness that Brock's * high personal 
merits stood recorded in almost eveiy act of his valuable 
life'. Brock was bom in Guernsey, in 1769; and he 
entered the army, when not yet sixteen, in 1785. At first 
in the 8th regiment, he afterwards exchanged into the 
49th, which, as already stated, he commanded in Holland 
at the Battle of Egmont-op-Zee, and at the Battle of Copen- 
hagen. He went out to Canada with his raiment in 
1802, and with a short interval served there continuously 
till the day of his death. Two or three days before he 
fell, he was gazetted in London as a Knight of the Bath ; 
and he is known as Sir Isaac Brock, though he never bore the 
honour in his Uf etime. A memorial at the public expoise 
was set up to his memory in the southern transept of 
St. Paul's Cathedral, the inscription on which runs as 
follows : * Erected at the Public Expense To the Memory 
of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock Who gloriously fell on 
the 13th of October MDCCCXII in resisting an attack on 
Queenstown, Upper Canada*; and a stately monument 
marks the scene of his death on Queenston Heights.^ 

Of a widely different type was the other leading figure 
in Canada in the year 1812. The Governor-General, Sir 
George Prevost, had reached Quebec from Halifax, and^®^^** 
entered on his office on September 14, 1811. He was bom 
in New Jersey, where his father was then stationed, in 
1767, a son of the general who, after being wounded at 
Fontenoy and serving under Wolfe in 1759, subsequently 
in the War of Independence held Savannah against a com- 
bined attack of French and Americans under D'Estaing 
and Lincoln. The elder Prevost was a Swiss, a native of 

1 The original monument, erected in pursuance of an act of the 
Legislature of Upper Canada passed in i8i 5, was blown up by an Irish 
American on Good Friday » 1840, and Charles Dickens in his American 
Notes, to which reference is made in the account of Brock in the 
DicUonary of NaHonal Biography, mentions its dilapidated condition 
when he visited the place. A great public meeting was held on the 
spot in 1 841. and the outcome was the present fine monument. 



20 THE WAR OF i8ia 

Geneva, and like others of his countiymen had entered 
the British service as an officer of the Ro3ral Americans. 
In 1765, he married at Lausanne Mademoiselle Grand of 
that town, whose family were friends of Gibbon,^ and who 
became the mother of the Governor-General of Canada. 
The younger Ptevost was therefore entirely of Swiss 
parentage. His first commission was in the 6othy the 
Ro3ral Americans, he was promoted into the 28th raiment, 
and subsequently went back to the 60th. His active 
military service before the war of 1812 was almost entirely 
in the West Indies. There he served with distinction in 
the years 179S-6, especially in the island of St. Vincent, 
where he commanded the troops and received an address 
from the Legislature. In 1798, he was appointed military 
commandant in St. Lucia, and, on the petition of the 
French inhabitants of that island, with whom he was veiy 
popular, was made civil governor of the island in May, 
1801. In the following year, on Christmas Day, 1802, he 
was appointed Governor of Dominica, and for his successful 
defence of the island against the French in 1805, he was 
created a baronet. In December, 1808, he was appointed 
Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, and in that year and 
in 1809,- took part, as second in command, in the successful 
expedition against Martinique. He was held in high 
esteem in Nova Scotia, as he had been in the West Indies : 
and, when he became Governor-General of the Canadas, 
his conciliatory attitude, which presented a strong con* 
trast to the high-handed downrightness of Sir James 
Craig, coupled with his knowledge of French communities 
and intimate knowledge of the French language, endeared 
him to the French Canadians, who retained their liking 
and esteem for him to the end. He was beyond question 
a man of high character and attainments, one of those 
who do excdlent work under ordinary circumstances or 
in minor positions, but who in times of exceptional diffi- 

* 'Let me tell yoa a piece of Lausanne news. Kannette Grand is 
married to Lt.-Col. Prevost.' Gibbon to Holroyd, Benton, Oct. 31. 
1765. Gibbon's MisceUamous Works, 18 14 ed., vol. ii, pp. 63-4. 

THE WAR OF 1812 21 

culty and danger are not found equal to supreme respon- 
sibiUty. During the war he was lacking in nerve and 
resolution ; and, although he did good service by attaching 
to himself, and therefore in a measure to the government 
which he represented, French Canadian feeling, Canada, 
at this critical time, had better have been in the strong 
hands of Sir James Craig. 

In the first days of his government, however, Prevost's Prevost'i 
personal popularity at Quebec and his courtesy to the^?* 
opponents of Sir James Craig, much criticized by Ryland with the 
and the adherents of the late governor, brought about a ^^^ 
more amenable spirit in the Assembly; an important di&ns. 
result of which was that they passed in the spring of i8i2 
a useful Militia act, and voted Uberal sums to cover the Militia 
expenses connected with it. Under this act, at the end ^^^ ^y 
of May, immediately before the American declaration of ti^eiu^is- 
war, four battalions of militia were embodied. Three lo^^ 
years later, on the day of Ptevost's departure fromC*nada. 
Quebec, April 3, 1815, an address presented to him by 
residents in that dty stated that on his arrival the 
governor had found the majority of Canadians * irritated 
by the unfortunate effects of misunderstandings of a long 
duration ', but that he had * soon allayed eveiy discontent, 
and rallied the whole population for the common defence. 
Under the happy influence of harmony thus restored, the 
miUtia was assembled and trained, and an exhausted 
Treasury replenished '. This was a French Canadian view 
of a governor who conciliated and possibly courted French 
Canadians, but the statement was in the main a true 
presentation of the case. In judging Prevost, it must 
be further remembered that he served a government 
which was dragged with the utmost reluctance into war 
with the United States, and was ready to welcome any 
reasonable chance of peace. There was therefore a 
standing excuse for a not veiy resolute man to refuse to 
take strong measures, when the possibility of milder 
alternatives presented itself. Yet, when all has been said 
which can be said, one of the many difficulties which 

22 THE WAR OF 1812 

Want of Canada was called upon to surmount in these critical years, 

^(nr^w ^'^sis the want of a leader of the type of Carleton, or even of 
wCanada. Sir James Craig. 

The Americans, in their turn, though their fighting 

strength was overwhdming compared with that of Canada, 

ThA had no easy task on hand. If Canada was vulnerable, so 

Umted aigQ y/^^^ the United States. If the wealth, resources, and 

were an- population of the United States enormously exceeded those 

forthe^ of Canada, in the same proportion the United States had 

war and more to lose. The burning of the pubUc buildings at 

nmble.^' Washington was precisely the same in kmd as the bum. 

ing of the buUdings at York or Newark, but it was 

different in dc^gree. The war laid open the inland borders 

of the RqmbUc to Indian raids, and it exposed the whole 

length of the populated Atlantic seaboard to attack by 

the first sea-power of the world. There was no adequate 

military organization ; there was a want of trained 

soldiers and trained generals ; the war was in its inception 

a war of offence not of defence, and the weakness of a 

confederation was not, as in the War of Independence, 

counteracted by the sense of fighting for freedom, for 

I'he hearth and home. The nation in fact was divided against 

nation itself, and the New Englanders, who had been the most 

^ded^i strenuous opponents of Great Britain in the War of 

feeling Indq>endence, from first to last had not thdr hearts in 

gard tT *^^ ^^^ ^''^^' I^ 180S, John Henry wrote to Ryland that 
the war. the people of Vermont were indignant at the Non-Inter- 
course act which had lately been passed by Congress ; the 
feeling being that the interests of the northern states 
were not rq;arded in the councils of the nation ; that the 
leading men in Boston ware opposed to war with England ; 
and that after a few more months of the non-intercourse 
poUcy the New England states would be ready to withdraw 
^^^ from the confederacy. In February, 1809, he wrote, 
northern ' there is good ground at present to hope that the states 
^(Mgly ^^ Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hamp- 
oppoMd shire, and Vermont will resist every attempt of the French 
party to involve the United States in a war with Great 

THE WAR OF i8ia 23 

Britain * ; and, a little later, that New York had thrown in 
its lot with the northern states.^ 

The voting in Congress on the act which embodied the The 
declaration of war told much the same tale. Every ^^^^ 
representative of South Carolina, both in the House oto^^ede- 
Representatives and in the Senate, voted for war ; every of war. 
representative of Connecticut in both houses voted 
against it. A very large majority of representatives in the 
lower House from Pennsylvania and Virginia voted for 
war ; a majority from Massachusetts, and a large majority 
from New York, voted against it. The far southern 
states, where at the outset of the War of Independence the 
Lo3ralist party had been specially strong, were now most 
unanimous in favour of war with England, The northern 
and commercial states to whom Non-Intercourse acts 
without open war had brought disaster, were, with good 
reason, most opposed to it. On the same groimds, in 
the later as in the earlier war, the preponderating feeling in 
New York was, at any rate at first, in favour of peace with 
Great Britain. 

On July 15, 1812, the month following the declaration of 
war, Prevost wrote to Lord Liverpool, * In the present 
state of politics in the United States, I consider it prudent 
to avoid eveiy measure which can have the least tendency 
to unite the people of America. Whilst discussion pre- 
vails among them, their attempts on the British American 
provinces will be feeble. It is therefore my wish to avoid 
committing any act which may even by a strained con- 
struction tend to unite the eastern and southern states, 
unless from its perpetration we are to derive an immediate, 
considerable, and important advantage.' 

In the northern states opposition to the war was stimu- The New 
lated by antipathy to Napoleon and his S3rstem. Fifteen ^^m"^ 
hundred inhabitants of the county of Rockingham in strongly 
New Hampshire addressed a memorial to the President ^^^ 
against the war, concluding their address with the fol-J^gf^^ 

V Jleqry's letten are printed in the Repori on ths Canadian Archives N<^POl«on- 
far 1896, Note B, Anticipation of the war of 18x3. 

24 THE WAR OF 1812 

lowing words : ^ On the subject of any French connexion, 
whether close or more remote, we have made up our minds. 
We will, in no event, assist in uniting the Republic of 
America with the military despotism of France. We will 
have no connexion with her principles or her powar. If her 
armed troops, under whatever name or character, should 
come here, we shall regard them as enemies.' After the 
war had begun, on September 17 and 18, 1812, a conven- 
tion of delegates from thirty-four cities and counties of 
the state of New York was held to protest against it at 
Albany, hard by the head quarters of the American army. 
The delegates resolved *that they contemplate with abhor- 
rence even the possibility of an alliance with the present 
Emperor of France, eveiy action of whose life has demon- 
strated that the attainment by any means of universal 
empire, and the consequent extinction of eveiy vestige of 
freedom, are the sole objects of his incessant, unbounded, 
and remorseless ambition ^ '. On August 25, the General 
Assembly of the state of Connecticut in special session 
condenmed the war, and resolved ' that we view with 
inexpressible concern the course of that destructive policy 
which leads to a connexion with the military despotism of 
France ' \ War with England clearly involved the possi- 
bility of alliance with those who were warring with England. 
War with England, therefore, on this ground as on others, 
was repugnant to a large body of citizens in the freedom- 
loving northern states of the Union. At the beginning of 
the war, the flags were flown half-mast high in Boston 
harbour. Before it ended, del^[ates of the New England 
states had, in December, 1814, met at the Hartford 
Convention, meditating secession from the Union. In 
short, on the American side as on the British, it was a half- 
hearted war. The only party to it who were in the main 
quite heart-whole, fighting few against many in defence 
of their homes, were the people of Canada. 

^ Annual Register for 1812, p. 30i. 

* Quoted in Read's Life and Times of Major-Generai Sir Isaac Brock, 
K^.t Toronto. 1894, p. 193. 

THE WAR OF 1812 25 

^ The war opened with British successes. The first was The b^- 
in the far West. On learning that war had been declared, S^^. 
Brock sent instructions to the officer commanding the post 
on St. Joseph's Island, near to the Sault Ste Marie, giving 
him discretion to attack or defend as circumstances might 
dictate. The instructions were received on July 15, and 
the officer in question. Captain Roberts,^ considering his Bfichiiu. 
post to be indefensible and hearing that large reinforce- uS^hy 
meats were likely to reach the American garrison ^t^^^ 
Michillimackinac, determined immediately to attack that force, 
place, which was between forty-five and fifty miles distant. 
With the help of the agent of the Hudson's Bay G>mpany, 
at ten o'clock on the following morning, the i6th, he 
embarked his small force consisting of some forty-five 
men of the loth Battalion of Royal Veterans, about 180 
Canadians, and some 400 Indians, together with two iron 
six-pounders. At three o'clock on the morning of the 17th 
he landed near the fort of Michillimaddnac, and before ten 
o'clock had taken up a position completely commanding 
it. The garrison, which consisted only of sixty-one men 
in all, of whom fifty-seven were effectives, were then 
summoned to surrender ; and at noon the capitulation 
was completed, and the fort with all that it contained 
passed into British possession. 

Not a shot had been fired. It was merely a case of 
a handful of men at a dbtant outpost having to surrender 
to a larger force which had them at their mercy ; but the Effect 
enterprise was of some importance, mainly because of the ^^^ 
effect which it had upon the minds of the Indians. The saocess 
first notable incident in the war had been a little expedition i^I^liis.^ 
on the British side, bold, well-managed, and thoroughly 
successful. The result had been the capture of one of 
the historic points in the west, where for many generations 

^ Captain Roberts's diq)atch is given in Appendix I to VoL I of 
James's MUtiary Occurrences, p. 353. No. 3 in the same Appendix 
(P- 355) >* ^^ diqMktch of the American commander, Lieutenant 
Hanks, which differs widely from the copy given at p. 34 of Official 
LeUers of ike Military and Naval Officers of the Untied Stales during the 
War with Great Britain in the years 18x2-15, collec t ed and arranged 
by John Brannan, Washington City, 1833. 

ii6 THE WAR OF 1812 

Indians and white men had been wont to congregate. 
After his surrender at Detroit, General Hull, in his dis- 
patch to the American Secretaiy at War, pleaded that the 
capture of MichiUimackinac had led to a general rising of 
the Indians, who cut hi^ communications and largely con- 
tributed to his misfortunes. * After the surrender of 
MichiUimackinac,* he wrote, * almost every tribe and 
nation of Indians, excepting a part of the Miamis and 
Delawares, north from beyond Lake Superior, west from 
beyond the Mississippi, south from the Ohio and Wabash, 
and east from every part of Upper Canada and from all 
the intermediate country, joined in open hostility, under 
the British standard, against the army I commanded. . . » 
The surrender of MichiUimackinac opened the northern 
hive of Indians, and they were swarming down in every 
direction.* Allowing for the fact that the writer was 
anxious to find excuses for the disaster which had befallen 
his army and himself, there is still no reason to doubt that 
this little initial success brought to the English and 
Dread of Canadians a number of Indian allies. Neither is there 
2^"*"®' any reason to doubt that such incidents as the surrender 
Indiana, of MichiUimackinac were largely determined by dread, in 
case of resistance, of wholesale massacre at the hands of 
the Indians. In his dispatch reporting the capitula- 
tion, the American commander. Lieutenant Hanks, 
wrote that he took the step * from the conviction that 
it was the only measure that could prevent a general 
massacre ' ; and the Americans published a corroborating 
letter from an Englishman who was in charge of some of 
the Indians who took part in the expedition, in which the 
statement was made, * It was a fortunate circumstance 
the fort capitulated without firing a single gun, for had 
they done so, I firmly beUeve not a soul of them would 
have been saved.' As it was, not a hair of a head was 
touched, nor was there piUage of any kind. Cases occurred 
later in the war of massacres by Indians serving on the 
British side. On the other hand, it must be remembered 
that the Americans as weU as the English employed 

THE WAR OF 1812 27 

Indians when they could enlist their services, and the 
greatar readiness of the Indians to follow the English lead 
was evidence of the better treatment they had received in 
Canada than in the United States. Hull's proclamation 
gave no quarter even to any white man who might be 
taken prisoner, while fighting side by side with an Indian. 
Brock, in his counter-proclamation, laid down firmly and 
bravely the principle that the natives * are men and have 
equal rights with all other men to defend themselves and 
their property when invaded, more eq>ecially when they 
find in the enemy's camp a ferocious and mortal foe using 
the same warfare which the American commander affects 
to reprobate *. 

The American plan of campaign, at the beginning of the The 
war, included invasion of Upper Canada at either end of pUnof^^ 
Lake Erie* The Detroit river was to be crossed at the campaign 
western end of the lake, the Niagara river at the north- i^per 
eastern. The line of length of Lake Erie is from south-west Canada. 
to north-east ; the Detroit river runs into the lake almost Lake 
at right angles from north to south, and the Niagara rivar ^^ 
runs out of the lake, again almost at right angles, from 
south to north. The lake itself is about 250 miles in length, 
and some sixty miles wide at its broadest point. On the 
Canadian side there was, in 1812, no fort or naval d6p6t 
between the mouth of the Detroit river and the entrance 
of the Niagara. On the American side, on the other hand, 
the stations of Presque Isle and Sandusky had already 
taken their place in history ; and so had the Miami or 
Maumee rivar, flowing into the west end of the lake well 
within American territory. At what were known as the 
Miami rapids, about twelve miles up the river, as well as 
higher up, there had been forts already ; and a new fort, 
christened Fort Meigs, in honour of the governor of Ohio 
at the time, was constructed at the rapids in the course 
of the war. The American naval station on the lake was Erie or 
at Presque Isle. Presque Isle had been in former days the ]^S^^ 
starting-point and first fort on the route from Lake Erie 
to Fort Duquesne at the junction of the rivers which form 



THE WAR OF 1812 


of the 

of the 

the Ohio. The harbour was known as Presque Isle ; the 
little town which was growing up upon it was called Erie ; 
and here, defended by a battery and a blockhouse, the 
Americans, as the war went on, built and refitted the ships 
which eventually commanded the lake. 

The Detroit river flows with a westerly course out of 
Lake St. Clair. At a point rather over twenty miles from 
Lake Erie, where theriver makes a sharp curve to the south, 
on its western, the American side, stood the old French 
settlement of Detroit, founded in the first year of the 
eighteenth century by La Mothe Cadillac, and brought 
into prominence in the war with Pontiac. The French 
Canadians had settled on both sides of the river, and 
Detroit itself at this time contained some 800 inhabitants, 
protected by the fort which stood behind, not inunediatdy 
on the bank of the river. The river is here half a mile 
wide or a little more; the present Canadian town of 
Windsor, which stands directly opposite Detroit, was not 
then in existence ; but three miles lower down on the 
Canadian side was the small village of Sandwich. About 
sixteen miles below Sandwich, on the Canadian side, and 
within three miles of the outlet of the Detroit river into 
Lake Erie, was the rather larger village of Amherstburg, 
which was the principal British settlement in these parts 
and the nearest approach to a port and naval d6pdt. On 
the northern side of Amherstburg was a very weak f ortifica- 
tion known as Fort Maiden, which was held by a few 
soldiers ; and two or three miles to the north again the 
Sandwich road crossed a stream called the Riviere aux 
Canards. Over against Amherstburg, on the American 
side, was the village of Brownstown on the Huron river ; 
and between the Huron river and the Maumee river was 
the Riviere au Raisin, running into the open lake with 
a settlement called Frenchtown upon it. 

At the other end of Lake Erie, the waters of the lake are 
carried into Lake Ontario by the Niagara river, which 
has a length of thirty-six miles in all from lake to lake, 
twenty-two miles of the river being above the falls and 

THE WAR OF 1812 29 

fourteen below. On the American shore of Lake Erie, 
just outside the entrance of the Niagara river, stands the 
dty of Buffalo, which in 1812 was a village, and appears 
on the plan in James's Military Occurrences of the war as 
* Buffaloe or New Amsterdam '• Rather over two miles 
to the north on the same side, standing on the Niagara 
river, was Black Rock, which, at the beginning of the war, 
if not before, was fortified and held as a military post. 
Here there was a ferry, the river having narrowed to the 
width of half a mile. On the opposite Canadian side, 
midway between Buffalo and Black Rock, was the British 
Fort Erie, immediately at the entrance of the river, 
which is here about a mile wide. Between nine and 
ten miles from the outlet from Lake Erie the Niagara is 
divided into two streams by Grand Island, nearly eight 
miles long and twenty-six square miles in area. Over 
against the northern end of the island, on the American 
shore, five miles above the falls, is the mouth of the 
Cayuga Creek, where La Salle in 1679 built and launched 
his ship The Griffin. On the same side, further to the north 
and further down stream, is Schlosser Landing, the site 
of old Fort Schlosser, two miles above the falls, where 
French and English alike had held a post in the eighteenth 
century, which by this time had been abandoned ; and 
lower down again on the same side, only a mile above the 
falls, was the old French landing, the upper end of La 
Salle's first portage round the falls in the winter of 
1678-9. On the Canadian side of the river, about two 
miles above the falls, was and is the village of Chippawa. 
Nearly seven miles below the falls, halfway between them 
and Lake Ontario, stand the villages of Queenston on 
the Canadian side of the river, Lewiston on the American. 
They stand at the end of the lower rapids ; the river is 
here still less than 250 yards wide, with a swift current ; 
and the heights overlooking the villages, on their southern 
side, are over 300 feet above the water. They are part 
of a transverse ridge running east and west, through which 
the river has cut its way. At Lewiston, at the b^;inning 

30 THE WAR OF 1812 

of the war, were the head quarters of the American army 
on the Niagara frontier. Rather over six miles lower down, 
on the Canadian side, there was a British fort. Fort George, 
standing on the bank above the river, and covering a 
group of buildings by the water's edge, one of which was 
' Navy Hall *, the fi^t head quarters of Simcoe, the first 
Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Rather less than 
a mile lower down again, on the same side, near where the 
river flows into Lake Ontario, was the village of Newark, 
now Niagara on the Lake, the first capital of Upper 
Canada. At the extreme point between the lake and the 
river, on the Canadian side, there had been an old fort, 
Fort Missassauga ; but Fort Niagara, which played so 
great a part in Canadian history from the days of La Salle 
onwards, stood opposite Newark on the American side, 
near where the village of Youngstown now stands. When 
the war opened it was a strong post, well fortified and 

It has been stated that Captain Roberts, at the far-ofi 
station on St. Joseph's Island, received Brock's instructions 
on July 15. The first news of the declaration of war, how- 
ever, had reached him a week earlier. The act of Congress 
declaring war was approved by President Madison on 
June 18, and on the 19th he issued his proclamation. 
News of Through the prompt action of the friends of Great Britain 
ds^tioii ^^ ^^^ York, or of American citizens who had commercial 
of war interests at stake. Sir George Prevost received the news at 
v^ early Qnebec on June 24 or 25, and Brock received it at York 
inCanada, qh the 27th. On the 30th it reached the conmiander of 
the little British garrison at the fort at Amherstburg, and 
on July 8 it reached St. Joseph's Island. Information 
through the ordinary o£Gicial channels was long delayed. 
Hull's General Hull under the instructions of Dr. Eustis, the 
force American Secretary of War, had, before May ended, taken 
Detroit Command of the army intended to invade Canada on the 
frontier. D^tj-Qjt frontier. It consisted of militia and volunteers 
from Ohio and Michigan, together with one regiment of 
regular troops. He was moving forward from the Maumee 

Tbfeca P<W»t<* 

THE WAR OF 1812 31 

river towards Detroit, when he heard, on July 2, that war 
had been definitely declared ; and on the same day a 
schooner, which was bringing by water from the Miami 
rapids to Detroit baggage and stores for his force, together 
with important information as to its numbers and the plan 
of campaign, was intercepted off Amherstburg and fell 
into British hands. On July 5 Hull reached Detroit with 
some 2,500 men. After bombarding the village of Sand- 
wich, where the British were beginning to construct a 
battery, he crossed the river on the night of July 11, and, HuU 
occupjnng Sandwich from which the British troops had ^^^ 
retired, on the 12th issued his proclamation to the Cana- Canada, 
dians, to which reference has already been made. The 
whole British force on the Detroit frontier at the time 
consisted of a small detachment of artillery, 100 men of 
the 41st regiment, 300 of the Canadian miUtia, and about 
150 Indians led by Tecumseh. The commander of the 
force was Colonel St. George, and the only fortified position, 
with very weak defences, was Fort Maiden at Amherstburg. 
Had Hull marched in strength on the fort immediately 
after he had effected the passage of the river, there can 
be little doubt but that the fort must have fallen, and the 
British garrison been annihilated ; but the American 
general, who afterwards gave as his reason for delay the 
necessity of mounting his heavy guns on wheels, contented 
himself in the meantime with dispatching raiding parties, 
to collect supplies and to bring over Canadian residents to 
the American cause. According to his own account, they 
' penetrated sixty miles in the settled part of the province ' ; 
in General Brock's words, they ' ravaged the country as 
far as the Moravian Town ' on the line of the river Thames. 
Detachments too were sent out, who on two or three 
occasions skirmished with Tecumseh's Indians on the 
Riviere aux Canards, and with a British outpost who held 
the bridge over that stream on the Sandwich road. 

On hearing of the American invasion, Brock made 
arrangements to send reinforcements down the river 
Thames, which flows into Lake St. Clair above Detroit ; 

32 THE WAR OF 1812 

Colonel but the party was delayed, and he sent off Colonel Procter 
^t^by ^^ ^^ 4^^^ regiment to take command at Amherstburg. 
Brock Procter reached Amherstburg towards the end of July ; 
^^^^^ a few days later a further small detachment of his regiment 
^J^' arrived ; and, as the English commanded the Detroit 
^^' river, he determined at once to cut Hull's land communi** 
cations with the Maumee river and the Ohio settlements. 
He threw some of his small force across the river ; and, on 
Skirmish August 5, Tecumseh and a small party of Indians ambushed, 
jj^^j^ near Brownstown, a detachment of 200 Americans who had 
and been sent out from Detroit to meet and escort back to 

c^ near ^^^ place supplies which were waiting for safe convoy at 
^j^lJ^*" the river au Raisin. The Americans were repulsed, the 
the line dispatches which they were carrying were captured, and 
communi- *^® result of the incident was that, on the night of August 7 
cations, and on the following morning, Hull brought back his 
Hull re- whole force from the Canadian side of the river to Detroit, 
Detroit, with the exception of a small party who fortified and held 
a house at Sandwich. On the same day, August 8, Hull 
sent out a stronger force than before, some 600 men, 
mainly regular troops, to reopen communications with 
the river au Raisin and bring up the much needed supplies. 
On the afternoon of the 9th this detachment reached a 
Fight at place called Maguaga, fourteen miles south of Detroit, and 
"*8«*ga- about four miles north of Brownstown. There the advance 
was disputed by a mixed body of regulars, Canadian militia, 
and Indians : and though the intercepting force, out- 
numbered by the Americans, suffered loss and was com- 
pelled to fall back for a short distance, it took up a new 
position still barring the way, with the result that the 
American commander, though slightly reinforced on the 
following day, felt unable to break the line, and returned 
to Detroit, while the English on the river captured the 
boats which were taking back the wounded ^. Hull was 
now placed in a difficult and discouraging position. The 

1 Christie gives August 7 as the date of the captnre of the boats, 
and Kingsford repeats it. As they were carrying back the Americans 
who were wounded on the 9th, the date is obviously wrong. 

THE WAR OF i8ia 33 

surrendered garrison of Michillimackinac had reached 
Detroit at the beginning of August, the best evidence of 
the loss of that post. The Indians were up in arms in all 
directions. He had heard from the Niagara frontier that 
he could expect no co-operation ; he had heard that a 
British force was trying to make its way down the river 
Thames, and that fresh soldiers had reached or were about 
to arrive at Amherstburg. On the nth, he brought back 
to Detroit the small detachment of 250 infantry and a few 
gunners who were still on the Canadian side at Sandwich ; 
and on the evening of the 13th, he sent out once more a 
picked party of 350 to 400 men under two of his best 
officers, Colonels MacArthur and Cass, to try and make 
their way by a circuitous route to the river au Raisin. 
On that same night of August 13, Brock arrived at Am- Brock 
herstburg. "J^^!^^ 

From the moment when he was certified that war had herst- 
been declared. Brock had acted with marked vigour and ^"^' 
energy, proving himself to be a fit leader for the United 
Empire Loyalists of Upper Canada. He left York for 
Fort George on the Niagara frontier, it is stated, with the 
intention of attacking the American fort Niagara on the 
opposite bank of the river. Whether he had it in his 
mind or not, he did not take the step, possibly because the 
news of Hull's invasion reached him^; and, answering 
that general's proclamation with a counter-proclamation 
dated from Fort George on July 22, he hastened back to 
York, the Uttle capital of Upper Canada, where in view of 
the crisis he held a special session of the Legislature of 
the Province. The session only lasted from July 27 to special 
August 5 ; the malcontents in the Assembly prevented ^^ 
a Bill being passed for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Legisia- 

^ Plrevost, in a dispatch to Lord Liverpool of July 15, 1812, stated ^j^^^ 
that the Americans had intended to snrprise Fort George, that Brock's 
arrival at Fort George induced them to forego their plan, that Brock 
felt justified in attacking but, in view of the weakness of the position 
at St. Joseph's and on the Detroit frontier, and considering that he 
could do no more at the time than reduce Fort Niagara, which could 
be done as well later, he decided to remain on the def ensive, 



34 THE WAR OF i8i2 

Act, but the necessary supplies were voted. The pro- 
ceedings closed with a strongly worded patriotic address 
to the inhabitants of Upper Canada from the House of 
Assembly, taking the line which Brock himsdf had taken, 
that the Americans, while invading Canada in the name 
of liberty, were dominated by Bonaparte, the despot of 
nations, and reminding Canadians in somewhat florid 
language that ^ now you have an opportunity of proving 
your attachment to the parent state, which contends for 
the relief of oppressed nations, the last pillar of true liberty, 
Vniun- and the last refuge of oppressed humanity*. No such 
^^ out. exhortation was in fact needed, for, in response to Brock's 
call for volunteers to accompany him to the Detroit 
frontier, many more came forward than could be taken. 
Among the officers who went with him was Macdonell, 
the Attorney-General of Upper Canada, one of the Glen- 
garry Macdonells, who now took arms, served as Aide-de- 
Camp on the General's staff with the rank of Lieutenant* 
Colonel, was deputed to arrange the terms of Hull's sur* 
render, and subsequently was killed with Brock on Queens- 
ton Heights. There went too a young student in Mac- 
donell's office. Lieutenant Robinson of the York militia, 
who was one of the party detached to take formal posses- 
sion of Fort Detroit after the capitulation, and who in 
after years was Sir John Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice 
of Upper Canada. 

Immediately after the prorogation of the Legislature 

Brock left for the west. He crossed to Burlington Bay, 

and then marched overland to Long Point on Lake Erie. 

Here, on August 8, he embarked his party, consisting of 

260 militia and 40 regulars, all that the boats could carry ; 

and, coasting along Lake Erie with such speed as bad 

weather allowed, reached Amherstburg in five days. 

Before his arrival, immediately after the last of the 

Americans had left Sandwich, Procter had thrown forward 

Batteries troops to that place, and had begun erecting batteries 

againrt directly opposite Detroit. By the 15th the guns were in 

Detroit on position, and opened fire, after Hull had been sunmioned to 

THE WAR OF 1812 35 

capitulate and had refused. On that afternoon, and on the the other 
following morning, the gun-fire did considerable damage, ^^^^ 
among the killed being the commander of the force that 
had surrendered at Michillimackinac and been sent on 
parole to Detroit. Early on the morning of the i6th 
Brock, a true disciple of Wolfe in judgment and daring, 
against the advice of Colonel Procter, carried a force of Brock 
white troops across the river at Spring Wells about three ^^cc 
miles below Detroit, Tecumseh and a band of Indians across 
having already crossed two miles lower down. The *"^"^ 
white troops consisted of rather over 700 men, including 
a very small detachment of artillery with five light guns : 
the Indians numbered 600. There was no difficulty in 
the crossing ; the British battery on the Canadian side 
commanded the fort, and the only armed vessels at this 
end of Lake Erie were British, and had been brought up 
the Detroit river near to the scene of action, giving 
valuable assistance, as appears from Brock's general 
order, issued immediately after the capitulation took 
place. Brock placed the Indians in the woods on the 
inland side of his force, about a mile and a half on his left, 
and intended, as his dispatch tells us, to wait in a strong 
position and compel the Americans to attack him in the 
open field. Learning, however, when he had crossed the 
river, that MacArthur's party had left Detroit three days 
before, and that American cavalry had been seen three 
miles in the rear of the British force, he resolved to take 
the aggressive himself, and moved forward within a mile of and ad- 
the fort , purposing to attack both the fort and the American ^troH?** 
camp which adjoined it, from the side furthest from the 
river. Before the assault could be delivered, Hull pro- 
posed a capitulation, and in an hour the terms were settled ; HnU capi- 
the last article stipulating that the garrison should march *"^***- 
out of the fort at noon, and that the British forces should 
take immediate possession of it. MacArthur's detach- 
ment, which at the time was, in accordance with orders, 
making its way back to the fort, was included in the 
surrender ; thirty-three pieces of cannon of one kind or 


36 THE WAR OF i8i« 

another fell into British hands, and the prisoners were 
estimated at not less than 2,500 men. 

On the same day Brock issued a general order to the 

troops, and a proclamation which treated the capitulation 

of Detroit as tantamount to the cession to Great Britain 

of the Territory of Michigan, and assured the inhabitants 

of personal security under existing laws and of the free 

exercise of their reUgion *. On the next day, the 17th, he 

wrote an account of what had taken place to Sir George 

Good Prevost, commenting, among other points, on the * order 

^£^^ and steadiness * of the Indians and their humanity to the 

Indians few prisoners who fell into their hands. The same fact 

BritiaL ^^ noted in his general order. It ended with the words, 

■ide. « Two fortifications have already been captured from the 

enemy without a drop of blood being shed by the hand 

of the Indian ; the instant the enemy submitted, his life 

became sacred.' Though Tecumseh was among the 

Indians, Brock had taken the precaution to place two white 

officers at their head when advancing against Detroit ; and 

it is noteworthy, as proving the good faith of the Canadian 

government towards the United States in the matter of 

the recent wars between the Americans and the Indians, 

that Brock's dispatch to Prevost mentions that, at the 

time when Hull's invasion took place, some of the principal 

Indian chiefe happened to be at Amherstburg, trjdng to 

procure arms and ammunition, * which for years had been 

withheld, agreeably to the instructions received from 

Sir James Craig and since repeated by your Excellency.* 

The American volunteers and militia were sent home on 

parole, the regulars were sent as prisoners to Montreal and 

thence to Quebec, whence Hull was allowed to go to Boston 

on parole. Colonel Procter was placed in charge of Fort 

Brock Detroit ; and on August 24, eight dajrs after the capitula- 

to^thc^ tion, the tireless general was back at Fort George on the 

Niagara Niagara river, having narrowly escaped being taken 

prisoner by the Americans, owing to a fog during which the 

' Brock's proclamation went beyond the terms of capitulation. See 
the Lif$ of Sir John Beverley Robinson [Blackwood, 1904], p. 60. 


THE WAR OF 1812 37 

little vessel which had brought him down Lake Erie 
drifted into Buffalo instead of mto Fort Erie. 

On August 26, General Hull, now a prisoner of war, 
wrote from Fort George a full report to the American 
Secretary of War, giving his account of the circumstances 
which led to the surrender. A different account, bitterly 
attacking Hull, was written at Washington on September 10 Views as 
by Colonel Lewis Cass, politician as well as soldier, who ^xr^der. 
claimed to speak for others of the commanding officers as 
well as for himself. A year and a half later, a court-martial 
sentenced Hull to death, but President Madison remitted 
the death sentence in view of Hull's previous good service 
to his country. There can be no doubt that Hull had 
failed in his duty. Old and timorous, he had yielded where 
a firm, determined leader would have held out and possibly 
gained a victory. He claimed that on the day of capitula- 
tion his whole effective force did not exceed 800 men, that 
he could not have taken the field with more than 600, 
that the regular British force alone was more than double 
that number, in addition to twice the number of Indians, 
and that powder and provisions were running short. 
Cass traversed his figures and his facts, at pains to prove 
that the general's excuses could not be accepted. Yet, 
given the great original mistake of not at once advancing 
on Amherstburg, there was nothing unaccountable in 
Hull's surrender. The water-way was in British hands. 
The American soldiers were mainly untrained militiamen. 
The fort of Detroit was cumbered with non-combatants. 
The woods swarmed with Indians. Two attempts to 
reopen land communications had already failed. The 
force at Detroit was far removed from all support, and 
Hull had been definitely warned that no diversion could 
be made in his favour. Above all, the leader of the oppos- Brock's 
ing force was an expert soldier of comparatively recent "«"^ 
experience in war such as no one on the American side 
possessed : he was a man of rare nerve and fine military 
instinct. Few leaders would have risked throwing a small 
force over the river against a larger white force in a fortified 

38 THE WAR OF 1812 

position. Fewer still, on hearing of a force in their rear 
as welly would have even held their ground instead of 
retreating— much less would have moved on to attack. 
Detroit might not have fallen, if another general than Hull 
had commanded the Americans ; it certainly would not 
have fallen, if another general than Brock had commanded 
the English. 

On the day that the Americans, moving out towards the 
river au Raisin, were repulsed at Maguaga, August 9, a 
dispatch from General Hull reached the officer command- 
Fort ing a small American outpost at Fort Chicago at the end 
ai^S?^ of Lake Michigan. This seems to be the first time that 
doaed Chicago appears in history, for La Salle's old fort at the 
Ameii- ^^^ ^^ ^^ lake^ Fort Miami, stood on the opposite — ^the 
<^s. south-eastern side, at the mouth of the St. Joseph river. 
The garrison consisted of fifty-four regulars and twelve 
militiamen. The commandant, Captain Heald, was ordered 
by Hull to evacuate the post, disposing of the public 
property as he thought fit, and to make his way by land 
to Detroit across the Michigan peninsula, first traversed 
by La Salle in his memorable winter march of 1680. Some 
thirty Miami Indians, under an American officer, were sent 
from Fort Wa3aie at the head of the Maumee river to act 
as an escort. The stores and provisions at the fort, other 
than liquor, surplus guns, and ammunition, which were 
destroyed, were distributed to the neighbouring Indians 
who had collected for the purpose, and on August 15 
The re- Heald began his march. He had only gone about a mile 
gmvafm ^^^ ^ ^^ along the shore of the lake when the Indians 
attacked attacked him. Half of his regulars and all the militia 
Indians were killed ^ ; the rest surrendered on promise that their 
ma^^ty ^^^ should be spared, and were distributed among the 
killed. Indians, who destroyed the fort and then went off to attack 
Fort Wayne. Heald and his wife, both wounded, were 
cared for at a trader's house at the mouth of the St. Joseph 
river, and then found their way to Michillimackinac 

^ There were also women and children, but the dispatch does not 
read as if any were, at any rate intentionally, killed. 

THE WAR OF xSii 39 

where Captain Roberts, now in charge of that fort, took 
every care of him, and sent him on safely as a prisoner on 
parole to Detroit. Thence he was sent on to Buffalo, and 
so to Presque Isle and Pittsburg, where he arrived on 
October 22 and wrote the next day a report of what had 
befallen him. This completed the tale of American re- 
verses in the Far West. 

General Dearborn was the Commander-in-Chief of the General 
American army of invasion, excepting the Detroit army *^**'*^^*™* 
which acted imder the direct instructions of the Secretary 
of War. His head quarters were at Greenbush in New 
York State, on the eastern bank of the Hudson, nearly 
opposite Albany, the old historic starting-point for 
invasions of Canada. While Brock was setting out for 
the west, Sir George Prevost, who had come up from 
Quebec to Montreal, and who had learnt from England 
that Lord LiverpooFs government had repealed the 
obnoxious Orders in Council, sent Colonel Baynes, his Prevost 
Adjutant-General, to Dearborn to propose a suspension ^'^^^^^^ 
of hostilities as preUminary to negotiations for peace. *"^*«**co. 
Prevost's letter, dated August 2, asked that no further 
movements should in the meantime be made by the 
American troops, and added that, on hearing to that effect, 
he himself would give similar orders to the British forces. 
In taking this step, Prevost rightly interpreted thewishesof 
the Home government. The British ministry was anxious 
to maintain or to restore peace with the United States, pro* 
vided that this end could be obtained without compro* 
mising the rights which they held to be essential for the 
security of Great Britain in time of war. The American 
minister in London had not left inunediately upon the 
declaration of war by his government, but in August and 
September continued to make overtures to Lord Castle- 
raagh for an armistice. His proposals, however, were 
rejected, for they amounted to an admission of the 
American claims as a preliminary to even a temporary 
cessation of warfare. In turn. Admiral Warren, the 
British naval conunander at Halifax, was, subsequently 

40 THE WAR OF i8i^ 

to the date of Prevost*s negotiations, instnicted to propose 
direct to the American government the conclusion of an 
armistice on the basis that the Orders in Council had been 
repealed, without raising at this stage the questions 
which the American government considered vital ; but 
this proposal again, which was embodied in a letter dated 
September 30, was, on October 27, rejected in a letter 
from Monroe, the American Secretary of State. Had 
telegraphs existed in those da}rs, it is possible — ^though 
with the existing temper of the American leaders not very 
probable — ^that war might have been averted. On the 
other hand, it is certain that Brock*s successes would not 
have taken place. The Americans, though they may not 
have known it, had much to gain by a short delay, for 
they were to a singular degree unprepared, and the one 
man on either side, who had the instinct amouivting to 
genius to strike at once and hard, was Brock. He heard 
of the armistice just before he reached Fort George on his 
return down Lake Erie from Detroit. Baynes handed 
Prevost's letter to Dearborn on August 8 ; the latter 
undertook to forward it to his government, and, in the 
meantime, to instruct all the officers on the frontier who 
were under his command to refrain from offensive move- 
ment, until the President's instructions had been received. 
In the event of the President refusing to ratify the armistice, 
an interval of four days was to be allowed before hostihtie^ 
began again. On August 26, Dearborn wrote to Prevost 
President to the effect that, as President Madison had received no 
ref^Mto official intimation from the British government which 
ratify it. would warrant a continuance of the armistice, war would 
begin againfour dajrs after his — ^Dearborn's — letter reached 
Montreal. Thus Prevost's well-meant effort to stop the 
war came to nothing, and meanwhile the Americans 
brought ammunition and suppUes up Lake Ontario under 
cover of the truce, while Brock had to look on, eager to 
attack Fort Niagara, or, at the other end of Lake Ontario, 
to clear out the American naval d£pdt at Sackett's Harbour 
which threatened Kingston. 

THE WAR OF 1812 41 

In February, 1809, Sir James Craig, expecting war with Sir James 
the United States, had written to Lord Castlereagh as to ^l^^u 
the defenceless state of Canada. The safety of Quebec he to the 
rightly considered to be the point of first importance, for, of troops 
as he urged, while its possession would not ensure the reten- ^^^^ 
tion of the rest of the province of Lower Canada, it would Canada. 
leave a door open to regain the province if conquered by 
the Americans, as indeed had proved to be the case in 
the previous war. He noted that the conquest of Lower 
Canada must still be effected by the line of LakeChamplain, 
where the forts on the Canadian frontier had ceased to 
exist, and had not been re-established for vrant of men to 
garrison them. Upper Canada, he thought, would most 
probably be invaded across the Niagara river ; and he 
argued that, as that river was only thirty-five miles long 
and nine of those miles were impassable on account of the 
falls, the rest might be effectually guarded. To ensure 
the safety of the two Canadas against American invasion, 
he considered that at least 12,000 regular troops were 
required, in addition to sufficient vessels to command the 
water. The passage of the Niagara river was now to 
be attempted by the American forces. 

The number of troops to guard the river on the Canadian Disposal 
side was ludicrously inadequate, hardly amoimting, it was ^^^ 
said, to 1,200 white men, including mihtia. Brock could forces 
not be given reinforcements from Lower Canada, because Niagi^a 
Montreal was threatened by another American armyfr<»*i«* 
coming up from Lake Champlain. The regulars belonged 
to the 41st and 49th regiment. A strong detachment of 
the 41st was stationed at Fort George at one end of the 
line, a party of the 49th helped to garrison Fort Erie at 
the other end. At the two intermediate posts of Chippawa 
and Queenston there were further detachments of the two 
regiments, a small number of men from the 41st being at 
Chippawa, while the two flank companies of the 49th were 
placed at Queenston. The Canadian mihtia equalled the 
regulars in numbers, and were distributed side by side 
with them at the four main posts. In addition, there were 

42 THE WAR OF 1812 

small intermediate outposts and batteries at convenient 
points, between Fort Erie and Chippawa, and between 
Queenston and Fort George. The Americans gradually 
iHspoMl collected on their side some 6,000 men ^, mainly stationed 
American ^^ Buffalo, Black Rock, Lewiston, Fort Niagara, and the 
forces. stream known as Four Mile Creek, which runs into Lake 
Ontario about four miles east of the mouth of the Niagara 
river. A cross-country road, about six miles in length, 
had been cut through the woods from Lewiston to Four 
Mile Creek, so that troops could be moved between the 
two points, behind and wholly out of sight and range of 
the Niagara river, and from the outlet of the Creek into 
Lake Ontario boats could coast along the lake, imder 
a sheltered shore, to the estuaiy of the Niagara, for the 
purpose of crossing into Canada, instead of embarking 
troops at Fort Niagara in the face of the enemy on the 
opposite side. The American army, like the small force 
opposed to them, consisted partly of regulars, partly of 
mihtia ; but the regulars outnumbered the miUtia by 
1,000 men. The bulk of the regulars were posted at the 
two ends of the line, at the lower end at Fort Niagara and 
Four Mile Creek, at the upper end at Buffalo and Black 
Rock, where Brigadier-General Smyth, an officer of the 
line, held command. In the centre, at Lewiston, there 
were over 2,000 militia with only 900 regulars. Here the 
Stephen conunander of the whole, Stephen Van Rensselaer, had his 
Rensse- ^^^^ quarters. He was an old militia officer, who had 
laer. served in the Indian wars, chosen from his high standing 
in New York state, inasmuch as the militia were largely 
citizens of that state. The Rensselaers from Dutch times 
had held a foremost place among the patroons or land- 
owners of New York ; and in the days when New York 
was New Amsterdam, the inland district round Albany, 
then Fort Orange, was known as Rensselaerswyck. It 
is evident from his dispatch, written after the battle of 
Queenston, that Van Rensselaer was a straightforward, 

^ An American return made the number rather less — a little over 
five thousamd. 

THE WAR OF 1812 43 

capable man, but he had no regular military training, and 
hence he failed to obtain the co-operation of General 
Smyth, who was nominally subordinate to him. He had, 
however, an expert military adviser by his side, in his 
cousin Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer. 

August and September went by in making preparations ; Van 
and at the beginning of October it became evident that, if la^^J. 
any decisive attack was to be made on Upper Canada P?^J^ 
before the winter, and if the militia were not to drift off Qneens* 
again as they had drifted together, there must be no longer ^°^ 
delay. Van Rensselaer planned — a sensible enough plan — 
to concentrate his forces below the falls, to pass the regulars 
over from Four Mile Creek into Canada and attack Fort 
George from the land side, and with the miUtia to make 
a frontal attack from Lewiston on Queenston Heights. 
General Sm}^, stationed with his troops abov^the falls, 
thought that the attack should be made in that direction, 
and held aloof. Consequently, the plan eventually resolved 
itself into an attack on Queenston, in which the troops at 
Lewiston were supported by men brought up from other 
points, while Fort Niagara and Fort George bombarded 
each other. 

As often happens, the scheme, after considerable delay, 
was somewhat hurried at last. Two incidents occurred 
to make the American militia and their general impatient 
to attack. The first was a very daring and skilful exploit 
on the part of Lieutenant Jesse Elliott of the United States 1*^0 . 
navy, who was at Black Rock and Buffalo bujang and vessels 
fitting out vessels for war service on Lake Erie. ^p^atEriV 
Octobers, two ships from Detroit anchored at Fort Erie, by Lieut. 
One was the Detroit^ formerly known as the Adams, an |^tt 
American brig of 200 tons burden, which had changed 
owners and name at the capitulation of Detroit ; she was 
manned by some sixty men and had thirty American 
prisoners on board. The other was the Caledonia, a 
smaller vessel belonging to the North*West Company, 
which also carried a few prisoners in addition to a valuable 
cargo of furs. On hearing of their arrival, Elliott sent 

44 THE WAR OF 1812 

an urgent message to a party of sailors who were 
marching up to join him overland, and who came in 
about noon on the 8th, and, supplementing them with 
some regular soldiers, put off from the mouth of Buffalo 
Creek in two large boats, with fifty men in each, at one 
o'clock on the morning of the 9th. At three o'clock he 
was alongside the two vessels, and, according to his own 
account, took possession of them in about ten minutest 
The Caledonia was carried off and beached under the guns 
of Black Rock. The Detroit drifted down stream under 
fire and grounded on a small island, where, after the crew 
and prisoners, or the majority of them, had been carried 
off to the American side, and a party of British troops had 
tried in vain to recover the vessel, she was destroyed by 
Report the fire of friend and foe alike. Brock seems to have 
toVM* <^™^c to Fort Erie by the evening of the 9th, probably on 
Rensse- hearing of Elliott's attack ; and this may have given rise 
Brock had to a report, which was brought by a spy to Van Rensselaer's 
soneto^ camp, that the British commander had moved off with a 
large part of his troops towards Detroit to meet the army 
of General Harrison in that quarter. This report, super- 
vening upon the news of EUiott's success, made the 
Americans eager to cross into Canada. 

Warned by those under him that his troops must have 

orders to act or would go home. Van Rensselaer fixed four 

o'clock on the morning of October 11 for the crossing. 

The point of embarkation was to be at the Old Ferry imme- 

Abortive diately opposite Queenston Heights, a little higher up the 

attempt rfver than the ordinary landing place at Lewiston. An 

crosfling officer named Lieutenant Sim who. Van Rensselaer's dis- 

^v^ patch tells us, * was considered the man of greatest skill 

Rensae- for this Service,' was placed in charge of the leading boat. 

iorcL Rowing across in the darkness, by accident or intent he 

reached the Canadian shore some distance above the point 

where it had been intended to land, and, mooring his boat 

to the shore, absconded. It was then found that his boat 

carried nearly all the oars of the other boats, with the 

result that the would-be invaders, after a night's e3q>osure 

THE WAR OF i8i2 45 

on the edge of the river to a violent storm from the north- 
east which lasted for twenty-eight hours, returned to the 
camp without being embarked at all. This fiasco made 
Van Rensselaer's restive force more restive still, and two 
days later he was compelled, without maturing his plans, 
to repeat the attempt. On the evening of the 12th, regu- 
lars were brought in from Fort Niagara and Four Mile 
Creek, under a good officer. Colonel Christie, who had 
lately come up to the front, as well as from a post on the 
other side of Lewiston at Niagara falls ; and just before 
dawn on the morning of the 13th the crossing began. 

The defenders of Queenston nimibered about 300, indud- The de- 
ing the two companies of the 49th and detachments of ^^ 
Canadian militia from York and Lincoln counties. They ^ces of 
were expecting attack, having been warned by Major — traT^ 
afterwards General — ^Evans. Evans, who was Brigade- 
Major at Fort George, had gone over the river under flag 
of truce on the 12th to n^otiate an exchange of prisoners, 
and had noted preparations for crossing.^ Accordingly, a 
part of the small force was watching the landing near the 
village below the heights, while the rest were stationed on 
the higher ground where, though not on the topmost crest, 
was a battery consisting of one gun only, an eighteen- 
pounder. The nearest support was at a point some littie 
distance bdow Queenston ^ named Vrooman*s Point, where 
there was a twenty-four-pounder in charge of a small party 
of militia ; two miles below which by the course of the 
river, though not much more than that distance in a direct 
line from Queenston, a larger detachment of the York 
militia at Brown's Point guarded another littie battery. 

* For tht evidence of this see Major Evans' own account, written on 
October 15, two days alter the battle, and printed as Appendix i to 
Mrs. Cnrzon's Laura Secord, the heroine 0/ 1 8 1 2, and other poems, Toronto, 
1887. It is referred to by Kingsford, voL viii, p. 214, and is reprinted 
in tiie Documentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in 
18 1 3, part 2, 18x2, pp. 108-14 [Lundy's Lane Historical Society]. 

' Vrooman's point is said in the accounts to have been a mile below 
Queenston, but the site of the battery must have been rather nearer, 
as the gun was active in annoying the crossing of the Americans and 
supporting the British garrison at Queenston when repulsed. 

46 THE WAR OF i8ia 

Lower down again, between six and seven miles from 
Queenston, were the headquarters at Fort George, and 
here was Brock on the night of the I2th and early morning 
of the 13th ; and here, too, was his second in command, 
Major-General Roger Sheafie, also an officer of the 49th 
regiment, a New Englander by birth. 
The On the American side, in order to avoid jealousy be- 

g^f S tween regulars and militia and their officers, it had been 
arranged that the first boats should carry over 300 regulars 
and 300 militiamen, the latter under command of Colonel 
Solomon Van Rensselaer, the former under Colonel 
Christie. There was confusion in the darkness or half- 
light, and though, under the cover of fire from the American 
batteries, Solomon Van Rensselaer reached the other side, 
he had with him, according to the American dispatch, only 
about 100 men, according to other and apparently more 
correct accounts, about 225, nearly all r^ulars. Qmstie, 
with some of the other boats, had to put back to the 
American shore and cross again, Christie himself being 
wounded in the hand. Van Rensselaer's party, having 
landed, were drawn up to await the arrival of reinforce- 
ments, when they were hotly attacked by some of the 
grenadiers of the 49th and a party of militia with a three- 
The fint pounder gun. The Americans suffered considerable loss, 
^^ ^ Van Rensselaer being badly wounded, and were driven 
under cover of the bank. Fresh boat-loads, however, 
came over, not without loss from artillery and musket fire, 
alike from the level of the landing and from the high 
ground above ; and at this juncture, apparently about 
Brock five o'clock in the morning. Brock came on the field. The 
comes up. firing h^d been heard at Fort Geoige, and mounting his 
horse he had galloped off to the scene of action, alone and 
unattended, though followed inunediatdy afterwards by 
his two aides-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell and 
Captain Glegg. Calling on the militia at Brown's Point, 
as he passed, to follow with what speed they might, he 
made straight for the gun on the hill which was the key of 
the position, and where the light company of the 49th, and 

THE WAR OF 1812 47 

those of the Canadian militia who were not fighting at the 
landing and in the village below, were guarding the gim 
and supplementing its fire with their own musketry* See* 
ing the American troops come across in growing numbers, 
Brock ordered the whole party, with the exception of 
about a dozen men, to go down the hill and reinforce their 
comrades by the river. This movement occasioned the 
first crisis in the battle. 

An American officer, with the first detachment that had The 
landed with Colonel Van Rensselaer and that had, aScansgain 
already told, been driven to take shelter under the river ^« 
bank, was ordered by Van Rensselaer to take a party of 
his men up a steep path which had been left unguarded, 
and which gave access to Queenston Heights above and 
bdiind the point where the gun was placed. This officer, 
Captain Wool ^, afterwards an American general of some 

^ Captiun Wool's report to Colonel Van Rensselaer is printed as 
Appendix is to James's Military Occurrences, voL L p. 384, and 
iB reprinted at pp. 155-^ of part 2, i8i2» of the DocumeiUary History 
of the Campaign upon the Niagara frontier in the year 18 12 (Lundy's 
Lane Historical Society). It is headed Bu£Ealo, October 23, and it it 
difficult to harmonise ^s date and address, and the fact that Captain 
Wool is not included in the list ol American officers taken prisoners, 
though he is returned as wounded, with Sir John Beverley Robinson's 
statement that, two days after the battle, he was one of a party ol York 
militia who escorted Captain Wool and other prisoners on an armed 
vessel across Lake Ontario for Toronto, Kingston, and Quebec, the 
passage being tedious, and taking some days {Life of Sir John Beverley 
Roinnson, p. 39). Wool's report runs as ^ows: 'In pursuance of 
your order we proceeded round the point, and ascended the rocks, 
which brought us partly in rear of the battery. We took it without 
much resistance. I immediately formed the troops in rear of the 
battery and fronting the vUlage, when I observed General Brock with 
his troops farmed, consisting of four companies of the 49th regiment, 
and a few militia, marching for our left flank. I immediately detached 
a party of one hundred and fifty men to take possession of the heights . 
above Queenston battery, and to hold General Brock in check, but 
in consequence of his superior force they retreated. I sent a reinforce- 
ment; notwithstanding which, the enemy drove us to the edge of 
the bank ; when, with the greatest exertions, we brought the troops 
to a stand, and ordered the officers to bring their men to a charge as 
soon as the ammunition was expended, which was executed with 
some confusion, and in a few moments the enemy retreated. We 
pursued them to the edge of the heights, when Colonel MacDonald had 

48 THE WAR OF i8ia 

note, carried out his orders with a detachment consisting 
at first of about sixty men, and rushed the gun, Brock and 
the few men with him having to retreat downhill. Recall* 
ing the light company. Brock, at the head of about ninety 
men, charged uphill on the left — the inland flank of the 
Americans, retook the gun, and drove WooPs men (now 
it would seem at least 150 in nimiber) further up the height 
to the extreme edge of the bank, where they rallied and 
Death of held their ground. At this point in the engagement Brock, 
'^'^^^ in the forefront of the fight, received a mortal wound and 
died almost inmiediatdy, his body being carried back to 
Queenston. His men were then once more driven back 
downhill, and once more the Americans retook the gun. 
Shortly before he fell Brock had given orders, it is said, to 
push on the York Volunteers. These were the detachment 
of Canadian militia stationed at Brown's Point, on whom 
he had called when hurrying by at break of day. They 
came up just as the general fell, among them being 
Beverley Robinson, who, in a letter written on the follow- 
ing day, gave a graphic account of the fighting ^. Colonel 
Macdooeil Macdonell took command of them and of the soldiers of the 
woond^. 49th, making about 200 men in all. Again there was a 
charge uphill, on the right of the battery and against the 

his hone diot from under him, and himself was mortally wounded. 
In the interim. General Brock, in attempting to rally his forces, was 
IdUed, when the enemy dispersed in every direction.' It will be seen 
that Wool overestimated the number ol troops under Brock, and that 
he only mentions one charge, in which Bifaodonell was mortally wounded 
about the same time as Brock. 

* This letter, which will be found at p. 33 of tiie Life of Sir John 
Beverley Robinson, gives a most graphic account of the day's fighting. 
Among other points the writer mentions (i) that, as his detachment 
was hurrying up from Brown's Point to Queenston, ' we met troops 
of Americans on their way to Fort George under guard,' showing that 
a considerable number of prisoners were taken at the first crossing, 
and that men could be spared from Queenston to take charge of them ; 

(2) that ' scarcely more than fifty were collected ' for the second charge 
which Macdonell headed, and in which he was mortally wounded ; 

(3) that the Chippawa contingent did not join Sheaffe's army untU 
after the final charge had begun. The different accounts of the day's 
proceedings, and the numbers given, are so much at variance with 
each other, that it is imx>o8sible to be certain as to details. 

THE WAR OF 1812 49 

American left. Again the Americans were driven from 
the gmi which they spiked ; and once more the attack 
eventually failed, Colonel Macdonell beings Uke his chief, 
mortally wounded, and Captain Williams, who com- 
manded the light company of the 49th, being badly 
wounded also. The British were then finally repulsed, The 
and had to fall back to the further outskirts of Queenston ^^ 
village, where they received some support from the battery complete 
at Vrooman's Point. S^^'*^'* 

Though it was still only ten o'clock in the morning, the ^«gi^ts. 
battle seemed over. The Americans held the heights. 
There was an interval of between four and five hours, interval 
during which the wounded could be sent back to the^^^^^ 
American shore, fresh reinforcements could be brought 
over, steps could be taken to entrench the position, an 
engineer officer having come across for the purpose, and 
the gun which had been spiked could be drilled out and 
brought to bear on the village bdow. Yet the invaders 
were not unmolested. On the further side of the village, 
backed by the staunch twenty-four-pounder at Vrooman's 
Point, the regulars and militia still held their ground ; 
while a diversion of some importance was made on the 
land side of Queenston Heights by a band of Mohawk 
Indians^, who drove in the flanking parties which the 
commander of the American force had thrown out, until 
in turn they were beaten off by superior niunbers. All 
that the Americans required to ensure success was to lose 
no time in bringing across ample reinforcements and abun- 
dant ammunition ; but the militia who remained on the The 
opposite bank showed no disposition to move, and not all ^^^°^ 
the commands and exhortations of General Van Rensse- refuse to 

laer, who had been over the river to the heights and had ^ver. 
come back to hasten the crossing, availed to effect the pur- 

*■ These Indians, who plajred a veiy considerable part in the day's 
proceedings, were led by a man called Norton, who called himsell 
a Mohawk chief, bnt seems to have been an Indaanised Scotchman. 
He was a fine fighting man, but otherwise very troublesome to the 
government in their relations with the Indians. See lir. Brymner's 
Report an the Canadum Afekw$s far 1896, pp. viii-suiL 

50 THE WAR OF 1812 * 

pose. * The name of Indian, or the sight of the wounded, 
or the devil, or something else, petrified them,' wrote an 
eyewitness ; * not a regiment, not a company, scarcely a 
man, would go.' ^ So the day went on, and for the Ameri- 
cans the day was lost. 

When Brock rode out from Fort George at dawn to the 
sound of the guns, he had thought that the attack might 
be but a feint, to cover another and more serious attempt 
on Fort George itself ; but, when he found the Americans 
on Queenston Heights, he sent instructimis to General 
Sheaffe to bring up all available reinforcements. In the 
meantime, the reverses which have been described took 
place, and, by the time that Sheaffe was nearing the scene 
of action, Brock and Macdonell had fallen, and the 
SheafFe Americans were masters of the position. Sheaffe brought 
r^^vc^ with him a strong detachment of the 41st regiment, vari- 
ments ously estimated to number from 300 to 380 men, some 300 
G^ge, of the Canadian militia, a few light field guns, in part 
manned by Canadian farmers and drawn by their horses, 
forming what was called the Car brigade, and also a party 
of Indians. He had his men well in hand, and led them 
with the coolness and decision of a good trained soldier, 
makes a A Uttle lower down the river than Queenston village, a road 
^^^l^ diverged at right angles from the main road by the river 
side, leading to the village of St. David's, about one and 
a half mUes distant. Instead of following the course of 
the previous assaults, Sheaffe struck inland by this road, 
taking with him, in addition to the men whom he had 
brought from Fort George, part of the force which had 
been defending Queenston and assailing the heights, but 
leaving some guns under a Royal Artillery officer, Captain 
Holcroft, supported by a small body of infantry, to hold 
the Americans in front and command the crossing. Mak- 
ing a wide detour with the main body of his troops, he 
brought them right behind Queenston Heights on the in- 

^ Letter of John Lovett, p. 86 of part a, 1812, of the Documeniafy 
History of ike Campaign on ike Niagara Frontier in 18 12 (Lundy's 
Laae Historical Society). 

THE WAR OF 1812 51 

land side. There he effected a junction with the party of 
Indians who, as has been told, had already been fighting 
the Americans on their own account, and who, though 
beaten off, were still in a strong position ' on the woody 
brow of the high ground above Queenston * K There too 
he struck the road from Chippawa, and from that place in 
the nick of time came up another small party of the 41st 
and a stronger detachment of militia. This brought up 
his numbers to at least 1,000 men with two three-pounder 
guns. He carefully arranged his line ; he took Indian 
guidance for his advance through the woods ; and a little 
before three o*clock in the afternoon he moved forward 
against the victorious Americans. The two opposing lines and 
were now at right angles to the positions taken up in the S^gMs!^^ 
morning. Then the American troops on the height had 
faced down-stream, meeting their assailants who came up 
parallel with the river from Queenston village. They were 
still being worried on that side by Holcroft*s guns, but it 
became their right flank, as they faced about with their 
backs to the river to meet the force which Sheaff e was lead- 
ing on. He had left nothing to fortune. In lieu of a hand- 
ful of brave men, momentarily gathered to repel a surprise, 
scrambling up a steep bank, exposed to fire from an enemy 
above who had the advantage of numbers and position, 
there was now a substantial force, including at least 500 
soldiers of the line, most of them fresh for fighting, not 
hurried, not placed haphazard, advancing under cover on 
the level or up an easy slope. Against them the enemy was 
cooped up in a narrow space, tired by the morning's work, 
left without supports, unsteadied through the day by 
Indian sorties from the wooded ridge, and constant gun- 
fire from the village below. One charge was decisive. The 
Indians on the extreme left of the British line leapt for- 
ward, whooping, on the American right, that part of their 
line which was exposed to Holcroft's guns. At the same 
point a small body of British light infantry and Canadian 

* From Sheaffe'8 dispatch to Sir G. Prevost, reporting the battle* 
which WEB written on tne same day. 


52 THE WAR OF 1812 

militia gave one volley, and then went in with the bayonet. 
t>efeat Almost simultaneously the whole of Sheaffe's force 
tu^^ the ^^^^^^> ^^^ the Americans on Queenston Heights dis- 
American appeared as a fighting body. Many were driven over the 
^^e bank and into the river; the majority under General 
Can^ian ^adsworth were forced to surrender ; and, before the after- 
the river, noon was far spent, all the Americans that remained on 
the Canadian side of the Niagara river, between 900 and 
1,000, if account be taken of the whole day's work, were 
taken prisoners under the eyes of their comrades on the 
opposite shore. 
Losses OQ Among the prisoners was Colonel Winfidd Scott, an 
^^ artillery officer who had taken a leading part in the fight- 
ing, and who was in later times for twenty years the well- 
known Commander-in-chief of the army of the United 
States. The numbers of killed and wounded on either 
side are variously given, but the American loss appears to 
have been far heavier than that of the British. 'The 
slaughter of our troops must have been very considerable,' 
General Van Rensselaer wrote in his report of the battle, 
* and the enemy have suffered severely.' Only two officers 
are said to have been killed on the British side, but they 
were Brock and Macdonell, and the effect of Brock's death 
The was apparent at once. Had he Uved, none can doubt that, 
^^^ with his wonted energy, he would have lost no time in fol- 
not foi- lowing up the success. We read in Sheaffe's dispatch that 
lowed up. « Major-General Brock, soon after his arrival at Queenston, 
had sent down orders for battering the American fort 
Niagara '. Accordingly, while Queenston was the scene of 
attack and counter-attack, an artiUery duel was in progress 
between the two forts, and the British guns, directed by 
Major Evans, were so well served that the American gar- 
rison was for the time driven out of Fort Niagara. It 
would have been a task of Uttle difficulty to throw a body 
of men across the river, and occupy or dismantle the 
American fort. But Sheaffe, admirable as had been his 
conduct of the troops in the hour of battle, was wanting 
when the battle was over. He agreed to an armistice, at 

THE WAR OF 1812 53 

first for three days, and afterwards indeiSnitely prolonged, Sheaffe 
being made terminable at thirty hom^' notice, which ^^^ 
included the whole line of the Niagara frontier. The annistioe. 
Americans were given breathing time instead of being 
kept on the run, and the military results of the fight on 
Queenston Heights, though not its pohtical consequences, 
were confined to the gains and losses of the day. 

Van Rensselaer's dispatch told the plain unvarnished 
truth about this battle. * The victory was really won, but The 
lost for the want of a small reinforcement. One third part of ^^^9 
the idle men might have saved all.' On this 13th of October on either 
the citizen soldier was seen at his very best and athis very ^ 
worst. Thefe was equally good fighting material on either 
side of the Niagara river, but, while the spirit and discipline 
of the Canadian militia were beyond all praise, those quali- 
ties were absolutely non-existent on the American side. 
The reasons are not far to sedc. The citizen soldier is at 
his best when he has his back to the wall, fighting for his / 
home ; when he has at his shoulder to steady him a good 
type of trained regular soldier ; and when the general in 
command is something more than a general, personally 
attracting the sentiment and patriotism of those who are 
under his lead. All these conditions were present on the 
Canadian side, all were wanting on the American. The 
Canadian militia were repelling what was in their eyes 
wanton invasion of their country. The invaders had in 
past years driven them out of their old homes, and were 
now endeavouring to overrun the land where they had 
found refuge and again taken root. The American guns 
from over the river were battering the village of Newark, 
which was the birthplace of the liberties of Upper Canada. 
For the settlers of Ontario, if they valued, as they did value, 
the British connexion, if they did not wish to have their 
infant national existence blotted out, resistance in every 
possible form was the only possible alternative. To them 
it was a matter of life and death. To the Americans it 
was otherwise. The militia who served under Van Rens- 
selaer hailed mainly from New York state ; and many of 



54 THE WAR OF i8ia 

them may well have shared the opposition to the war, 
which was so much in evidence in that state. But, even 
if this were not so, even if all were of the nmnber that cla- 
moured to be led across into Canada, it was one thing to 
make a triumphant raid over the frontier, and another to 
fight to the death in order to secure a foothold at a parti- 
cular point in the enemy's country. Their homes were not 
in danger, they might well live to fight another day. As 
the British guns dealt havoc among the boats, as the 
wounded were brought back telling the tale of stubborn 
resistance, of suffering and loss, it is not wonderful that 
their general found (to quote his own words) that ^ the 
ardour of the unengaged tnx^ had entirely subsided '. 
The value The occasion was one when the unquestioning discipline 
traced ^^ trained r^ular soldiers would have suppUed what was 
soldier, wanting in undisciplined militia. There were r^ular sol- 
diers in the American ranks, but most of them that were 
available were already presumably fighting on Queenston 
Heights, and the American regulars had not the tradition, 
or the discipline, or the officers of the British army. For 
thirty years their only training ground had been Indian 
border wars, while campaign after campaign, wherever 
fighting was to be done in the world, had been seasoning 
the British army, indirectly leavening even those r^- 
ments which had not taken part in all the historic fights. 
Just before the battle of Queenston, there had been an 
approach to riot or mutiny in the two companies of the 
49th stationed at that place ; yet, when the crisis came, 
they were two steady, hard-fighting companies of a first- 
dass British regiment, which had been led and trained by 
Brock ; and, with the 41st, they gave to the defenders of 
the frontier a small nucleus of professional soldiers, who 
could be most admirably supplemented, though not 
replaced, by miUtia. 

But regulars and miUtia do not always work together 
shoulder to shoulder, as they did on this particular occa- 
sion ; and here may be traced the personal influence of 
Srock. It is absolutely ina>nceivable that, if Brock had 

THE WAR OF 1812 55 

been in charge of the American anny, so lamentable ainflaenco 
collapse would have taken place. It is equally difficult ^* ®"^^ 
to believe that if Van Rensselaer, still less if Brigadier- 
General Smyth, had been given the keeping of the Canadian 
frontier, any stand at all would have been made. For 
nothing is more admirable in the story than the way in 
which the small force of men, who were guarding the thirty 
miles of the Niagara river on the British side, were distri- 
buted so that one detachment could support another ; or 
the way in which militia and regulars co-operated in giving 
and receiving support. This was due partly to Brock's 
tmdoubted military skill, partly to his intimate knowledge 
of the land and its people, and to the magnetism of his 
personal character. Not a few good conunanders, trained 
in the regular army and experienced in campaigns in which 
only regular soldiers have been employed, are found want- 
ing when called upon to lead mixed forces. Underrating 
the value of irregular levies, and letting it be seen that 
they underrate them, they are unable to use them to the 
best advantage. Brock was not one of these. The years 
that he had spent in Canada, his experience in civil as well 
as military administration, coupled with his unaffected 
patriotism and rare generosity of character, had produced 
the effect that all men worked together under his lead. 
Soldiers of the line, Canadian settlers. Western and Mo- 
hawk Indians, all were at one when following Brock. In 
the words of Beverley Robinson, written the day after 
Brock fell, he was the * general who had led our little army 
to victory, whose soul was wrapped up in our prosperity, 
and whose every energy was directed to the defence of our 
country ' ^. His loss to Canada was incalculable, and yet 
in a certain sense it was a gain. Hutton- 

In 1816, a memorial coin was struck bearing the super- ^^^^ 
scription of * Sir Isaac Brock, the hero of Upper Canada '. impor- 
This gives a due to the real importance in Canadian history the^ttle 
of the fight for Queenston Heights. On a reduced scale, J^®®"®* 
and in inverted fkshion, this little battle, for the numbers 

^ Life of Sif John Bsuerky RMnson, p. fi. 

56 THE WAR OF 1812 

engaged were small, recalls in some of its leading features 
the more famous fight on the Plains of Abraham. 
We have on either occasion the landing from the river in 
early dawn, ascent of the heights by a path unguarded or 
insufficiently guarded. We have the leader of the British 
force on both occasions killed on the field of battle, Brock 
being, like Wolfe, before and after death the idol of his 
army. We have the assailants of the heights in both cases 
given ample time to establish their position, and the main 
force opposing them brought up from a distance, for, as 
Montcsdm had to bring his troops from the Beauport lines 
below Quebec, so Sheaffe had to march his men from Fort 
George. The issue on the second occasion was reversed, 
and the invaders were defeated ; but there was a touch of 
similarity in the main outlines of the two battles, and the 
setting of the later fight was sufficiently picturesque and 
dramatic, the crisis was sufficiently grave, to give to Upper 
Canada, in the battle on Queenston Heights and in the 
death of Brock, the memory of a national achievement 
and of a special hero. All this was to the good for the 
making of a nation, widening and enriching its history. 
From this date onward the interest in Canadian story no 
longer ended with the twin deaths of Wolfe and Montcalm, 
where the river of Canada flows by the rock of Quebec ; for 
far up on the same water*way, another landmark, the 
monument to Brock, overlooldng the gorge of Niagara, 
told and tells of a good fight and a noUe death in the 
Province of Upper Canada. 
Brigadier- After the battle of Queenston, Brigadier-General Smyth 
Smyth succeeded Van Rensselaer in command of the American 
forces on the Niagara frontier, his head quarters being at 
or near Buffalo. He signalized his appointment by two 
ridiculous proclamations. The first was dated November 10, 
and addressed to the ' Men of New York ', attributing 
the disasters which had be^en the armies of Hull and 
Van Rensselaer to the fact that * the conunanders were 
popular men, destitute alike of theory and experience in 
the art of war '. The second, dated November 17, was 

THE WAR OF 1812 57 

addressed to ' The soldiers of the army of the centre '• 
By this latter date he had nearly completed his prepara- 
tions for mvasion, having employed the armistice in build- 
ing boats or bringing them overland from Lake Ontario. 
Accordingly, on November 19, he gave notice of termina- prepares 
tion of the armistice ; and on the 26th, by his own account, ^^^® 
he was ready to carry out the orders of his government to above the 
cross over into Canada with 3,000 men at once. Accord- KUgwa. 
ing to the report of one of his principal officers, General 
Porter ^, he had at Black Rock, on November 27, 4,500 
efiective men, partly regulars, partly volunteers or militia 
from New York, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, and boats 
enough to carry across the river 3,550 men. 

Immediately on receiving notice that the armistice was 
at an end, Sheaffe, on November 21, ordered the batteries 
at Fort Geoiige to open fire on Fort Niagara. The fire 
was hotly returned against Fort George and the village 
of Newark, the bombardment continuing through the 
day. Sheaffe's object was to keep the Americans occupied 
at the lower end of their line, for he knew well that it was 
at the upper end, above the falls, that any real attack 
would be made. Here the defenders of Canada were very 
few. The line of defence began at Fort Erie, where Major Dispon- 
Ormsby ccnnmanded a small party of the 49th, supple- ^|^^^ 
mented by some men of the Newfoundland r^;iment, troops 
making 130 in all. From this point, for sixteen or seventeen thi^F^s. 
miles to Chippawa, where the officer in general charge of the 
troops above the falls, Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Bisshopp, 

' Smyth's official report mentioiis two men ol the name of Porter, 
one Colonel Porter of the artillery, the other Mr. P. B. Porter, con- 
tractor's agent, ' who was to pilot the enterprise.' He goes on to say 
of tike latter, ' it has been in the power of the contractor's agent to 
esdte some clamour against the coarse pnrsned ^.e. the abandonment 
of the crossing] ; he finds the contract a losing one, at this time, and 
would wish to see the army in Canada, that he might not be bound 
to supply it.' This contractor's agent was identical with General 
Peter B. Porter, who was at the beginning of the war Qnarter-Master- 
General of the state of New York, and was in command of the New 
York Volunteers. He published his own account of the proceedings, 
and he and Smyth had a Pickwickian duel on Grand Island. 

58 THE WAR OF z8ia 

was stationed, small detachments were placed at intervals 
along the bank of the river. Rather over a mile below 
Fort Erie, inmiediatdy opposite Black Rock, two com- 
panies of Canadian militia watched the ferry; a little 
further down the river, two and a half miles from Fort 
Erie, a post called the Red House was held by a handful 
of the 49th and a few artillery-men with two light guns. 
Close by were two single gun batteries. A mile further 
on again was another small party of the 49th ; and lower 
down again, where, at five miles distance from Fort Erie, 
the Chippawa road was carried over a stream called French- 
man's Creek, the light company of the 4zst watched the 
bridge. Then, at a longer interval, there was another 
detachment of militia; and finally a few regulars and 
militia held Chippawa. 
Two Between two and three o'clock on the morning of 

A^^. November 28, two parties of Americans landed on the 
cans croM Canadian side. They were intended to clear the way for the 

the nver. '' 

passage of the main army . One party was to overpower the 
guns at and near the Red House, the second vras to destroy 
the bridge over Frenchman's Creek and cut the communi- 
cation with Chippawa. The first party, consisting of 
regulars and sailors, after being fired upon by the Cana- 
dians at the ferry, landed lower down near the Red House. 
They Their first attacks were repulsed ; but, making a detour 
^^OQ^ and being mistaken in the darkness, it was said, for British 
^ tiie troops, they overpowered the defenders, carried the posi- 
Hoase, tion, and took possession of the two guns at the house, 
and the two at the neighbouring batteries. There was 
much confusion in the night, the different British detach- 
ments moving up and down the bank, unable to distinguish 
friend from foe, and the Americans becoming divided with 
the result that some of them recrossed the river with their 
wounded and some British prisoners, and about thirty 
others, including the conunander, remained on the Cana- 
dian side and were taken prisoners lower down the 
and river when daylight came. Meanwhile the second party, 

podtioo^^ or some of them, landed near Frenchman's Creek, and 

THE WAR OF 1812 59 

after some fighting reached the bridge, damaged but at French- 
failed to destroy it» and on the approach of reinforcements ^|^j^ 
recrossed to the American shore. With daylight troops 
came up from Chippawa, foUowed a little later by a party 
of Indians; another American detachment, which at- 
tempted to land, was beaten back ; the whole position Repulse 
on the British side was reinstated, and the dismounted ^^. 
guns were recovered. In proportion to its numbers the cans, 
small British force had suffered severely from the night's 
work, for the losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners 
amounted to nearly one hundred, the 49th being the prin- 
cipal sufierefs ; but the Americans also lost heavily and 
they had not attained their object. 

The proceedings on thdr side were to have been pre- 
liminary to a general embarkation, and a general em- 
barkation of some land took place, resulting in a parade 
along the American shore. General Sm3rth's dispatch 
runs : * The troops then embarked, moved up the stream 
to Black Rock, without sustaining loss from the enemy's 
fire. It was now the afternoon, and they were ordered to 
disembark and dine.' Coinddently with this diqplay, 
Smyth sent across a flag of truce to Colonel Bisshopp 
proposing that, as the latter had seen * a part of the hourly 
increasing force ' of the Americans, he should surrender 
Fort Erie ' to spare the effusion of blood '. The proposal 
was rejected, and no more blood was shed that day. Smjrth 
spent the next day — ^the 29th — ^in preparations, and gave 
ordefs that a fre^ attempt should be made to cross at 
8 o'clock on the morning of the 30th. His officers took 
exception to crossing in broad daylight in the &ce of the 
British batteries which were now in order again, and he 
agreed to another day's adjournment with a view to em- 
barking before daybreak on December i, and crossing Further 
some miles lower down the river, in order to march direct a^^pt 
on Chippawa, and, after taking it, to advance to Fort to croes, 
George. Between three and four in the morning the em- ^pa^ 
barkation began. When daylight broke, there were some «nded. 
1,500 men in the boats, and others still on the shore, some 

6o THE WAR OF 1812 

of whom refused to embark. Smsrth then, by his own 
account, called a council of his officers to consider whether 
the crossing should be attempted, and, in accordance with 
their advice, countermanded the movement, and announced 
that the attempt to invade Canada would not be made 
imtil the army vras reinforced. ^A scene of confusion 
ensued \ so Porter tells us, * which it is difficult to describe, 
about 4,000 men without order or restraint discharging 
their muskets in every direction.' On the next day a 
* committee of the patriotic citizens of the Western coun- 
ties of New York * not unreasonably took General Smyth 
to task for this miserable fiasco. In his reply he reminded 
them that * the affair at Queenston is a caution against 
relying on crowds who go to the banks of Niagara to look 
at a battle as on a theatrical exhibition ', and this much 
he had to say for himself ; but he might have added that 
he had done more than any one else to turn war into a bur- 
lesque. At any rate his countrymen felt that he had 
made fools of them ; and, when he wound up his official 
report to his government by asking permission to visit his 
wife and children whom he had not seen for fourteen 
months, the authorities met his wishes by dispensing with 
his services altogether. 

This was the end of the year's campaigning above Lake 

Ontario. The Americans were wretchedly led, and the 

militia and volunteers do not seem to have made up their 

minds whether they wanted to fight or whether they did 

The not. Nor had anything been achieved lower down on the 

TO^tioos Canadian frontier. On Lake Ontario, whose extreme 

on Lake length from west to east is not far short of 200 miles, neither 

Ontana ^.j^^ British nor the Americans had, during 1812, much 

3trength in shipping ; but before the close of the season 

the Americans had the preponderance. On the northern 

shore of the lake the two principal Canadian settlements 

York. were York or Toronto, and Kingston. York, near the 

western end of the lake, over against the mouth of the 

Niagara river, at some thirty to thirty-five miles distance 

across the water, had not yet suffered from the war, but 

THE WAR OF 1812 6r 

at the other end of the lake Kingston had aheady been 
partially blockaded by American vessels. Kingston was Kingston, 
at the time the most populous settlement in Upper Canada, 
and its name, which had supplanted the earlier names of 
Cataraqui and Fort Frontenac, bore witness to the coming 
of the United Empire Loyalists. It was the main British 
naval dtfp6t on the lake, though there was shipbuilding 
too at York, which place Simcoe had marked out as the 
future naval arsenal of Lake Ontario. La SaUe, in bygone 
days, had chosen the site of Kingston for his Fort Frontenac. 
The town stands on the northern shore of the outlet of the 
St. Lawrence, where it flows out of Lake Ontario and takes 
its cotuse amid the Thousand Islands. In a recess of the 
American shore, almost immediately opposite, with Wolfe 
Island intervening, was the American naval base at 
Sackett's Harbour, only about twenty-six miles distant Sackett's 
from Kingston in a direct line, but some thirty-five miles ^^*'*^^'**'- 
distant by the navigable channels. Here Isaac Chauncey, Isaac 
the American commodore, was busy constructing and^^'*"^*^' 
equipping a fleet to command the lake and intercept com- 
munication by water between Upper and Lower Canada. 
Of all points on the frontier Sackett's Harbour was the 
most dangerous to Canada. Brock, it is said, had been 
anxious to strike at it immediately on his return from 
Detroit, but the armistice which Prevost made with Dear- 
bom checkmated his plans. Not that Prevost was un-ptevost 
mindful of the supreme importance of keeping open the ^^!^^ 
water-ways of Canada. Dispatch after dispatch from him tance of 
referred to the exertions which were being made by the ^^^^d 
Americans to gain ascendency on the lakes, and to the ^^^ 
necessity of making counter-preparations. In November, 
z8i2, we find him suggesting that the marine on the lakes 
should be placed under Admiralty control, and that proper 
officers should be appointed from England to take chaiige 
of naval matters in Canada. At the same time the Home 
government, in their turn, were writing that every exertion 
should be made to keep naval superiority on the lakes, 
and promised that in the spring 200 sailors, with officers 

62 THE WAR OF i8ia 

Chauncey in proportion, should be sent out. Meanwhile, however^ 
^^^3 Sackett's Harbour was left abnost unmolested^ and Chaun* 
Lake cey, in the middle of November, was aUe to report that he 
at the end ^^ driven a British ship, the Royal George^ into the 

of 1812. inner harbour at Kingston under the guns of the batteries, 
that he had secured conmiand of the lake, and could trans- 
port troops and stores to any part of it without risk of 
Raids on Bdow Kingston, on the St. Lawrence, nothing tran- 
of t£r^^ spired in the year z8i2 beyond small raids and counter* 

Upper St. raids. In September, a party of Americans crossed the 
wrence. ^^^ about twenty miles below Kingston, and attacked 
and looted two or three houses then standing at Gana* 
nogue, which is now a little town visited by tourists to the 
Thousand Islands. Lower down on the river, early in 
October, an abortive attempt was made from Prescott, 
on the Canadian shore, to cross and attack the fort at 
Qgdensburg, an important American position. In the 
early morning of October 23, a small band of Canadians, 
holding the Indian village of St. R^gis, was surprised and 
overpowered by a stronger party of Americans, who came 
from a post some miles to the east, French Mills on the 
Salmon river. A month later, the American garrison 
at this latter place were in turn surprised and taken. 
These two last littie incidents occurred on the southern 
side of the St. Lawrrace, St. Regis standing where the 
45th parallel of north latitude meets the river. For many 
miles eastward from this point, under the treaty of 1783, 
the 45th parallel formed already at that date, as it still 
forms, the international boundary, and here the Canadians 
had no natural frontier to defend. Consequentiy, from 
St. Regis at one end, to the Yamaska river beyond the 
Cordon of Richelieu at the other, a regular cordon of outposts was 
^^^1^^ established, covering the possible routes of American ad- 
across the vance from Lake Champlain against Montreal. These 
from Lake posts were held by Canadian voltigeurs and militia under 
^k^" Major de Salaberry ; and, when the Americans were re- 
ported to be advancing, a strong force of 1,900 men, of 

THE WAR OF 1812 63 

whom the majority were regularsi was brought across 
the St. Lawrence from Montreal and stationed at a place 
named Laccadie» between St. John's on the Richelieu 
river and La Prairie, directly blocking the crossing to 
Montreal. Two additional regiments of the line, it may 
be noted, had reached Canada in the course of the summer, 
the 103rd, and a battalion of the ist Royal Scots, the latter 
having come from the West Indies. 

Dearborn, the American Conmiander-in-chief, and his Dearborn 
army had, in the meantime, moved up from Greenbush to bu^^^ 
Plattsburg on the western side of Lake Champlain towards 
its northern end, where he established his head quarters ; 
and by the middle of November the van of his force had 
advanced further north to the village of Champlain, which 
was dose to the boundary line. On the Canadian side of 
the boundary was the little village of Odelltown, and 
behind it was a stream called the LacoUe, running into the sidrmish 
RicheUeu. Here there was a blockhouse and a picket of f^^^ 
Canadians, who were attacked on the early morning of river. 
November 20 by a strong detachment of Americans. The 
latter crossed the stream in two parties and took the post ; 
but the defenders escaped, and in the darkness the 
Americans fired on each other, and finally, on the approach 
of reinforcements on the Canadian side, retreated, having 
done more damage to themselves than to the enemy. 
Dearborn then concluded that no more could be done 
during the remainder of the season, and his troops went 
into winter quarters. 

While the Americans during 1812 had been uniformly American 
unsuccessful on land, they had, on a small scale, an almost ^Sl^H^ 
uninterrupted series of successes at sea. In themselves 
these sea-fights were of no great importance, as they were 
all duels between single ships, but their moral effect was 
considerable. Since Trafedgar the English had deemed 
themselves invincible on the ocean, and when news came 
that one King's ship after another had been forced to strike 
her colours, there was more sense of humiliation than if 
greater disasters had befallen the British arms on land. 

T- ■ S- 

64 THE WAR OF 1812 

The leading American naval officer at the b^^inning of the 
war was Commodore Rodgers, whose flag-ship was the 
The three President. This ship was one of three very powerful 
^^[^ frigates, well equipped, weU manned, and well handled, 
which did admirable service for their comitiy dming the 
war. The other two frigates were the Constituiion and 
the United States. The President was the ship, and 
Rodgers was the captain, concerned in the fight with the 
British vessel Little Belt which preluded the war ; and the 
Little Belt was at the time carrying dispatches for another 
British ship, the Guerriire^ which was subsequently 
taken by the Americans. The President^ in turn, though 
Rodgers was no longer commanding her, was captured 
towards the dose of the war, in January, 1815, being the 
only one of the three frigates which fell into British hands. 
Inmiediatdy after the declaration of war, Rodgers, on 
June 21, 1812, set sail with a small squadron from New 
York to intercept a British merchant fleet which was being 
convoyed home from the West Indies. The cruise was 
barren of results. The squadron had a running fight with 
a British frigate, the Belvidera^ chased her into Halifax, 
and after scouring the North Atlantic came back to Boston 
with half a dozen insignificant prizes. On August 13, a 
small British warship, the sloop Alerts was taken by the 
Capture American ship Essex ; and on the 19th of that month the 
British Constitution, one of the three fighting American frigates, 
^ip ., captured the Guerriere. The Guerriere was a ship which 
' had been taken from the French in 1806. She vras inferior 
to the Constitution in weight, power of guns, and number 
of crew. The result of a fight which lasted, according to 
different accounts, from half an hour to two hours, was 
that her masts went by the board, owing partly to the 
accuracy of the American fire, partly to the rottenness of 
the timber; and, with many of her crew killed and 
wounded, she surrendered, a hopdess wreck, to the Con- 
stitution. The British loss in men was heavy, the Ameri- 
can loss was trifling. The captain of the Constitution, 
Isaac Hull, more competent and more fortunate than the 

THE WAR OF 1812 65 

American general of that name, reported that the Guerrihe 
' had been totally dismasted and otherwise cut to pieces, 
so as to make her not worth towing into port '• The 
British captain's evidence was to the same effect, and on 
the day after the fight the ship was blown up. The court- 
martial, which honourably acquitted Dacres, the British 
captain, found that the disaster to the Guerriere was due 
to * the accident of her masts going, which was occasioned 
more by their defective state than from the fire of the 
enemy '. The next incident was the capture of the British 
sloop of war Frolic^ on October 18, by the American ship 
Wasp^ both vessels being retaken about two hours later 
on the same day by the British battleship Paidiers. On aad of 
October 25, the British frigate Macedonian, not an old ship ^^" 
like the Guerrihe but one of the best of her dass, was 
encountered in the North Atlantic by the United States, 
and, after having a third of her crew killed or wounded, 
struck her colours and was taken into port. The court- 
martial on the British captain honourably acquitted him, 
but fotmd that * previous to the commencement of the 
action, from an over anxiety to keep the weather gauge, an 
opportunity was lost of closing with the enemy '. In plain 
words, the guns of the American ship outranged those of 
the Macedonian. The year closed with yet another naval 
success for the Americans. The Constitution, under a new and Java. 
captain, fell in with the British frigate Java on Decem- 
ber 29, off the coast of Brazil. The Java was bound for 
the East Indies, with the Governor of Bombay and various 
supernumerary officers and seamen on board. She fought 
hard, her captain was mortally wounded, and her casual- 
ties amounted to between one-third and one-half of her 
crew. When she struck her colours she was a complete 
wreck, and, after the prisoners had been removed, was 

In all these three frigate actions there was the same^itish 
story to tell ; the Guerriere, the Macedonian, the Java, ^^ 
were overmatched by the more powerful American vessels ; naval 
and writers from that time to this have been at pains to ^®^^^ 


66 THE WAR OF 1812 

count up the number of tons and guns and men, in order 
to prove that the English in each case only succumbed to 
superior force. But war is a matter of business, not of 
knight-errantry ; and, if the matter is worth pursuing at all, 
such apologies are really a condemnation of the British 
case and a justification of the American. There was some- 
thing childish, alike in the excuses which were made for the 
British defeats, that the American frigates were not fri- 
gates at all, but battleships, and so forth, and in the 
challenges which were issued from one ship to another on 
either side to meet in single combat. There seemed to be 
a sort of feeling, which has been perpetuated in subsequent 
accounts of the war, that it was hardly pla3ring the game 
if one ship was attacked by more than one ; and, when 
there was a naval dud, it was held to be an adequate 
apology for defeat that the victor was the more powerful. 
The one thing in war is to crush the enemy, and the most 
obvious way of achieving this object is to make certain of 
attacking with superior force. Yet we read that Captain 
Dacres, for instance, of the Guerriere, before he lost his 
ship, had sent a sort of challenge to the President^ or any 
similar frigate, to meet him, as he termed it, teU^-t&e ; 
and, when a sister ship to the President defeated him, it 
turned out, and the fact was held to exculpate him, that 
the masts of his own ship were rotten. 
Spas- These naval fights illustrate the spasmodic character of 

^^^jter ^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^®^^ ^ ^** earUer stages. To a great extent on 
of the war land, to a greater extent on sea, it consisted of a series of 
^rto T^^^^ or less isolated episodes. While the continent of 
stages. Europe was a theatre of war organized on a vast scale 
under the greatest captains of modem history, in the west 
there was a side play, in which men of English race had a 
succession of rounds with each other in a kind of prize- 
fight. Only in Canada itself was there an infant people 
learning to stand up steadily and to fight for its existence ; 
and Canada only learnt its lesson through Brock's example 
and Brock's successes. * The want of union,* he wrote 
to his brothers on September 3, i8ia« * was neady losing 

THE WAR OF 1812 67 

this province without even a struggle.' But the sea-fights 
tell more than this. Since the days of Nelson and Trafal- 
gar« and in a curious manner in consequence of Nelson and 
Tra&lgar, the British navy had deteriorated. Trafalgar Deteno- 
had destroyed opposition to Great Britain on the sea. ^e^^ 
Thenceforward British ships and British sailors were con- British 


cemed mainly in subsidiary operations, in blockading, in 
convoying, in supplementing the land armies. Ships were 
detached here and there; there was Uttle serious fighting; 
discipline, gunnery, and seamanship were no longer per- 
petually kept, in face of organized hostile fleets, at the 
highest possible point of perfection. At the same time, 
the memory of Nelson, who always attacked and always 
won, led every captain of every British ship to imagine 
that his only duty was to attack at whatever odds, and 
that the attack must necessarily succeed. Meanwhile the 
Americans, having very few ships, made the most of them, 
and taught the British commanders of the day the very 
salutary lesson that they should not despise their antago- 
nists. In doing so they were largely helped by deserters 
from the British navy. It is not pleasant to read that the Deser- 
British prisoners taken on the defeated ships recognized froi^ the 
old comrades among their captors, and that the British British 
courts of inquiry found it necessary to express their appre- 
ciation of the fact that the surrendered crews did not 
accept the inducements which were held out to them to 
join the enemies of their country. But the truth was that 
many years of war, and the press-gang system, had given 
to Great Britain a large number of reluctant sailors ; the 
impressment of American citizens was one of the charges 
brought against her by the government of the United 
States ; and, under the conditions of life on seaboard in 
the early days of the nineteenth century, the ties of alle- 
giance may well have been held lightly by many men who 
had been bom tmder the British flag but, unrelieved by 
the excitement of war and victory, had suffered at the 
hands of tmwise commanders. 
The impression which was made on English minds by the 


68 THE WAR OF 1812 

The repeated American successes at sea in the year 1812, was 

WeuL^- l>luntly expressed in a letter which the Duke of Wellington 

ton on wrote to Marshal Beresford on Febmaiy 6, 1813, in the 

figh^* following terms : * I have been very uneasy about the 

American naval successes. I think we ^ould have 

peace with America before the season for opening the 

campaign in Canada, if we could take one or two of these 

d — d frigates,* * 

^ Wellington's Despatches (Garwood), 1838 edittoo, vol. x, p. 92. 



On December 29, 1812, the Legislature of Lower Canada Meeting 
met again, and sat till February 15 following. Prevost, L^^a- 
in his opening address, referred to the successes gained in tnre of 
the late campaign, as well as to the Duke of Wellington's Canada, 
victories in the Peninsula ; and the Assembly, in a patriotic 
reply, rejoiced * that the campaign has terminated without 
the effusion of blood, without loss of territory, and with- 
out interruption to the most important habits of peace 
by a recourse to martial law \ They ascribed that happy 
termination * to the energetic, yet mild and conciliating, 
measures of your Excellency, to the devotion of His 
Majesty's Canadian subjects, and to the rightful cause of 
a beloved Sovereign'. The reference to the bloodless 
nature of the campaign obviously held true only of Lower 
Canada. The subject of martial law came up again in 
the course of the session, and it was made evident that 
any attempt to proclaim martial law would meet with the 
strongest opposition ; nor was revision of the miUtia 
laws, though recommended by the Governor-General, 
carried into effect. On the other hand, Uberal supplies 
were voted for canying on the war ; new import duties 
were imposed ; and the act for the issue of army bills to 
meet the special requirements of the crisis and the want 
of sufficient specie in Canada for that purpose, which had 
been passed in the preceding year, was renewed, and the 
maximum limit of the issue was increased. 

Sheaffe, who was created a baronet for his services in Meeting 
the battle on Queenston Heights, took over the adminis- Le^a- 
tration of Upper Canada upon the death of Brock. He tnre of 
called the Legislature together at York on February 25, c^da. 
1813, and prorogued it on March 13. The proceedings were 
harmonious; the acting lieutenant-Govemor and the 

70 THE WAR OF 1812 

legislators congratulated each other on past successes ; and 
the Militia Acts were amended so as to facilitate the incor- 
poration of new bodies of militia and the appointment of 
officers. Small bounties were voted to encourage volun- 
tary service in the militia ; and, as far as the limited re- 
sources of the province would allow, every effort was made 
to find funds for the war and to strengtiien the hands of 
the Executive in canying it on. Nor was Brock forgotten, 
for an address was presented to the Prince R^ent, asking 
that a grant of waste lands in Ontario might be made to 
the family of the dead general, in order to perpetuate his 
name in the province for which he had given his life. 
Meanwhile, before this short session was held, and in the 
depth of winter, there had already been hard fighting on 
the western frontier. 
The forta After the capture of Detroit, Colonel Procter, who had 
^umee ^>^^^ ^^^ "I charge of this end of Canada, and of the territory 
river. of Michigan, which had been declared to be annexed, sent 
an expedition in September, 1812, up the Maumee river. 
This river was the line of advance for the men of Kentucky 
and Ohio against Detroit and Amherstburg. At its head, 
where two streams, the St. Joseph and St. Mary, combine 
to form the Maumee about sixty-five miles from its outlet 
into Lake Erie, and where there was a portage to the 
Wabash river, stood the American Fort Wayne in what 
is now the state of Indiana. At the present day, a large 
town stands on its site, bearing the same name. Lower 
down, in the present state of Ohio, at the junction of the 
au Glaize river with the Maumee, was another fort, or the 
remains of a fort, known as Fort Defiance. Lower down 
again came the Miami rapids, where there had been forts 
already, and where Fort Meigs was shortly to be built, 
Abortive whence there was uninterrupted navigation to Lake Erie. 
^^^. The objective of the expedition was Fort Wayne; but when 
tion Major Muir of the 41st, who was in command — ^the same 
Fort officer who had commanded at the fight at Maguaga — 
Wayne, arrived within striking distance, he found that the place 
was too strongly held to justify attack, and that he him- 

THE WAR OF 1812 71 

sdf was in danger of counter-attack from superior numbers. 
It was said that Procter, under Brock's instructionSi had 
intended that the expedition should start at an . earlier 
date, before the Americans after Hull's defeat had made 
adequate preparations for defence, but that Prevost, while 
engaged in n^otiating for an armistice with the American 
government, had repressed any forward movement until 
it was too late to achieve success. In any case the 
expedition came to nothing, and the Americans set them- 
selves to overawe the Indians, and made plans for retaking 
Detroit and capturing Fort Maiden at Amherstburg in 
a winter campaign. 

Their commander, in succession to Hull, was General Genena 
Harrison, whose reputation rested on his victory over the ^^*''^^**'*- 
Indians at the Tippecanoe river, in 181 1. At the begin- 
ning of January, having again harried the Indians in the 
r^ons which are now included in the states of Ohio and 
Indiana, by the usual methods of burning their villages 
and destro}dng their supplies, Harrison was ready to 
advance against Procter's garrisons on the Detroit 
frontier. The American army was divided into two Americaa 
wings ; one wing was on the upper reaches of the Maumee, J[^J^|^ 
the other on the line of the Sandusky river, which flows Detroit 
into the inlet of Lake Erie known as Sandusky Bay, ^^erst- 
about thirty miles east of the mouth of the Maumee. ^^>^- 
About ten or eleven miles up the Sandusky river was 
Lower Sandusky, where there was a fort known, either at 
the time or very shortly afterwards, as Fort Stephenson. 
At Upper Sandusky, about thirty-seven miles higher up 
the river, General Harrison had, at the beginning of the 
year, fixed his camp. General Winchester was in charge 
of the troops on the Maimiee; and the plan was that 
the two forces should concentrate at the Miami rapids, 
about thirty-one miles distant from Lower Sandusky, and 
from that point advance on Amherstbuig and Detroit. In 
accordance with these arrangements, Winchester moved 
forward down the Maumee from his camp a little below 
the confluence of the au Glaize with that river, and con- 

72 THE WAR OF i8ia 

centrated his troops at the Miami rapids by January lo. 
They At about thirty-five miles distance from the rapids and 
F^nS- ^^^* half-way to Detroit ^, to which a trace iMtd been 
town on opened up by Hull, stood Frenchtown, on the northern 
^^1^ bank of the au Raisin river, which was held by some 
river. fifty men of the Canadian militia under Major Reynolds, 
and a larger party of Indians. The French inhabitants 
of the village seem to have been friendly to the Americans 
and in dread of the Indians, and to have sent a message 
to Winchester, in consequence of which, without waiting 
for instructions from Harrison, he ordered a strong 
detachment of his force imder Colonel Lewis to advance 
and take the place. Leaving the rapids on January 17, 
Lewis reached on that evening a point on the shore of the 
lake, which is called in his dispatch Presque Isle ; and, 
starting early on the following morning, about three o'clock 
in the afternoon attacked Reynolds, drove him out of 
the village, and compelled him to retreat to Brownstown, 
about eighteen miles distant. He then encamped his 
troops on the northern outskirts of the village, the side 
on which attack might be expected. On hearing of this 
success Winchester, on January 19, moved forward him- 
self with reinforcements, and took up his own quarters on 
the southern side of the river, about three-quarters of 
a mile distant from Lewis's encampment. By tiie evening 
of the 20th he had brought most of his force from the 
rapids to Frenchtown, and on the same day Harrison 
had reached the rapids from Sandusky. 
Procter When Colonel Procter heard of what had happened, he 
^^^ took immediate steps to attack Winchester and regain 
attack the Frenchtown. The news reached him at Amherstburg on 
can?*" *^® ®^^y naoming of the 19th ; and on that day and on the 
20th he carried across the frozen Detroit river to Browns- 
town nearly all his available troops, his force, when united 
to Reynold's party, amounting to rather over 1,000 all 
told, about half of whom were Indians. He took with 

* Procter's dispatch makes Frenchtown twenty-six miles from Detroit, 
but the distance is rather greater. 

THE WAR OF 1812 73 

him, too, three or four small guns. Winchester's army 
seems to have nmnbered about 1,000 white men, so that 
the two opposing forces were fairly equal. On the 21st '^^ fig^^ 
Procter advanced, and reached a point about six miles Raisin ° 
short of Frenchtown ; and, marching again very early on "^^' 
the 22nd, he attacked the enemy at break of day. A 
Kentucky officer, who was present and escaped, reported 
that there had been a rumour the night before that Procter 
would attack before day, but that no preparations were 
made in consequence ; and, though General Winchester's 
report states that the American picket guards were driven 
in by the British advance, httle or no precaution was 
apparently taken in the way of outposts ; Procter's attack 
therefore came as a surprise. The American right was 
in comparatively open grotmd, but on the left and centre 
there was good cover among the houses and orchards of 
the village, and at this point of the line they seem to have 
thrown up some defences arotmd their camp. Procter 
attacked with the r^^ulars in the centre and the militia 
and Indians on the wings. The fighting was heavy, and 
the British losses were severe, especially where the r^[ulars 
were exposed to the fixe of the American centre fighting 
behind defences. The issue was decided by the Indians 
outflanking the Americans on either side and gaining the 
rear. The American right, the most exposed part of 
their force, attacked by militia and Indians, was broken 
and driven across the river, where it was cut to pieces by 
the Indians. Their left was driven in upon the centre ; Defeat 
but, having cover, this section of the army still held out, ^^^. 
until General Winchester, who, on the right flank, had cans and 
been taken prisoner, arranged with Procter, in order to^^^i^ 
avoid further loss of life and the possibility of wholesale ^2^^ 
massacre by the Indians, that those of his force who were 
still fighting should surrender at discretion as prisoners of 
war. They surrendered to the number of 400 ; the total 
number of American prisoners amotmted to slightly over 
500, including General Winchester and Colonel Lewis ; 
and of the rest of Winchester's army the large majority 

74 THE WAR OF 1812 

were killed, only a few stragglers finding their way back 
to the Miami rapids. On the British side twenty-four 
white men were killed and 158 woimded ; and, having 
more prisoners on his hands than he had white men to 
guard them, Procter retreated inunediately, fearing that 
Harrison with strong reinforcements would arrive in time 
to retrieve the disaster. Harrison, before the day of the 
fight, had sent troops to support Winchester, but tiiey had 
not come up in time. On the day of the fight he heard of 
Procter's attack and moved forward himself ; but, meeting 
fugitives on the route and learning the truth of what had 
happened, he collected the various detachments that 
remained, and fell back to the Portage river between the 
Sandusky and the Maumee, to cover the movement of 
stores and artillery from Upper Sandusky to the rapids. 
Thus both generals expected to be attacked, and both 
retreated ; and while the battle of the au Raisin 
was a most disastrous blow to the Americans, entirely 
disconcerting Harrison's plan of campaign, Procter had 
i not the men to follow up his success. The fight, in short, 
like many others in this war, though it resulted at the 
moment in a complete victory for one side, a crushing 
defeat for the other, was none the less an isolated incident 
instead of one link in a chain of connected operations. 
* The zeal and courage of the Indian department,' wrote 
Procter, *were never more conspicuous than on this 
occasion, and the Indian warriors fought with their usual 
Massacre bravery.' There were also the almost inevitable accom- 
^^^^' paniments of Indian warfare, wholesale slaughter on the 
Indians, battlefield, and some instances of killing of the wounded ; 
but the Indians had in their turn suffered from ruthless 
treatment at the hands of the American backwoodsmen, 
and that the stories of their cruelties were exaggerated 
may be inferred from the following statement in one of 
General Harrison's dispatches, * I have seen one man who 
asserts that he saw General Winchester killed, scalped, and 
his bowels taken out ' : whereas General Winchester, safe 
and sound, a prisoner at Maiden, had already, before these 

THE WAR OF 1812 75 

words were written, composed an official report of the fight 
for the benefit of his Government. 

General Harrison reorganized his army, brought up 
artillery and stores, and made good his position at the 
Miami rapids. On high ground at the foot of the rapids, on Harrison 
the right or southern bank of the river, he built a strong fort, p^rt ' 
which was christened Fort Meigs, mounted it with guns, and ^"C^L|, 
garrisoned it to be the head quarters for future operations rapids, 
against Procter's positions on the Detroit river. At 
the beginning of March he sent out an expedition from 
Lower Sandusky to cross the lake on the ice and attack 
the British vessels lying up at Amherstburg ; but the ice 
had broken up earlier than usual, the detachment was 
obliged to return, and no action had as yet been taken on 
his side against Procter, when the latter, who had been Procter 
promoted to be Brigadier-General for his success at the ^^ ^^ 
au Raisin, determined to try to dislodge the Americans attack the 
at Fort Meigs. That fort stood some twelve miles from ^^'^ 
the mouth of the Maumee, and between its site and 
Lake Erie now stands the large town of Toledo. General 
Harrison held it with some 1,300 men, and a rein- 
forcement of equal number under General Green Clay 
was moving down the upper reaches of the Maumee to his 

On April 23, Procter embarked at Amherstbuig about 
1,000 white troops, including 400 of the much-enduring 
41st raiment which fought in every fight at this end of 
Canada ; z,200 Indians or more under Tecumseh*s leader- 
ship either accompanied him or joined him at the mouth 
of the Maumee, and he took with him, it would seem, all 
his available artillery. In two or three da)^ he had The siege 
landed his men and guns on the northern or left bank of m^T 
the Maumee, the opposite side to that on which Fort Meigs 
stood, and fixed his camp a mile and a half below the fort, 
where there were the remains of another old fort or 
camping ground. Heavy rains delayed his proceedings, 
and it was not until May i that he had estabUshed a 
battexy higher up the river than his camp, below but 

76 THE WAR OF i8ia 

nearly opposite to the fort, and opened fire. A second 
battery was added on the following day, but the fire of 
both was ineflfective owing to the strength of the defences 
of Fort Mdgs ; and a third battery, which was, on the night 
of the 2nd or 3rd of May, erected on the opposite side of the 
river, on the same side as, and immediately below, the fort, 
also produced Uttle effect. This last battery was guarded 
by the two flank companies of the 41st, but the main 
British force was stationed at the camp lower down the 
river, leaving the batteries on either side somewhat unac- 
countably open to attack in the face of a strong and well 
garrisoned fort. It must be presumed that Procter relied, 
as indeed he had good reason to rely, upon the vigilance 
of Tecumseh and his Indians. At midnight on May 4, 
Harrison heard from Clay that the latter was nearing the 
A detach- rapids and was within two hours of the fort. He sent 
]J^J^. instructions to him to land 800 men on the left or northern 
<^9^- bank, to carry the British batteries on that side, spike the 
British gu^s, and then return to the boats and cross to Fort Meigs, 
on tiS^Sft ^® remainder of the force was to keep on the right side 
bank of of the river and make its way to the fort through any 
the nvcr, opposition which the Indians might offer. Clay received 
his instructions at eight o'clock in the morning ; there was 
delay and confusion among the boats in descending the 
rapids ; but the instructions were carried out, and about 
nine o'clock between 800 and 900 men under Colonel 
Dudley were landed on the northern shore above the fort 
and above the batteries, rushed the batteries, which had 
been left in the charge of a few artillery-men, and spiked 
the guns. Instead, however, of returning to their boats 
in accordance with orders, the victorious Americans 
remained on the northern shore, part of them held the 
position at the batteries, and part made a diversion into 
bntis the woods to skirmish with the Indians. The latter 
mi^y detachment fell into an ambuscade, the former were 
annihi- overpowered by a smaller body of r^^ulars and militia 
sent by Procter to retake the guns ; and the net result was 
that between 400 and 500 Americans were taken prisoners. 

THE WAR OF 1812 77 

and only about 150 of the whole force landed on the 
northern shore made good their escape to the boats. 
Meanwhile, on the southern shore, Qay and the remainder Fighting 
of his army were attacked by the Indians, but joined hands right ^ 
with a detachment sent out from the fort to meet them ; ^\ ®^ 
and Harrison ordered a sortie against the British battery 
on the southern bank, took one of the guns, and carried 
off some forty men of the 41st as prisoners. The remaining 
men of the 41st, who were stationed at this point, stiffened 
up by a small reinforcement of militia and Indians, rallied, 
retook the battery, and drove the Americans with some 
loss back into the fort. This ended the fighting and the 
expedition. Procter had not enough men, nor heavy The nege 
enough guns to take Fort Meigs. The Indians, having again doned. 
killed some of the wounded, drifted off with plunder and 
prisoners to their villages, leaving Procter, according to the 
wording of his report on the expedition, with * Tecumseh 
and less than twenty chiefs and warriors ', and causing him 
to conclude * that, tmder present circumstances at least, 
our Indian force is not a disposable one, or permanent, 
though occasionally a most powerful aid '. Half the militia, 
too, had gone off to attend to their farms in the sowing 
season. The British commander, therefore, having made 
arrangements for exchange of prisoners, on May 9 broke 
up his encampment, brought off his guns, and went back 
to the Detroit river. The total British loss in kiUed, 
wounded, and prisoners had not exceeded one htmdred. 
The American loss had been six or seven times heavier, 
but Fort Meigs had not been taken, and Harrison, with far 
largerresourcesthanProcter,wasbetterable to bide his time. 
In his dispatch which has been quoted above, and which 
was written from Sandwich on May 14, Procter noted with Procter's 
regaid to his expedition that *if the enemy had beeucnities. 
permitted to receive his reinforcements and supplies tm- 
disturbed, I should have had at this critical juncture to 
contend with him for Detroit, or perhaps on this shore '• 
It was a very critical time at this end of Canada. The 
difficulty of finding men to fight, of transporting them 

78 THE WAR OF 1812 

when availabki and of feeding them either on service or off 
it, was a constantly growing one. The Indians too had to 
be humoured and to be fed, and it was absolutely necessary 
to risk expeditions against the enemy in order to try and 
cripple him for the time being, and to encourage the 
native allies of the English. Above all it was necessary 
to keep Lake Erie open for British vessels. 

In two months' time reinforcements of the 4zst raiment 
had reached Procter, and the Indians had gathered again. 
i^«ct(Rr'8 About July 20, therefore, Procter started once more in the 
Son ' hope of inflicting another blow on Harrison's army. Fort 
^^^ Meigs, and Fort Stephenson at Lower Sandusky, were the 
Stephen- two points from which American invasion was to be feared. 
^^' The former was vexy strongly held ; the latter had only 
a small garrison, but Harrison himself with a consider- 
able force was not more than ten miles distant, higher 
up the Sandusky river, at Seneca-town or Fort Seneca. 
Procter's force consisted of not more than 400 white 
soldiers, nearly all of the 41st regiment, with a few artillery- 
men and some six-pounder guns ; but at the start he was 
accompanied by a large concourse of Indians, in three 
bodies, one of which was commanded by Tecumseh. His 
first intention was to attack Fort Meigs, but he found that 
any attempt to take it would be hopeless ; and a plan of 
Tecumseh's for deco3dng the garrison from behind their 
defences by firing in the neighbouring woods on the side 
on which the routes from Sandusky approached the fort, 
and thereby giving the impression that a detachment 
of Americans was being entrapped and needed reUef, 
entirely failed in its object. Procter therefore abandoned 
all hope of success in this quarter ; and, while many of the 
Indians turned back towards home, and others under 
Tecumseh continued to lie in wait near Fort Meigs or in 
the swamps which intervened between the Maumee and 
the Sandusky rivers, he himself with his white troops, and, 
according to British accounts, not more than 200 Indians, 
went on to Sandusky Bay and ascended the river in boats 
to attack Fort Stephenson. 

THE WAR OF 1812 79 

The fort stood on the left or western side of the river. Fart 
On the land side, outside the main building of the fort, was ^*^*'*' 
a ditch, the edges of which were crowned with- palisades. 
The position was a strong one, but the garrison consisted 
of not more than 160 men, soldiers of the r^ular American 
army, and there was only one gun in the fort. The com- 
mander. Major Croghan, had therefore been instructed to 
retire, if possible, upon the appearance of the enemy, de- 
stroying the fort ; but Procter's advance was so sudden and 
unexpected that these instructions could not be carried out. 
Procter reached the place on the evening of August z, and 
demanded its surrender; Croghan refused; and, after 
some firing from the boats, Procter landed his men to cut Attack on 
off the garrison's retreat, and during the night brought his ^® ^^'^' 
guns into position to effect a breach at the north-western 
angle of the fort on the side which looked down the river. 
The guns were too light to make much impression upon the 
defences, and between four and five in the afternoon of 
the 2nd, the British conunander attempted to storm the 
place. One party was detailed to attack at the nortii- A com- 
western comer, another to make an assault on the upper S^re. 
or southern side. The first party made their way through 
the outer palisades and into the ditch, but could go no 
further. The one gun in the fort, which had been 
masked, opened fixe with fatal effect and, supplemented 
by musketry, made the attack at this point hopeless. 
After repeated efforts, the stormers were beaten back ; 
the attempt on the southern side was not seriously pressed ; 
and, having suffered about 100 casualties, the British Retreat of 
force retreated down the river during the night, leaving ^^>^^^- 
some of their kiUed and wounded behind them. 

In a small way it was a bad reverse, a foretaste of greater 
disasters which were shortiy to befall the troops under 
Procter's command. In sending his report on the action, 
General Harrison added, *As Captain Perry was nearly 
ready to sail from Erie when I last heard from him, I hope 
that the period will soon arrive when we shall transfer the 
labouring oar to the enemy, and oblige him to encounter 




THE WAR OF 1812 

of the 
allies of 


some of the labours and difficulties which we have under* 
gone in waging a defensive warfeure and protecting our 
extensive frontier against a superior force.' How the 
labouring oar was transferred, and with what efiect the 
Americans took the offensive, will be told shortly. In the 
meantime, it will be noticed that Harrison wrote of having 
been up to that date on the defensive against superior 
forces. This was not the case, as regards the number of 
white men. He could command far larger numbers than 
Procter could bring against him; on the other hand, 
Procter from time to time had been able to collect strong 
bodies of Indians to co-operate in his expeditions, and 
the accotmts show that such success as had attended his 
efforts was largely due to their aid. Wherever Tecumseh 
was present, Indian skill and fighting power was at its best; 
and, wherever this chief was personally on the spot, Indian 
barbarities seem to have been repressed. But he was not 
alwa3^ in evidence, and the English, in using the services 
of Indian allies, had to pay the penalty of being responsible 
for Indian methods of warfare. In tiie following October, 
after the annihilation of Procter's force, a British officer was 
sent to Harrison from Procter to ask for humane treatment 
of the British prisoners, and the restoration of their private 
property and papers. Addressing his answer to General 
Vincent, then commanding the British force at Burlington 
Heights, Harrison, in a forcible and temperate letter, com- 
mented upon the outrages committed by the Indians who 
had served with Procter. After referring to * the tragedy 
of the river Raisin and that, equally well known, which 
was acted on the Miami river after the defeat of Colonel 
Dudley ', he gave specific instances of Indian savagery, 
including murders of women and children, and allied that 
these deeds were perpetrated, * if not in the view of the 
British commander, by parties who came immediately 
from his camp and returned to it ; who even received their 
daily support from the King's stores ; and who, in fact (as 
the documents in my possession will show) form part of 
his army '• He appealed to Vincent to stop the effusion 

THE WAR OF 1812 81 

of innocent Uood which was the result of the employment 
of Indians, warning him that the latter were now ready 
to turn against the English, and that, if the barbarities 
should be continued, he would * remove the restrictions 
which have hitherto been imposed upon those who have 
offered their services to the United States, and direct them 
tocarry on the war in their own way *• It is true that the 
Indians had been fighting for their national existence. It 
is true that the Americans had waged ruthless war against 
them. With knowledge of what has taken place in later 
times^ vshere white men have been planted on the confines 
of militant barbarism, it would be idle to maintain that 
the Kentuddans did not deal out to the Indians much 
the same measure of mdiolesale brutality as the Indians 
dealt to them. It is true that some of the Indians 
were fighting shortly afterwards in the American ranks* 
There is no room for doubt that the reason why Indians 
were more employed by the English than by the Ainericans, 
was not so much any scruple on the part of the Americans, 
as the plain fact that the English had befriended the 
Indians and the Americans had not ; and there is equally 
no reason to doubt that the British officers, with whom 
and nominaUy imder whom they served, were at pains to 
restrain their excesses. Still, white men are white, and 
coloured men are coloured. At aU times the cruelties of 
white men against the native races have, wrongly enough, 
been held more lightly than cruelties inflicted by natives 
upon white men. That the Indians on the British side 
had, on occasions, butchered prisoners and non-comba- 
tants could not be disproved, nor could the truth of 
Harrison's words, * The effect of their barbarities will not 
be confined to the present generation. Ages yet to come 
will feel the deep-rooted hatred and enmity which they 
must produce between the two nations.* This element of 
Indian warfare was largely responsible for the bitterness 
with which the war was subsequently waged on the 
Canadian frontier, the harrjdng and burning of villages, 
and the ill-treatment of the settlers. It was equally 

wcM : WAS G 


83 THE WAR OF 1812 

responsible for the stem reprisals which the British exacted, 
and for the legacy of bitter feeling which was the worst 
result of the war. 

The frontier raids, which had begun on the Upper St. 
Lawrence during the autumn of 1812, continued during 
the winter, fadUtated by the frozen state of the river. 
The The chief starting-point for these expeditions on the 
Ogdens- American side was Ogdensburg in the state of New York, 
burg.. It stands on the St. Lawrence, at the confluence of a 
stream carrying the combined waters of the Black and the 
Oswegatchie rivers, some seventy miles below Kingston, 
and below the long stretch of the St. Lawrence which is 
known as the Lake of the Thousand Islands. It had 
already played a considerable part in Canadian history, 
in the days of New France, and afterwards ; and in the 
preceding autumn an attempt had been made to take it 
from Prescott, which Ues directly opposite on the Canadian 
side, and at which place, or dose by , there was at this time 
a fort, named Fort Wellington, with a fairly strong British 
garrison. The attempt failed : and, on the night of Feb- 
ruary 6, Forsyth, the American commander at Ogdensburg, 
crossed the St. Lawrence on the ice, and attacked the little 
Canadian village of Ehzabethtown, which was dther 
already, or shortly afterwards, rechristened Brockville in 
memory of Isaac Brock. It stands about twdve miles 
above Prescott, had no defences, and hardly any armed 
defenders. The Americans looted the houses, carried off 
the stock and some of the inhabitants, and returned with 
their plunder to Ogdensburg. The conunander at Pres- 
cott sent Colond Macdonell of the Glengany regiment to 
Ogdensburg to remonstrate against this action, but with- 
out effect ; and Prevost, having come up to Prescott on 
February 21, while visiting the outposts on theway to Kings- 
ton, was asked by Macdonell, who had just taken over the 
command of the Prescott garrison, to allow him to make 
a counter-attack on Ogdensburg. According to Prevost's 
own dispatch to the Home government, he ordered Mac- 
donell to cany out his intention ; but it seems that his 

THE WAR OF 1812 83 

actual instructions were to make a demonstration against 
the place without hazarding a fight, and his authority for 
any movement at all appears oxUy to have been secured 
by representation that otherwise the Americans might 
intercept his journey to Kingston. 

Prevost left early on the morning of the 22nd ; and 
Macdonell instantiy, about seven in the morning, set out 
to cross the frozen river, one and a half miles wide, with 
a body of about 500 men, including detachments of the 
8th raiment of the line, of the Glengarries, of the New- 
foundland raiment, and of the militiai with three or four 
guns. Owing to the state of the ice and the necessity of 
keeping open order in face of the fire of the enemy, he 
divided his force into two bodies ; the Glengarries and some 
of the militia formed the right, while the left, under his 
personal command, stronger in numbers, included the 
r^^ulars and was accompanied by the artillery. The 
Americans seem to have also numbered about 500 men. 
The larger part held a position at or near the village of 
Ogdensburg, on the eastern or lower side of the Oswe- 
gatchie river ; the rest were on the other side of that river, 
where there was an old French fort. At both points there 
were batteries of artillery. Macdonell's plan was that the 
Glengarries and the militia with them should hold in check 
the enemy at or near the fort and intercept their retreat, 
while he himself with the left column carried the main 
American position at Ogdensburg village. Some time was 
taken in crossing the river, and, as the troops neared the 
American shore, they were exposed in the open to a severe 
fire from the enemy. Here, too, the snow was deep, and 
there was difficulty in bringing the guns up the bank. 
The Glengarries on the right pressed their attack hard, 
endeavouring to rush the guns which were directiy opposed 
to them ; but they were beaten back with some loss, their 
commander being grievously wounded. On the left, how- 
ever, Macdonell turned the right of the enemy, took their 
guns with a bayonet charge, drove them into and out of the 
village, then halted to breathe his men on the high ground 

G a 

84 THE WAR OF 1812 

opposite to and commanding the fort, and called on the 
fort to surrender. No answer bemg given, and firing 
having begun again, he carried another battery, turned its 
guns on the enemy who still hdd out, silenced their fire, and 
carried the fort. The majority of the Americans both 
from inside and from outside the fort escaped some miles 
into the woods, whence Forsyth, their commander, dis- 
patched an urgent message for reinforcements, promising 
that, if 300 men could be sent, * all shall be retaken, and 
Prescott too, or I will lose my life in the attempt * ; but 
he was not given an opportunity of retrieving his defeat. 
Macdonell burned the barracks, two armed schooners, and 
two gunboats which were frozen in the ice ; he carried off 
some seventy prisoners, eleven guns, including two twdve- 
pounders which had once belonged to Burgojme's army, 
and various military stores ; and, with sixty casualties 
on his own side, he returned at once to Prescott, having 
given security to this part of the Canadian frontier. The 
Americans, it may be noted, would probably have suffered 
heavier loss in escaping to the woods, had not the Indians 
attached to the Prescott garrison been, as Macdonell tells 
us, employed on this particular day in another direction. 
The Before this incident had taken place, the American 

^^^i*° Secretary of War had sent to Dearborn instructions for 
campaign the coming campaign. The troops on Lake Champlain 
^' '^* were to be moved up to Sackett's Harbour, and be replaced 
by new levies. Four thousand were to be assembled at 
Sackett's Harbour, and three thousand at Buffalo ; and, 
at the opening of navigation, about April i, the force at 
Sackett's Harbour was to be embarked for Kingston with 
a view to taking that place, its garrison, and the British 
flotilla wintering in the harbour. They were then to move 
on to York, to capture the stores there, and a ship which 
was being built ; and finally they were to co-operate with 
the Buffalo force in reducing Forts George and Erie, and 
the other British outposts on the line of the Niagara river« 
In order to conceal the real issues and account for the 
movement of the troops. Dearborn was to give out that 

THE WAR OF 1812 85 

Sackett's Harbour was threatened, and also that the desti- 
nation of the two brigades to be brought up from Lake 
Champlain was not Sackett's Harbour but Niagara. Dear- 
born, early in March, came to the conclusion that Prevost 
had collected a large force at Kingston to attack Sackett's 
Harbour, and wrote in real alarm to his government. The 
rumour was unfounded, but it seems to have disarranged 
the plan of campaign, for no attempt was made on Kings- 
ton, and it was not until April 25 that Chauncey's Chauncey 
squadron sailed out of Sackett's Harbour and made forp^^^^,^ 
York, some 150 miles distant, carrying Dearborn and a saU from 
force of 1,700 men. At this time the Americans had the Harbour 
conmiand of Lake Ontario, for such ships as the British ^ &^k 
had in being were cooped up at Kingston, just as the 
American ships on Lake Erie were shut in, while making 
their preparations, at Erie in the harbour of Presque Isle. 

In the year 1813, the present great dty of Toronto was, 
as we learn from Beverley Robinson's life, a small village York in 
with scarcely 700 inhabitants. Yet, small as it was, it was '^ ' ^* 
a large settlement for Upper Canada, though not so popu- 
lous as Kingston. It was the capital of Upper Canada ^ ; 
the Legislature had lately met there ; shipbuilding was 
in progress, all important for the war ; and it is unintelli- 
gible why, even allowing for limited resources, Prevost and 
Sheaffe had not made some provision for defence, and some 
attempt to provide an adequate garrison. It is the more 
uninteUigible in the Ught of a dispatch from Sheaffe written 
from York on April 5, in which he stated that he hoped to 
return to Fort George in a few days, but, before doing so, 
to see York placed in a better position than it then was to 

* Boachette in 1815 wrote of York : ' It is very regularly laid oat, 
with the streets running at right angles, and promises to become a very 
handsome town. The plot of ground marked out for it extends about 
a mile and a half along the harbour, but at present the number of houses 
does not greatly exceed three hundred/ (A Topographical Descrip^ 
Hon of the Provincs of Lower Canada, with Remarks upon Upper Canada, 
Ac, by Joseph Bouchette, Esq., Surveyor-General of Lower Canada, 
London, 18x5, zst edit, p. 606.) Bouchette gives the population in 1815 
as 2,500, much higher than Beverley Robinson's estimate of the number 
ia X813. 

86 THE WAR OF 1812 

Its de- resist the attacks which might be expected in the spring, 
sSte!^^ and which would be induced by and directed against 
a new ship which was building in York harbour. Sheaffe 
was at York when the expected attack took place, but the 
fortifications were ill prepared, and the guns half mounted ; 
little seems to have been done in the way of preparation 
for defence; and, when the American vessels were re- 
ported to be on the horizon on the evening of April 26, 
there were only about 600 white men, including miUtia and 
dockyard men, available to meet the attack. This small 
number would have been smaUer still but for the chance 
that 180 men of the 8th r^;iment, on their way from 
Kingston to Fort George, had halted at York on that same 
evening — ^an unfortunate coincidence, for they were too 
few to alter the issue of the following day, and lost heavily 
in the fighting. 
The At daybreak on the 27th the American squadron was 

aSshmd ^^^ ^ ^* *^® entrance — ^the western end of the harbour, 
and take but moved on a little further to the westward : and about 
' eight o'clock in the morning, or slightly earlier, the landing 
of the troops began. Brigadier-General Pike, under General 
Dearborn, framed the plan of operations, and personally 
commanded the attack. He had selected as the point of 
landing the site of an old disused French fort, called in the 
American dispatches Fort Tarento, which stood on cleared 
ground on the shore of the lake between two and three 
miles to the west of York, as York then was. Between 
this point and the village, with woodland intervening, 
about one and a half miles from the village, commanding 
the entrance of the harbour, was the main or western fort ; 
and there were one or two more batteries and blockhouses 
rather nearer the village ^ The wind was blowing hard 

1 It is almost impossible to make oat from the acconnts how many 
blockhouses or batteries there were, and where the explosion of the 
magazine took place. Bouchette, in the continuation of the passage 
quoted in the previous note, writes : ' The garrison is situated to the 
westward of the town at a mile distance. It consists of barracks for the 
troops usually stationed here, a residence for the commanding officer, 
now most frequently occupied by the Lieutenant-Governor of the pro- 

THE WAR OF 1812 67 

from the east, and the Americans were carried somewhat 
further to the west than had been intended. The landing 
was in consequence made more difficult, partly because it 
was not so well covered, as would otherwise have been the 
case, by the guns of the ships, and partly because the shore 
was wooded and favoured the defenders. According to 
American accounts the whole British force under Sheaffe 
himself was at hand to resist the landing ; but this was not 
the case. At the moment only a small party of Indians 
were actually on the spot, a detachment of Glengarries, 
which should have been there, having been by some con- 
fusion marched in a wrong direction. A party of riflemen 
was first landed under Forsyth, apparently the officer who 
had commanded at Ogdensburg. There was some skir- 
mishing ; after which the main body under Pike was dis- 
embarked, and, when the landing was complete, about ten 
o'clock, the Americans began their advance towards York, 
while their ships moved off in the same direction, and 
directed their fire at dose quarters on the forts and bat- 
teries at the harbour. 

The American force, as they marched forward, were met 
in the woods by the British troops ; hard fighting ensued ; 
the men of the 8th lost half their number, their commander 
was killed, and the whole body was driven back to the fort. 
At the western fort an explosion took place, causing some 
forty casualties, and making the place untenable. Further 
retreat was again inevitable, and Sheaffe resolved to carry 

vince, a battery and two blockhoaaes, which together protect the en* 
trance of the harbour/ The following is a description of Toronto 
harbour, written in 1806, by George Heriot, author of Travels through 
the Canadas, London.'i 807, p. 1 38 : ' York or Toronto, the seat of govern- 
ment in Upper Canada, is placed . • . near the bottom of a harbour of 
the same name. A long and narrow peninsula, distinguished by the 
appellation of Gibraltar Point, forms and embraces this harbour, securing 
it from the storms of the lake, and rendering it the safest of any around 
the coasts of that sea of fresh waters. Stores and blockhouses are 
constructed near the extremity of this point. A spot, called the garrison, 
stands on a bank of the mainland, opposite to the point, and consists 
only of a wooden blockhouse and some small cottages of the same 
material, little superior to temporary huts.' 

88 THE WAR OF x8i2 

Sheafie off the few regulars who remained, about 180, mduding 
retreats, gQme wounded, to Kingston, burning the new ship, de- 
stroying a laige part of the naval stores, and leaving the 
commanders of the militia to negotiate for the surrender 
of their men and of the little town. He marched his 
troops in the direction of the Kingston road, and mean* 
while the Americans moved on towards the town. As 
they advanced, or as they were halting near a battery, 
a large powder magazine blew up, killing or disabling over 
200 of their number, including General Pike, who was 
struck by a large mass of stoat as the result of the explo- 
sion, and died shortly afterwards. This explosion seems 
to have been accidental ; but the Americans, or some of 
them, formed the impression that a mine had been de- 
signedly sprung upon them, and the loss which they 
suffered may be taken in part to account for their treat- 
and the ment of the village, of which they took possession in the 
^^!^^ course of the afternoon, terms of capitulation having been 
liites. arranged by the officers commanding the militia, assisted 
by Dr. Strachan, then the Chiurch of England dexgyman 
at York, and afterwards Bishop, and by Beverley Robinson, 
who was then Attorney-General of Upper Canada. Sheafie 
had in the meantime hegaa his retreat towards Kingston 
unmcdested, and a few miles out from York met the Hght 
company of the 8th, on its way, like the preceding com- 
panies of that regiment, to Fort George. Thus strength- 
ened he reached Kingston in safety ; but his conduct had 
not been such as to inspire confidence, and though he 
received a complimentary letter from resident members 
of the Executive Council in Upper Canada in respect of his 
Sheafie work as administrator, he was removed from that position 
ofiSs ^^^ ^^ ^^ command of the forces in Upper Canada, 
comimuid. being transferred to take command of the Montreal dis- 
trict. His place, both in a military and in a dvil capacity, 
in Upper Canada was filled by General de Rottenburg, 
who took the oaths of office on June 19 K 

^ Sheafie appears to have deserved to be saperseded, hat at the same 
time he was the subject of jealoosy and r^t^T**niiy oa the part ol some ol 

THE WAR OF 1812 89 

The British killed and wounded on this 27th of April seem 1^^ 
to have numbered about 200, the large majority of whom ^^^^ 
were regulars. The prisoners, neariy all of whom came side. 
under the tenns of the capitulation, and nearly all of whom 
were militia who were put on their parole, numbered about 
300. The American casualties, mainly due to the explo- 
sion, were between 250 and 300. Under the terms of the 
capitulation all the public, naval, and military stores were 
to be immediately given up, and all private property was 
to be guaranteed. The town was only occupied until 
May I, although the ^ps were weather-bound in the 
harbour until the 8th. It is difficult to understand why 
Dearborn and Chauncey did not attempt to hold the plac^ 
permanently, thereby cutting the British land communi- 
cations between Kingston and the Niagara frontier, espe- 
cially as for the time being they had command of the lake. 
As it was, the enterprise ended, like many others in this 
war on both sides, in a single raid, effective in doing 
damage at a particular time and place, and so far, but 
so for only, it was part of a connected plan of operations. 
This particular incident left a sore memory in Canada, and 
embittered the later stages of the war. Whether it was that 
a party of sailors, or the riflemen who were stationed in 
the town, and who had already shown thdr raiding pro- 
pensities, were out of hand ; whether the explosion of the 
powder magazine had exasperated the comrades of the 
dead and wounded men ; whether the destruction of the 
half-built ship, and of stores which would otherwise have 
fallen into the hands of the Americans, gave them real or 
alleged ground for complaint ; or whether it had been 
determined to exact some kind of reprisal for Indian ex- 
cesses ; — whatever was the cause, the invaders burnt the Destnic- 
Parliament buildings with the library and records, and^]^^^^ 
carried off the plate from the church and the books from DuUddngs 
the town library, some of which Commodore Chauncey, to Ameti- 

his officers. See Tht Documeniary History of tke Campaign upon ihs 
Niagara Frontier in tht y$ar rSij, pt. 1, 18x3 (Lundy's Lane Historical 
Society), pp. 35-9. 

90 THE WAR OF 1812 

his credit, subsequently collected and sent back. Nor did 
they keep their hands ofiE private property. After this dis- 
creditable mischief had been wrought, they moved on to the 
mouth of the Niagara river. There the fighting force on 
board was landed on the American side at Four Mile Creek. 
Chauncey Chauncey then sailed back to Sackett's Harbour to deposit 
Dearborn ^^ wounded and bring up further men and stores ; and, 
move 00 when all was Teady, on May 27, Fort George, the British 
Niagara head quarters on the Niagara frontier, was attacked in 

frontier, foj-^e. 

The After the collapse of General Smyth's attempts at in- 

^^^'^ vasion at the beginning of December, i8ia, there was a 
Niagara, long pause in the fighting on the Niagara river. Nothing 
happened until the following 17th of March, when the 
British Fort Erie, at the head of the river, which was in 
chaige of Colonel Bisshopp, was violently bombarded from 
the American batteries on the opposite side, with no 
result beyond a few casualties. It was in the opinion of 
Bisshopp's commanding officer, Brigadier-General John 
Vincent, a mere St. Patrick's Day frolic. Another pause 
followed this bombardment ; but, when May came, the 
Americans gathered at the lower end of the river for serious 
fighting. Vincent, who, in the absence of SheafiEe, com- 
manded the British forces on this line, had with him, in- 
cluding both r^;ulars and miUtia, rather under 2,500 
men. Of these, about 1,400 were stationed in or around 
Fort George, one thousand of whom were regulars, men 
of the 8th and 49th regiments, the Glengarries, and the 
Falling Newfoundland r^;iment. The militia gave Vincent cause 
^utia?* '^^ anxiety. On May 19 he wrote to Prevost : * It is with 
regret that I can neither report favourably of their num- 
bers nor their willing co-operation. Every exertion has 
been made, and every expedient used, to bring them forward 
and unite their efforts to those of His Majesty's forces, 
with but little effect ; and desertion beyond all conception 
continues to mark their indifference to the important cause 
in which we are now engaged;' but he added an expression 
of his belief that, when reinforcements came up, the 

THE WAR OF 1S12 91 

waverers, who were for the moment overawed by the 
evidence of American strength, would rally again to the 
King's flag. Prevost referred to the same subject in a 
dispatch to Lord Bathurst on Hay 26. He wrote of 
* the growing discontent and undissembled dissatisfaction 
of the mass of the people of Upper Canada in consequence 
of the effects of the miUtia laws upon a population thinly 
scattered over an extensive range of country, whose zeal 
was exhausted, and whose exertions had brought want 
and ruin to the doors of many '• There had been, in con- 
sequence, a considerable emigration to the United States 
whence most of the settlers had originally come, and 
of those who remained true to Canada many had tem- 
porarily deserted to get the seed into the ground on their 
farms before the short Canadian summer was too far 
advanced. Prevost had accordingly found it necessary, 
so he reported, to send up his most seasoned soldiers to 
the Niagara and Detroit frontiers. 

There is nothing in these and similar reports to wonder 
at, or to make those who read them revise their views of 
Canadian patriotism. Many of the farmers in the western 
districts of Upper Canada were comparativdy recent 
settlers from the United States, and therefore sympathizers 
with the American cause. We find this fact recognized 
in the instructions given by the American commanders 
to their troops. The brigade order issued at Sackett's 
Harbour, just before the expedition against York started, 
announced that ' The unoffending citizens of Canada are 
many of them our own countrymen, and the Provinces 
have been forced into the war'.^ The remainder, 
the Canadian Loyalists, could not be expected to 
serve continuously with the colours. They had to till 
their farms, or see their families either starve or b^ for 
bread from a government which might not have the bread 

^ Doc9$fnenUny History of tke Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in 
iks year 1813, pt. I, 18x3, p. 163 (Lnndy's Lane Historical Society). At 
p. 31 1 of the same vdume will be found evidence of dislojralty after the 
taking of York. 

92 THE WAR OF 1812 

to give. This also the Ammcans recognized, and it ac- 
counted for their devastations in the later stages of the 
war, when thdr friends had crossed the border and left 
tibe Loyalists behind. Citizen soldiers will rally to a given 
idace at a given time, especially if they know and trust 
the leader on the spot ; but, even when defending their 
own homes, they must, for the sake of the homes, have 
intervals in fighting. The volunteer, too, is necessarily 
more affected by the ups and downs of warfare than the 
disciplined professional soldier, whose trade is war ; and, 
when Vincent and Prevost wrote, there was much to dis- 
courage the colonists of Upper Canada. Their little 
capital had been taken and its buildings burnt. The 
American forces were triumphant on land and the Ameri- 
can ships on the lake. Brock, whom they had loved 
and trusted above all men, was dead ; Sheaffe, who took 
his place, had not, after his initial success, shown himself 
to be in any sense a leader of men ; and good subordinate 
officers could not make up for the want of a general. It 
was a dark and discouraging time, when the effect of the 
first victories was spent, and the first enthusiasm had 
cooled. No wonder there was want of heart in the miUtia 
of Upper Canada. 
The The numbers of tibe Americans who faced ^^ncent and 

^"d^ his little army are variously given. Vincent, in his dis- 
bom's patch, written the day after the battle at Fort George, 
^'^y* reported that the whole force was stated to amount to 
nearly 10,000 men ; but this was clearly an over-estimate, 
and the total number of the land forces does not seem to 
have exceeded 6,000. Dearborn himself was in command, 
and with him, amongst others, was General Moi^^an Lewis, 
who had charge of the garrison at Fort Niagara. 
Xhe Fort George, as has been stated, was between half a 

^i^ mile and a mile to the south of and higher up the Niagara 
river than Newark, which village, now Niagara on the 
lake, stood in the an^e formed by the mouth of the 
river and Lake Ontario, but not actually on the shore of 
the lake. Beyond it, at Missassauga Point, being the 

THE WAR OF 1812 93 

extreme point of land formed by the lake and the river, 
was a lighthouse, near which a twenty-four pounder had 
been mounted, being one of the guns which had been tak^i 
from General Hull at Detroit. The others were in position 
at Fort George. About half a mile to the west of this 
lighthouse and of Newark, near the shore of the lake, and 
near a point called in some accounts One Mile Creek and 
in others Two Mile Creek, a nine-pounder gun had been 
placed. This gun and the one near the lighthouse were 
intended to oppose a landing from the lake. 

Previous to May 27 the def^ices and outbuildings of The 
Fort George had been weakened by bombardment from ^^^ 
the opposite shore. Ammunition, too, was scarce in the George, 
fort, and the Americans were able in consequence to make 
their preparations unmolested. These preparations included 
sounding of the shore by Chauncey and his sailors on the 
night of the 26th, preparatory to the work of the coming day. 
Beforedaybreak the troops were embarked on the ships and 
on a large fleet of boats which had been collected for the 
occasion. Simultaneously, the American batteries opened 
fire on Fort George, and a little after four o'dock in the 
morning of the 27th, as the haze lifted, Vincent and his 
men saw the vessels making towards the lighthouse, but 
could not judge where the landing would be made. The 
Americans had planned their enterprise well ; and in carry- 
ing it out soldiers and sailors co-operated wdl, the landing 
of the troops being si:q)erintended by Captain Oliver Perry, 
who ¥ras in command of the American naval forces on 
Lake Erie, and had, on the evening of the 25th, come down 
from Presque Isle to volunteer his services. Some of the 
ships commanded the gun at the lighthouse, others covered 
the landing to the west of the lighthouse, near where the 
nine-pounder had been placed. The peninsula, which was 
the scene of the fighting, was a level plateau and could there- 
fore be swept by a cross-fire from the ships' guns, directed 
at once from themouth of the river and from thelake. On 
the other hand, the guns of Fort George, available for 
repelling an attack from the river, were not of equal use 

94 THE WAR OF 1812 

against an attack from the lake, for the village of Newark 
intervened. The first Americans to land — according to 
Dearborn's report about nine o'clock in the morning — ^in- 
cluded again Forsyth and his riflemen, and were com- 
manded by Winfidd Scott. They were met by a small 
detachment of troops, with a party of Indians ; but the 
landing could not be seriously opposed, for in the words 
of Vincent's dispatch, * the fire from the shipping so com- 
pletely enfiladed and scoured the plains, that it became 
impossible to approach the beach '. The main force of the 
Americans then landed, amounting to between 3,000 and 
4,000 men with artillery ; and to meet them, as they came 
up the bank from the lake, under cover of skirmishers 
from the Glengarry and Newfoundland r^;iments, Vincent 
drew up his little army in two wings, with a reserve, 
* taking up a position between the town, Fort George, 
and the enemy.' 

The left wing consisted of about 500 men, or, when 
joined by the skirmishers who were falling back, of be- 
tween 600 and 700 men, about half of whom belonged to 
the 8th r^;iment. The right wing, which was on the side 
of the village and Fort George, had much the same strength, 
the majority of its soldiers belonging to the 49th regiment, 
and the wing being under the command of Colonel Harvey, 
whose name stands high in the annals of this war. The 
Americans, Vincent's dispatch tells us, advanced * in three 
soUd columns along the lake bank ', their right covered by 
riflemen, their left by the guns of the ships and the bat- 
teries. Their advance, therefore, was from north-west 
to south-east, and the British troops faced them, the left 
wing having no cover when it left a small ravine in which 
it had been posted. This wing, under Colonel Myers ^ 

^ There seems to be some confasion in Vincent's dispatch. He says 
Colonel Myers ' had charge of the right wing ', whereas he was in charge 
of the left. He also says that later he received infonnation that the 
enemy 'was making an efiort to turn my right flank ', whereas a taming 
movement to intercept the British retreat towards Bnrlington Heights 
would be on the American right and the British left, nnless American 

THE WAR OF 1812 95 

came into action first, and suffered very heavily. Out of 
320 men of the 8th regiment 200 were killed or wounded, 
and Myers was disabled by several wounds. Harvey came 
across from the right wing to take Myers's place, and the 
right wing moved up to support the left. The two wings 
were combined and fell back in the direction of Fort George. 
The Americans, after the first fight, reformed and con- 
tinued their advance. Their riflemen threatened Vincent's 
communications with Biurlington bay at the head of Lake 
Ontario, which had been marked out as the point to be 
aimed at in case of retreat ; and, seeing that it was hope- 
less to continue the fight against superior numbers, with 
the certainty of further heavy losses, Vincent ordered Vincent 
Fort George to be evacuated, the guns to be spiked, and p^**^"' 
the ammunition to be destroyed, leaving the Americans George 
to take possession of the fort at noon. Then, having sent ^treats 
orders to the British commanders above the falls, from 
Chippawa to Fort Erie, to abandon their posts and join 
him with all their forces, he marched his own men up the 
Niagara river to Queenston ; and, striking inland by the 
road along the high ground, concentrated on that night all 
the forces on the Niagara frontier at Beaver Dam, near 
Merriton, where the railway from Hamilton to Niagara 
now passes under the Welland canal. Beaver Dam was, 
by the route that he took, fully sixteen miles from the 
battle-field, and here a d£pOt of provisions and ammu- 
nition had previously been formed. Here, too, Vincent 
was joined by two fresh companies of the 8th r^;iment, 
who had apparently come up from Kingston, and a small 
party of sailors under Captain Barclay, on his way to take 
charge of the British vessels on Lake Erie. Having now 
1,600 fighting men under his command, he continued his 
retreat the next day to Forty Mile Creek, now Grimsby, 
from which place he wrote his dispatches; and by the 
evening of the following day, the 29th, he reached Burling- to Bar- 
ton He^;hts, overlooking the turning-point of the l^ike,^^^ 

troops had been landed op the river in Vincent's rear to cat the road to 


96 THE WAR OF 1812 

where he took up his poation, being equidistant from 
York and from Niagara, not cut off from the possibiUty 
of communication with Procter, and hard by a good an- 
chorage for the British fleet on Lake Ontario, when that 
fleet should appear. 

His retreat had covered about fifty miles, though the 
ilistance from Fort George by the direct route by the 
lake shore was much less. It had been very skilfully 
conducted, and does not seem to have been seriously 
molested, though Dearborn reported that his light troops 
pursued for several miles. On the other hand, the Ameri- 
cans had achieved great success, and had weU deserved it. 
They made good use of thdr superior numbers, of their 
ships, and of their guns. There was less of flaming pro- 
clamation than had previously been the case, and &r more 
of solid work. Their casualties amounted only to about 
150 men, whereas the British casualties numbered about 
500. Dearborn states that he took 100 unwounded 
prisoners, but of the British regulars only 50 seem to have 
been taken, being a party of the 49th who had been sta- 
tioned in Fort George and who failed to make good their 
retreat with the rest of the army. The net result was that 
the whole line of the Niagara feU into American hands ; 
and, wishing to anticipate a possible junction betweoi 
Vincent's troops and Procter's, should the latter withdraw 
from the Detroit frontier. Dearborn sent a strong force to 
follow up \^cent, which in a few da]^ readied a stream 
called Stoney Creek, not more than seven miles distant 
from Vincent's encampment. 

The country, where the two little armies were facing 
each other, is at the {u^esent time the best settled and most 
thickly populated district in Canada. Small towns and 
railway stations have grown up at or near points whidi 
in 1813 were distinguished only by the distances, such as 
Twenty Mile or Forty Mile Credc. The high ground where 
Vincent turned to iMiy — a continuation of the transverse 
ridge through which the Niagara river cuts its way between 
Queenston an4 Lewiston Heights— now overlooks the dty 

THE WAR OF 1812 97 

of Hamilton, with more than 50,000 inhabitants. In 
June, 1813, there was little prospect of coming Canadian 
prosperity, and with the Niagara frontier ovemm by 
Americans in front, with York taken and looted by Ameri- 
cans behind, it must have seemed as though the present 
garden of Canada would be annexed to the United States. 
But the American army, having done an excellent piece of 
work, relapsed into the inefficiency which had been so 
marked earlier in the war. 

It was the 5th of June when they arrived at Stoney 
Creek, driving out Vincent's outposts. Their object was, 
as already stated, to anticipate a junction between Vincent 
and Procter, and also, if possible, to push forward between 
Burlington Heights and the lake, and so to cut Vincent's 
communication with York. They were about 3,000 strong, 
under Generals Chandler and Winder, with artillery ; but The fight 
about one-third of the total number was detached from Sl???"®^ 
the main body and stationed on the lake at the mouth of 
the creek, between one and two miles away. The rest of 
the force was encamped for the night athwart the main 
road which ran parallel to the lake. There was no fault 
to find with the position. It was at the edge of a clearing, 
on a steep bank surmounted by a rail fence, with an open 
meadow immediately in front, the left or inland flank 
being protected by hill and woods, and the right flank, 
towards the lake, by swamp. If attacked at all, it could 
only be attacked in front, and common care should have 
made the encampment absolutely secure. The men, how- 
ever, it would seem, were strewn about in straggling, 
careless fashion. Pickets and guards were stationed 
according to General Chandler's account of the battle; 
but, if this was the case, they were certainly not on the 
alert. *The sentries at the outskirts of the enemy's 
camp,' wrote Colonel Harvey after the action, 'were 
bayonetted in the quietest manner.' 

Before sundown, Harvey, who was acting as deputy 
Adjutant-General to\^cent's army, taking the light com- 
panies of the 8th and the 49th, had reconnoitred the 


98 THE WAR OF i8ia 

American encampment, and, as the result of his observa- 
tionSy proposed a night attack. Vincent consented, and 
came with the force, but left the leading in Harvey's 
capable hands. At half-past eleven on that night the 
attacking party set out from the British lines. It consisted, 
to quote Vincent's report, of * 704 firelocks '. All were men 
of the 8th and 49th r^;iments, the latter preponderating. 
The light companies led the way. The night was un-r 
usually dark for the time of year, and no alarm was given 
until Harvey and his men were within 300 yards of the 
American camp. Then, before the line of assault was 
formed, some cheering and firing on the British side, con- 
trary to orders, made further surprise impossible ; and, 
lit up by the camp fires which were burning a little in front 
of the American position, the assailants became a mark 
for the musketry of the defenders on the high ground above. 
All was confusion, and the enterprise might well have 
resulted in a crushing disaster to the British force had not 
Major Plenderleath, who commanded the 49th r^;iment, 
badced by a young Scotch seigeant and a handful of men, 
charged up the road through the centre of the American 
line and rushed the guns which were in position behind 
the centre and were begiiming to open fire. There was 
then hand-to-hand fighting in the dark, most of the work 
being done with the bayonet, and friends and foes mis- 
taking each other; but in the end the Americans were 
driven from their camp and, when day broke, the British 
force had taken a hundred prisoners, including the two 
American generals, who had stumbled into their ranks, 
and four guns, two of which were spiked and left, and two 
carried ofiE to Burlington Heights, to which Harvey at 
once retreated, before the Americans had time to reform 
and retrieve the disaster. With daylight the Americans 
returned to their camp, but only to destroy some of the 
stores and retreat at once in a disorganized condition ten 
or eleven miles further back to Forty Mile Creek, where 
they met reinforcements ; and the van of Vincent's force 
moved forward the same day to the deserted camp, and 

THE WAR OF i8i? 99 

took possession of such stores and ammunition as had not 
been carried ofiE or destroyed. 

It was a curious episode, this night attack at Stoney 
Creek. The enterprise was well planned but, through 
no fault of the commanding officer, Harvey, not so well 
carried out. One of the officers of the 49th, Lieutenant 
James FitzGibbon, well qualified to judge, wrote two daj^ 
later : *This business was, I think, very ill executed by us, 
and the great error was shouting before the line was formed 
for the attack.' ^ The British casualties were heavier than 
the American. In the confusion of the night from 40 to 
60 men of the 49th were taken prisoners ; and the total 
casualties amounted to between 200 and 250, whereas the 
American casualties, including prisoners, did not reach 
200. Luck was on the British side. It was mere chance 
that the two American commanders were taken prisoners. 
The same fate might weU have befallen the British general, 
Vincent, who was separated from his stafi in the darkness, 
lost count of what had happened, and did not emerge from 
the woods and rejoin his friends until the day following 
the night attack was well advanced. There was, in short, 
an element of comedy about the episode, but it added to, 
rather than detracted from, the impression which was pro- 
duced. The Americans, sweeping on in the tide of victoiy, 
with largely superior numbers, prepared to overwhelm 
the small, retreating British army and dear the peninsula, 
were suddenly attacked, stampeded, and driven into re- 
treat, leaving behind them guns and commanding officers. 
They lost confidence ; their opponents gained confidence ; 
the daring of the attack and its success gave new heart 
to the Canadians ; and the fight at Stoney Creek was a 
turning-point in the campaign. 

The credit of the enterprise, as Vincent most fully Colonel 
acknowledged in his dispatch, was due to Harvey, ^^ey. 
Though still a young man, he had seen fighting in many 
parts of the world. He had only lately joined the force 

' Docymentaty History of the Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in 
the year 2813. Pt II, 18x3, p. 15. (Londy's Lane Historical Society.) 


■ III J I V ■ I ^^«^Ba^mH««ii|«v^i^i^p^Bo 

100 THE WAR OF 1812 

in Upper Canad^.^, but he had shown his worth in the 
battle of Fort George and the subsequent retreat ; and 
from this time onward he was second to none in the list of 
men, not in supreme command, who fought for and kept 
Canada. He himself and a few others of the same type, 
either on the stafE or in r^;imental command, were largely 
responsible for the successful issue of the war. After its 
dose he served at Waterloo, and in later years he ad- 
ministered the governments of the Maritime Provinces 
of Canada and of Newfoundland, being Lieutenant* 
Governor of Nova Scotia when he died in 1852. 

The Americans found no rest at Forty Mile Creeks 
Their right, as they faced towards Stoney Creek and Bur- 
lington Heights, rested on the lake, on which there was 
a fleet of boats accompanying them with stores and bag- 
Yeo'8 gage. On the evening of the 7th of June ships came in 
appears ^^*» ^^^ proved to be the British squadron, under Sir 
and the James Yeo, which had come up from Kingston. Early on 
^men- ^^ following moming the lighter vessels of the little fleet 
retreat, came in dose to shore and bombarded the American camp, 
the Americans returning the fire with red-hot shot from 
a furnace improvised for the occasion. At the same time 
a party of Indians appeared on the inland side of the camp 
and molested its occupants. Yeo sent a summons to 
surrender, which was naturally rejected ; but the Ameri- 
cans broke up their encampment and continued their 
retreat, leaving the camp with its stores to be occupied by 
the advanced guard of Vincent's force combined with 
a detachment of the 8th r^;iment, which had been brought 
on the ships. A dozen of the boats were taken by the 
squadron, which then proceeded to patrol the coast, cap- 
turing and appropriating to British use stores which had 
been intended for the American army. 
Vincent was now no longer short of stores and provisions, 

^ Prevoat, in reporting on the fight and on Vincent's tribute to 
Harvey's 'zeal, intelligence, and gallantry', added that so great was 
Harv^s desire to reach the front ' that he walked on snowshoes in the 
depth of last winter through the wilds lying between the Canadas and 
^ew Brunswick,' See above, pp. 7, 8. 

THE WAR OF 1812 101 

and his force was greatly strengthened in numbers. The 
men of the 8th, whom Yeo's ships had brought, were be- 
tween two and three hundred, and shortly afterwards 
another regiment was sent by Prevost to Upper Canada. 
This was the 104th, or New Brunswick regiment, which 
had marched overland in the winter from Fredericton to 
Quebec. The vanguard of the little army was, under 
Colonel Bisshopp, moved forward to a point at or a Uttle 
beyond Twenty Mile Creek, near the present village of 
Jordan, where from the main road which led direct to 
Newark and Fort George, and ran near and parallel to 
the shore of Lake Ontario, another road diverged inland, 
leading to Beaver Dam and thence to St. David's and 
Queenston. Two outposts were stationed further in 
advance towards the Niagara river. One of these, under 
Major de Haren, of the 104th regiment, was placed near 
St. Catharine*s, either at Twelve Mile Creek, on which 
St. Catharine's stands, or two miles further on towards 
Fort George at Ten Mile Creek. This detachment held 
the main road from Fort George. The other outpost was The 
placed upon the inland road to Beaver Dam, at a point potion 
about one and a half miles short of that place. Here there °J^ 
was a stone house belonging to a settler called De Cou, or. Dam. 
according to one account, De Camp, described by Fit2- 
Gibbon, who commanded the soldiers at this point, as 
* De Cou's house in Thorold '. The township or concession 
of Thorold had lately been demarcated, and the present 
town stands on the Welland canal about four miles from 
St. Catharine's. This outpost covered the inland road 
from St. David's and Queenston, and it was connected 
with De Haren's post by a cross-road. The main advance 
force and the two outposts thus formed a triangle ; they 
were, very roughly, equidistant from each other, and each 
of the three positions was at cross-roads. Beaver Dam 
was about sixteen miles from Fort George by the road 
which passed through Queenston and St. I^vid's, and 
De Cou's house was therefore between seventeen and 
eighteen miles from Fort George by the same route. The 


104 THE WAR OF 1812 

dam was at a spot described as a hilly pass on a cf eek 
running from the high ground akeady mentioned, which 
^3ctends from Queenston to Burlington Heights. It was 
nearly due south of St. Catharine's, and on or near the 
line of the Welland canal, the cutting of which absorbed 
it. The outpost at De Con's house seems to have con- 
sisted of about fifty men of the 49th regiment, though 
some accounts state that it was hdd by a party of the 
Fits- 104th. The officer in charge was FitzGibbon, a subaltern 
of the 49th r^;iment, daring and adventurous in outpost 
work, whose name will for ever live in the aimals of the 
war. We read that 'Lieutenant FitzGibbon, of the 
49th regiment, had a separate command, composed of aU 
the men whose names figured in the regimental records as 
notoriously troublesome characters, who were ever and 
anon the subjects of court-martial. They were all Irish- 
men, speaking the Irish vernacular, as did their country- 
man the chief.' ^ This young Irish officer and his skhr- 
mishers, working in co-operation with parties of Indians, 
prominent among whom was a son of the old chief, Joseph 
Brant, had made themselves heavily felt by the Americans 
all along the Canadian side of the Niagara river, with the 
result that the American posts above the falls on the 
Canadian side were called in. Fort Erie being dismantled 
and abandoned ; and the army was concentrated below the 
falls from Queenston to Fort George. As June went on, 
the Americans determined to try to dislodge FitzGibbon and 
his men from their post at De Con's house, and, if possible, 
at the same time to drive back De Haren also. The enter- 
prise against FitzGibbon was entrusted to Colonel Boerstler, 
who took with him a party of nearly 600 men. 

On the evening of the 23rd of June they marched up the 
Niagara river from Fort George to Queenston, quartered 
at Queenston for the night, and very early on the 24th set 
out on their ten to twelve miles' march to Beaver Dam and 

* From the Memoirs of Colonel John Clark, of Port Dalhonsie. printed 
at p. z 54 of Pt I, X 8 1 3, of The Documentary History of the Campaign upon 
the Niagara Frontier in the year 18x3. (Limdy's Lane Historical Society.) 

THE WAR OF i8ii 103 

De Cou's house beyond. On the night before, FitzGibbon 
had been warned of the mtended surprise, and prepara- 
tions had been made. As Boerstler advanced in the early The 
morning of the 24th, he was ambushed and attacked by ^^^ 
a party of some 450 to 500 Indians. He seems, not- Dam. 
withstanding, to have continued his march, keeping up 
a running fight with the Indians who hung upon his flanks 
and rear, until he was within two miles of Beaver Dam, 
and within three to four miles of De Cou's house. Fitz** 
Gibbon, according to his official report, learnt, about seven 
O'clock in the morning, that the enemy were advancing. 
Shortly afterwards, hearing the sound of firing, he rode 
out about two miles on the road to St. David's, and, find- 
ing the Americans drawing off towards high ground on 
their left and his right, he also took up a position on high 
ground to the right, which conunanded them, and, having 
ordered up his detachment, led them across the enemy's 
front, in order to gain the other flank and intercept, or 
appear to intercept, the line of retreat towards Queenston 
and Fort George. At this point he was informed that 
Boerstler had already sent back for reinforcements, though 
the information appears not to have been true, and accord- 
ingly he lost no time in summoning him to surrender. The 
Americans had been fighting for some three hours^ 
Bewildered and confused by attacks from the woods on 
different sides, they imagined that they were surrounded 
by superior numbers, and surrendered nominally to Major 
de Haren, whose name FitzGibbon used for his purpose, 
and who actually came up with over 200 men in time to 
sign the articles of surrender. The result was that Colonel 
Bisshopp, who also reached Beaver Dam in the course of 
the day, was able to rq>ort the capture of some 500 Ameri- 
cans and two guns as the result of the skill and prowess of 
the Indians and of FitzGibbon's bluff. The services of 
the Indians on this occasion appear not to have been 
adequately acknowledged, although Colonel Bisshopp re- 
ported that they were the only force activdy engaged, and 
some years later, in March, 1818, FitzGibbon wrote in 

104 THE WAR OF 1812 

similar terms to the officer who had commanded them, 
Captain William Kerr. His letter ran : * Not a shot was 
fired on our side by any but the Indians. They beat the 
American detachment into a state of terror, and the only 
share I claim is taking advantage of a favourable moment 
to ofEer them protection from the tomahawk and scalping 
knife.' * 

The court of inquiry which was held into Boerstler's 
conduct reported, in February, 1815, that the surrender 
was justified by the existing circumstances, and that the 
reverse was not due to misconduct on his part or on that 
of his men. The finding was a reasonable one. He was 
sent with an inadequate force ; no provision was made to 
support him; and there was no attempt to co-operate 
with him by means of a simultaneous attack on De Haren's 
position. Ambushed in the woods, ignorant of the num* 
bers opposed to him, he surrendered to save the lives of his 
men from the Indians, whose taste for blood had been 
whetted by their own losses. The incident was quite 
intelligible, but it could be made to appear in an igno- 
minious and ridiculous light ; and following upon the 
surprise at Stoney Creek, once more it dispirited the Ameri- 
cans, and, in a corresponding degree, encouraged their 

It has been stated that FitzGibbon had been warned 
beforehand that an attempt would be made to surprise his 
Lanra post. The warning was given by Laura Secord, wife of 
Secord. james Secord, one of a family of United Empire Loyalists, 
who lived at Queenston, and whose brother. Major David 
Secord, gave his name to the village of St. David's on Four 
Mile Creek. The story goes that Laura Secord had heard 
American officers at Queenston talking over the plan, and 
starting at early dawn on the morning of the 23rd, circling 
through the woods to avoid American sentries, she walked 
through the long summer's day for nineteen or twenty 

^ pp. Z20-I of Pt II, X813, of The Documeniary History of the Cam-- 
paign upon the Niagara Frontier in the yeair 18 13. (Lundy's Lane His- 
torical Society.) 

THE WAR OF 1813 105 

miles, and after sundown reached the Indian encampment 
hard by FitzGibbon*s quarters. Wearied out and fright- 
ened by the Indian challenge, she carried out her purpose : 
taken on to FitzGibbon she told her tale, and gave the 
warning which she had risked her life to give. As Made- 
leine de Verch&res, who held her home against the Iroquois 
in the days of old Count Frontenac, is the heroine of 
French Canadian story, so in the annals of Upper Canada 
and the United Empire Loyalists, Laura Secord is the 
typical brave woman. Like the French girl, she lived to 
a good old age, and Canadian verse and prose have kept 
her memory *. 

Before this reverse at Beaver Dam occurred, Dearborn, 
the Conunander-in-chief of the American army on the 
Canadian frontier from Niagara eastward, had already sent 
in his resignation on the ground of ill health, though he 
signed the dispatch reporting Boerstler's surrender. General '^^ . 
Wilkinson, who had been in command at New Orleans cans 
of the district of the Mississippi, was nominated as his ^J^^^ 
successor, but the charge of the Niagara frontier for the George, 
time devolved on General Boyd. On the. other side. 
General de Rottenburg, who, like Prevost, was a Swiss, 
and who had been appointed as Sheafie's successor, came 
up in July and took over from Vincent the command of 
the Briti^ forces on the line of the Niagara. The army, 
with its head quarters at first at St. Catharine's and 
afterwards at St. David's, cooped up the Americans at 
Newark and Fort George, and carried war on to the 
American side of the river above the falls. At daybreak 
on July 5, a small party mainly of militia, crossing over 
from Chippawa, surprised an American outpost on guard at 
Fort Schlosser immediately above the falls, and carried 

' Two booka at least have been written on Lanra Secord ; and a good 
account of her exploit will be foond in A Veteran of 1S12, the Life of James 
FitxCMon, by Mary Agnes FitsGibbon, 1894. The accounts of the 
Beaver Dam incident are very confusing. It is not clear, for instance, 
whether Boerstler was trying to retreat to Queenston or across country 
towards Lund/s Lane, and whether FitsGibbon tried to intercept the 
retreat on the right, or, as stated above, crossed over to the left 

lo6 THE WAR OF 1812 

off a handful of prisoners^ a gun, and stores ; and again 
at daybreak on the nth, a larger force of about 240 men 
crossed to Black Rock, carried the batteries, stampeded 
the garrison, took off four guns and a quantity of stores, 
destroyed four other guns, burnt the barracks, block- 
houses, and a ship which was lyixkg at the yard ; but being 
attacked by the Americans, who had recovered from their 
panic and been reinforced by regulars from Buffalo, and 
by a party of Indians, they lost somewhat heavily in 
Death of retreating across the river, their young commander. Colonel 
^^^^1^ Bisshopp, who had done excellent service throughout the 

war on the Niagara frontier, being mortally wounded. 
Indian The Indians who co-operated with the Americans on this 
Of the occasion were mainly Senecas and other members of the 
Ameri- Six Nations, who had remained in their old homes in New 
York state when their brethren of the confederacy crossed 
over to Upper Canada at the end of the War of Indepen- 
dence. They now, for the first time apparently, took their 
place in the fighting line with the Americans, and a little 
later, on August 17, General Boyd reported a skirmish 
between pickets, in which the fighting was mainly between 
Indians on either side. In his report the American general 
was at pains to explain that his savage allies * covenanted 
not to scalp or murder ^ and that * their bravery and 
humanity were equally conspicuous '. In this particular 
skirmish, among the white men on the American side who 
supported the Indian attack, Boyd noted that * the Cana- 
dian volunteers, under Major Willcocks, were active and 
brave as usual \ Willcocks was the notoriously disloyal 
memberof theLegislatureof UpperCanada, whohas already 
Canadian been mentioned. He had become an open enemy of his 
^^^ country and, crossing to the United States, had taken service 
with the Americans, oiganizing a corps of deserters from 
Canada, most of whom were probably Americans by birth. 
That a certain proportion of residents in Upper Canada 
favoured the American cause was only what might have 
been expected ; and later in the autunm, after the 
annihilation of Procter's force had caused the western 

,• ill tlic • ) 1 


i ! 


THE WAR OF i8i^ I07 

districts of Upper Canada in the region of Lake Erie to be 
denuded of troops» we read of the dislojral inhabitants 
looting the homes of the Loyalists, and of the latter retali- 
ting, and, as the result of a fight near Port Dover on Lake 
Erie, canying off some of the marauders to be tried and 
hung for high treason. The outpost fight iniiich has been 
mentioned was followed by an abortive attempt against 
Port George amounting to little more than a reconnais- 
sance in force, which was made on the British side on 
August 24, at a time when Sir George Prevost had come 
up to the front. It resulted in nothing more than driving 
in the American pickets with a small loss on either side, 
and in the British force regaining temporary possession of 
Newark, which, however, was not held. Apart from these 
skirmishes there was a lull in the fighting on the Niagara 
frontier, caused partly by sickness, which was rife in both 
armies, and partly by the feict that the Americans had in 
contemplation a combined attack on Montreal, of which 
more will be told hereafter. 

The Home government had promised that a small num- 
ber of naval officers and seamen should be sent out as early 
as possible in 1813 for service on the lakes. Towards the 
end of April, Prevost wrote that he was glad to hear that 
some naval officers were coming up overland from Halifax 
to Quebec. This party included Captain Barclay, who 
was afterwards sent on to command the British flotilla on 
Lake Erie, and who has been mentioned as meeting Vincent 
at Beaver Dam when the latter was retiring from Fort 
George to Burlington Heights. Shortly afterwards, on 
May 18, Prevost wrote from Kingston that Commodore 
Sir James Yeo had reached Quebec from England on the Sir James 
5th of that month with the officers and seamen under his anhres in 
command, and that he himself had come up with Yeo to Canada. 
Kingston to take measures for regaining British ascen- 
dancy on Lake Ontario. Yeo was a young officer just 
over thirty years of age, having been bom in 1782. He 
had gone to sea in 1793, when he was a boy of eleven, and 
had served in various parts of the world, in the West Indies^ 


108 THE WAR OF 1812 

in the Mediterranean, at Lisbon, and in Brazil. He had 
been much thrown with the Portuguese, and, in charge of 
a Portuguese expedition from Brazil, he had in 1809 taken 
the French settlement of Cayenne. His service had been 
rather outside the ordinary sphere of naval officers of the 
day, and he was therefore well fitted for a small indepen- 
dent command, where all would turn on the initiative and 
resource of an officer accustomed to make the most of 
whatever material might be to hand. He reached Kingston 
on May 10, and before the end of the month his men and 
ships were ready for action. 
T^B Chauncey's fleet and most of the American troops which 

on had been gathered at Sackett's Harbour being engaged at 

H^^'r! *^® other end of the lake in the reduction of Fort George, 
a good opportunity presented itself of making a counter- 
attack on Sackett's Harbour; and on the evening of 
May 27, the day on which Fort George was taken, Yeo 
sailed out of Kingston harbour for the purpose, having on 
board some 750 troops of the line. Sir George Prevost 
accompanied the expedition in person, but the troops were 
under the immediate command of Colonel Baynes, his 
Adjutant-General. It has been seen that Sackett's Harbour 
lay directly over against Kingston, a little to the east of 
south, at about thirty-five or thirty-six miles distance by 
the navigable channds. It is described as a small harbour 
but convenient, and sheltered by high ground. The harbour 
faced north. On the eastern side there was at this time 
a fort, Fort Pike ; and on the western side, where the land 
ran out beyond the inlet which formed the harbour, there 
was another fort, the main fort, named Fort Tompkins, 
dose to which barracks had been built. At some distance 
westward of Fort Tompkins, an island, which was only an 
island at high water, bdng connected with the mainland 
by a natural causeway, lay off the shore to the north-west. 
It was known as Horse Idand. 

At noon on the 28th Yeo's squadron was ofE Sackett's 
Harbour, but the ships were becalmed before they were 
suffidently near to the land, and the soldiers, who had been 

THE WAR OF 1812 109 

put into boats in readiness to force a landing under cover 
of the ships' guns, were replaced on board the vessels, the 
intended attack being counter-ordered. Meanwhile, a 
small party of Indians, who had accompanied the expedi- 
tion, paddling westward along the shore in their canoes, 
discovered another small party of Americans having come 
from the direction of Oswego, who were landing near 
Sackett's Harbour and were intercepted and taken. The 
British commanders thereupon seem to have once more 
determined to make an attempt on the place, and before 
daylight on the 29th the troops were again ordered into 
the boats. 

Two guns intended to support the landing were put into 
a small schooner, which failed to make the land, but either 
one or two gunboats covered the disembarkation* The Landing 
proposed point of landing was on the mainland, where the ^^^ 
causeway ran out to Horse Island ; but whether, as the 
official report stated, because the landing was opposed at 
this point, or because the current carried the boats further 
on and there ¥ras confusion in the darkness, the troops 
actually landed on Horse Island on the farther or western 
side. The landing was under fire, and, as the troops ad« 
vanced along the causeway, they were opposed by part of 
the American force and a six-pounder gun ; but driving 
back their opponents they reached the mainland. The 
American garrison was commanded by Major-General 
Jacob Brown, who had arrived early on the morning of 
the 28th. It seems to have comprised about the same 
number of regulars as composed the British force, in addi- 
tion to some 500 militia and volunteers. The latter, who 
met the first advance, broke and fled. The British force 
then marched towards Fort Tompkins in two columns, the 
left keeping along the line of the shore, where amid the 
woods they suffered somewhat heavily from the fire of the 
Americans, the right finding less opposition in more open 
ground. Combining again, the two wings advanced, 
towards the barracks and fort into which the garrison 
were driven back ; but, just as victory seemed secure. 

tio THE WAR OF 1812 

when the advandng troops had set fire to the barracks, 
and the Americans themselves had begmi to bum their 
storehouses and a new ship which was on the stocks, the 
attack was countermanded and the troops were drawn ofE 
and re-embarked, having suffered between 250 and 300 
casualties and leaving some killed and wounded in the 
Prevost charge of the Americans. The account given in the official 
wteeatf report, which vras signed, not by Prevost himself, but by 
Colonel Baynes, and which was thought to have been 
written to order, was that the * blockhouse and stockaded 
battery could not be carried by assault, nor reduced by 
field pieces, had we been provided with them\ There 
was also a suggestion in American accounts that General 
Brown threatened, or made a feint of threatening, commu* 
nication with the boats, and thereby induced the enemy 
His to retreat. Prevost, in the dispatch in which he forwarded 
fOT*^"" Colonel Baynes*s report to Lord Bathurst, wrote that he 
doing 80. gave the order to retreat, and alleged as his reason for 
doing so, that the fleet, owing to the want of favourable 
winds, was unable to co-operate, and without the aid of 
heavy artillery it was impossible to take the position. 
Yeo, too, in a short report to the Admiralty, stated that 
the gunboats were wholly unable with their sniall carronades 
to make any impression upon the forts and blockhouses. 
In the defence of Prevost's public career, which was pub- 
lished by his family after his death \ it was recounted that, 
though he accompanied the expedition, he was not in per* 
sonal command, and that the failure of the enterprise was 
due to the inadequate numbers of the attacking force, the 
want of artillery, and the inability of the fleet to co-operate 
owing to the state of the wind. 

But, whatever may have been the grounds upon which 
Prevost recalled the troops and abandoned the attack, his 
action was almost universally condemned in Canada ; and, 
when it is considered on its merits, still more, when it is 
considered in the light of the similar and greater fiasco on 

* Some Account of the Public Life of ike Late Lieutenant-Ceneral Sir 
<r. Prevost (1823), p. 88. 

THE WAR OF 1812 iii 

Lake Champlain in the following year, it is difficult to 
resist the conclusion that he showed himself to be a weak 
and irresolute leader. There was evidently some indeci- 
sion in postponing the attack in the first instance. If the Estimate 
forces were inadequate for the task which they were set to conduct. 
accomplish, the responsibility rested with the Commander- 
in-chief ; and the plea that, th6ugh he accompanied the 
expedition, he was not in immediate command of the 
troops, cannot be held to diminish the blame which 
attaches to him ; rather, it must be held to give a clue 
to the character of the man. Either the expedition should 
not have been undertaken at all, or it should have been 
carried through at almost any cost. What Kingston was 
to the British, Sackett's Harbour was to the Americans, 
the most vital point on Lake Ontario. To the British and 
to the Americans alike it was all important to secure 
ascendancy on the lake, and to Upper Canada it was 
almost a matter of life and death. Brock realized this, 
and contemplated at the outset of the war an attack on 
Sackett's Harbour. The chance of taking it justified 
incurring heavy risk and making heavy sacrifice ; yet, 
when the enterprise had been carried to a point at which 
it is difficult to doubt, from reading the accounts, that at 
the cost of additional loss the position could have been 
stormed, Prevost relinquished the attempt and returned 
to Kingston. He reported to the Home government that 
the expedition had not been a complete success. The 
American commander, Jacob Brown, rq>orted to his 
government that the Americans had been completely vie* 
torious, and he had some reason for sasdng so. The enemy 
had retreated, with some prisoners it is true, but leaving 
killed and wounded on the field. The new ship had been 
saved from the flames, which were intended to prevent 
her falling into British hands ; the works were reinstated ; 
the garrison was reinforced ; new forts were added ; and 
Sackett's Harbour was placed in comparative security for 
the future. 
Two or three days after the fleet returned to Kingston^ 

112 THE WAR OF i8i3 

Yeo sailed off again with stores and men for Vincent's 
army, and fell in with them and with the retreating 
Americans after the engagement at Stoney Creek, as 
already told ; while Chauncey sailed back from Niagara 
to Sackett's Harbour. There now ensued a time of 
manoeuvring, raiding and blockading without decisive 
action, each commander knowing his trade, each conscious 
that the addition or subtraction of one little ship to or 
from their tiny squadrons might mean the loss of the 
whole, both, therefore, being resolved not to fight except 
at an advantage, and either rq>orting in turn that the 
Ommicey other could not be brought to bay. Chauncey's first 
on Lake object was to fit out the new ship, the General Pike, which 
Ontario, h^d been saved from the flames. Christie ^ tells us that 
early in July Yeo made an attempt to send boats into the 
harbour and cut her out ; but his intention was discovered 
before it could be carried into effect, and towards the end 
of that month the American squadron sailed out and made 
for Burlington bay to attack a British d6p6t on the 
heights. Hearing that a detachment of troops was being 
sent up from York to meet his attack, Chauncey drew off, 
and sailed for York, where he arrived on July 31, and, 
finding it undefended, on that day and the next landed 
some men, who liberated the prisoners in the gaol, looted 
stores, and burnt a storehouse and woodyard. From the 7th 
to the loth of August the two rival squadrons manoeuvred 
against each other at the upper end of the lake, Chauncey 
losing two schooners in a squall and two other small 
vessels cut off by Yeo. In the second week of September 
the American commodore reported that he had chased his 
adversary all round the lake, with apparently little result. 
On September 28 there was some heavy firing between the 
squadrons off York, Yeo's flagship, the Wolfe, being tem- 
porarily disabled, and his vessels being driven to take 
shelter in Burlington bay ; and at the beginning of Octo- 
ber Chauncey ran down and captured five small ships with 
a detachment of troops on board. Yeo then retired for 

^ History of Lower Canada, vol II, p. 98. 

THE WAR OF 1812 113 

a while into Kingston harbour, where he was blockaded 
by the Americans. Meanwhile on Lake Erie far more 
decisive fighting had taken place. 

On Lake Erie the rival commanders were, on the The rival 
British side Captain Robert Barclay, on the American ^^^ers 
Captain Oliver Perry. Barclay was a brave, hard-fighting on Lake 
sailor, 'our father with one arm' as the Indian chief, |^^y 
Tecomseh, called him, for he had lost an arm at Trafalgar, ^d 
He had been sent up from Halifax by Warren, the Com- *^' 
mander-in-chief on the North American station, and 
reached Kingston early in May. When Yeo arrived at 
Kingston a Uttle later, he sent Barclay on to take command 
of the Lake Erie squadron, and the latter, after meeting 
Vincent on his retreat from Fort Geoige, went on his way 
to Lake Erie with a small party of seamen, and took over 
charge of the squadron in the first half of June. Perry, 
as has been seen, had come down from Presque Isle, where 
he was in command of the American marine on Lake Erie, 
when Dearborn and Chauncey concentrated their forces at 
the mouth of the Niagara river, and had acted as ChaUn- 
cey's chief of the stafi in the combined operations against 
Fort George. The withdrawal of the British troops from 
the whole line of the Niagara river after the capture of 
Fort George had enabled him to take up to Presque Isle 
some small vessels which had been fitting out at Black 
Rock, but which could not be moved as long as a British 
garrison held Fort Erie, and the guns of the fort com* 
manded tht shipping on the opposite side of the river. 
On his return to Presque Isle he prepared to dispute the 
British omunand of Lake Erie. 

That command rested on the most slender basis. When 
the fighting came, six little vessels constituted the British 
fleet. The largest, a new half-fitted vessel, which had been 
in building at the makeshift naval d6p6t at Amherstburg^ 
only measured 305 tons. Barclay wrote to Procto: on British 
June 29 of the general want of stores of every description, ^^^^^^ 
of guns, of shipwrights. Still more serious was the want Erie, 
of trained British seamen. Not more than fifty were at 

114 THE WAR OF 1812 

Barclay's disposal, the ships being laigdy maimed by 
Canadian boatmen, and by soldiers of the line temporarily 
converted into sailors. *The ships are manned with a 
crew,' wrote Barclay in the same letter, * part of whom 
cannot even speak English, none of them seamen, and very 
few even in numbers.' For this deplorable absence of men 
and of resources Prevost was not to blame* No one had 
laid greater stress than he had upon the necessity of keep- 
ing full conunand of the water in Canada. If any one was 
to blame it was the Home government, in that they had 
not made adequate preparation in the past, and that 
government must be leniently judged in view of the strain 
which had been put upon it by years of war in all parts of 
the world. Geography was at the root of the matter. It 
was the remoteness of Lake Erie from the source of British 
supplies, the slowness and difficulty of communication as 
compared with the contiguity of the Americans to their 
base, which gave the advantage and the victory to the 

Presque Isle on Lake Erie answered to Sackett's Harbour 
on Lake Ontario, as Amherstburg was a poor reproduction 
of Kingston. From Amherstburg to Long Point at the 
lower end of the lake, where any stores or men coming from 
Barclay's Eastern Canada were shipped, Barclay kept patrol. As 
p^^fj^ soon as he reached the lake, he reconnoitred Presque Isle 
Tsie. and proposed an inmiediate attack upon it by land and 
water, ' to destroy the nest,' as he termed it ; but, willing 
as Procter was to co-operate, it was impossible to under- 
take the enterprise without reinforcements, and reinforce- 
ments were not forthcoming. All that could be done was 
to keep the Americans as far as possible blockaded in 
the harbour. Here they were building, equipping, and 
manning their miniature fleet ; but there was an awkward 
bar to the harbour, and the ships could not make their way 
out in fighting trim, with the heavy guns on board. Bar- 
day for a while kept them dose bound in port, vdiile his 
own new ship, the Detroit ^vrzs being completed, and waiting 
in vain for guns and crew. Towards the end of August 

THE WAR OF 1812 115 

either he relaxed his watch, or the blockade became im* Perry's 
possible, and Perry's vessels made their way to the open ^mmand 
lake. The American squadron being stronger than the the lake. 
British, the latter was now in turn kept dose at Amherst- 
burg. There the situation became most serious. Im- 
portant as it was to keep open water conmiunication on 
Lake Ontario, it was still more important, if the garrisons 
on the Detroit frontier were to be maintained, to have the 
right of way on Lake Erie, owing to the difficulty of for- 
warding stores and provisions by land. Alarming reports 
came from Amherstburg, where crowds of Indian fighters 
were clamouring to be fed. Prevost, after the annihilation 
of Barclay's flotilla, wrote that he was inquiring why action 
had been taken before reinforcements arrived; but, 
before he heard of the disaster, he had written expressing 
his anxiety that some bold attempt should be made to 
obtain supremacy of the lake, in order to give passage to 
the supplies whidi were waiting on its shores at Long Point. 
Barclay himself, immediately after the battle, described 
the distress existing at Amherstburg in the following 
terms: * So perfectly destitute of provisions was the port, 
that there was not a day's flour in store ; and the crews 
ofthe squadron under my command were on half allow- 
ance of many things, and when that was done there was 
no more.' Accordingly Procter and he determined that 
a fight must be risked without waiting for a fresh party 
of seamen who were on their way overland to Amherstburg, 
but of whose coming Barclay had no sure knowledge, 
and without waiting for the guns intended for the Detroit. 
That vessel was hastily fitted up with other guns taken 
from the fort at Amherstburg; so deficient were the 
matches and tubes that pistols had to be fired at the guns 
to produce a discharge : and with half allowances of ra- 
tions for a week, and enough spirits but no more to last out 
the action, the poor little assortment of vessds, with their 
mixed comjdement of landsmen and sailors, sailed out on 
September 9 to fight the enemy. 

Perry, like Barclay, had partially manned his ships 


Ii6 THE WAR OF 1812 

with soldiers from Harrison's army, and most warmly 
acknowledged their services after the fight was over. On 
this same 9th of September he was lying among the Put4n« 
Bay islands at the south-western end of Lake Erie, be- 
The tween Sandusky and the Detroit river. On the morning 
u^ o^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ fleets sighted each other, the American 
£rie. vessels being nine in number against the British six, and 
better equipped in gunnery. There were only two ships 
of appreciable size on eitiier side. These were on the 
American side the Lawrence, which was Perry's flag-ship, 
and the Niagara^ commanded by Captain Jesse Elliott, 
the daring officer who in the previous October had cut out 
and captured two British vessels under the guns of Fort 
Erie at the entrance of the Niagara river. The correspond- 
ing vessels on the British side were the DetroU, which 
carried Captain Barclay's flag, and the Queen Charlotte, 
commanded by Captain Finnis. The action b^[an about 
noon, the two conmianders leading the van. After a few 
long shots from the Detroit, Perry came to close quarters, 
and for two hours there was a desperate fight between 
the Lawrence and the Detroit. At length the Lawrence 
was wholly disabled, and after Perry had gone on board 
the Niagara, the Lawrence struck her colours, but could 
not be taken by the enemy, for the only boat which the 
Detroit possessed had been hammered to pieces, and mean- 
while the Niagara bore down upon her. This latter ship 
had been skilfully kept by Elliott ^ out of the reach of the 
guns of her antagonist, the Queen Charlotte, while the 
Queen Charlotte had been badly mauled by the guns of the 
smaller craft and had lost earlier in the action her com- 
mander, Captain Finnis, a good trained naval officer, 
• whose Kfe,' wrote Sir James Yeo, in forwarding Barclay's 
report on the action, * had it been spared, would in my 
opinion have saved the squadron ' ; Barclay's own words 
being that * with him fell my greatest support '. Coming 
up comparatively fresh and uninjured, and supported by 

^ Elliott's conduct of his ship, however, was at a later date the subject 
of criticisin and inquiry in the United States. 

THE WAR OF 1812 117 

the smaller vessels, the Niagara decided the day ; the Annihiia- 
Detroit, by this time little more than a wreck, and the b%^^^ 
Queen Charlotte fell foul of each other, and, raked with fleet 
fire at the closest quarters, surrendered with two of the 
smaller vessds ; the remaining two of the six attempted 
to escape, but were followed and taken. /- 

Thus the whole British fleet was wiped out, the Ameri- 
cans won a victory complete at every point, and Lake 
Erie became for the time being the property of the United 
States. President Madison had told Congress on May 25, 
* On the lakes our superiority is near at hand, where it 
is not already established.' In the following December 
another message from him to Congress referred to Perrj^s 
victory as * a victory never surpassed in lustre, however 
it may have been in magnitude.' Perry proved himself to 
be a generous as he was a brave man. Barclay bore witness 
to his adversary's humane kindliness to his wounded 
prisoners, and, badly wounded himself, was landedr— in 
Perry's words— as near Lake Ontario as possiUe, to be 
sent home on parole. The court-martial that sat on him Canaet 
acquitted him most fully and honouraUy, attributing the ^^er. 
dieter to the very defective means of equipment which 
he possessed, to * the want of a sufficient number of able 
seamen, whom he had repeatedly and earnestly requested 
of Sir James Yeo to be sent to him', to the superiority of 
the enemy's force, and to the loss of the superior officers 
early in the action. It was a fair and just finding, excq>t 
that it reflected on Yeo. Blame might be and was attri- 
buted, in this quarter and that, to Prevost, most unjustly \ 
to Yeo, to Procter, to Barclay himself, not in the action 
itself when he did all that man could do, but on the allied 
ground that he had previously relaxed his blockade of 
Presque Isle ; but the simple fact was, and is, that men 
cannot make bricks without straw, and it is useless to 
belabour the foremen when the straw is not forthcoming. 

> In Some Account of the Public Life of Sir G. Prevost (1823), pp. 109- 
lOb win be found a letter from Captain Barclay fully exculpating Prevost 
from any Uame aa regards the naval disaster on Lake Erie. 


Ii8 THE WAR OF 1812 

The wonder is not that Lake Erie and the Detroit frontier 
were lost when they were lost» but that, in view of the 
miserably inadequate resources on the British side, the 
distance from a base of supplies and reinforcements^ and 
the difficulty of communication, Barclay and Procter had 
held their ground so long. 

Despmte For the loss of Barclay*s ships meant ruin to Procter. 

|l^^^^^ The Indians implored him to stand and fight, but to stay 
was to starve or be annihilated by Harrison's overwhehn- 
ing forces* The Americans had concentrated from the 
Sandusky to the Miami, mainly at the Portage river, 
waiting for the command of the lake to be decided before 
they advanced. Governor Meigs, of Ohio, had his militia 
ready for Harrison's orders. Shelby, the veteran governor 
of Kentucky, who had fought at King's Mountain in the 
War of Indq>endence, personally led on his men, bidden to 
be mindful of the fight on the river au Raisin. With 
Harrison were Cass and MacArthur, who had served under 
Hull, eager to wipe out the disgrace of Hull's surrender. 
Michigan Territory, annexed by Brock, was to be once for 
all recovered, and the British and Canadians were to be 
driven once for all from both sides of the Detroit river. 

His delay. A fortnight, however, passed before Perry was able to 
carry the troops across the end of the lake, a mounted 
column being at the same time sent on by land to Detroit. 
Procter, therefore, had a sufficient interval to effect a safe 
retreat, to bring off the wounded and sick, and such stores 
as were absolutely necessary, but he does not seem to 

He have made the best use of his time. Ten days and more 

retreats, p^^ssed before he left Amherstburg, destroying what re- 
mained of the already half-dismantled fort at Maiden, 
burning the shipyard and barracks and such stores as he 
could not take with him. Before Barclay's fight his 
white soldiers numbered a full thousand men, nearly all 
of the 41st r^;iment. When the retreat b^gan, the num- 
bers had been diminished by the troops who were killed 
or taken on board the ships, and hardly amounted to 800, 
of whom a much smaller number were effectives. Te- 

THE WAR OF 1812 ixg 

camseh went with him, leading the Indians, but in con- 
stantly diminishing numbers. The only road, and the 
road which he took, making for the head of Lake Ontario, 
was 4ue north along the Detroit river to Sandwich, then 
eastward along the southern shore of Lake St. Clair to the 
mouth of the river Thames, then following the course of 
that river in a north-easterly direction past the present 
town of Chatham, the road or track for a long cUstance 
l]ring on the southern bank of the river, and then crossing 
to the other side. Thus his retreat lay by the water-ways, 
and boats could accompany him, bringing his baggage and 

He seems to have left Sandwich on September 26. On and is 
the 27th, Peny reported that Harrison*s troops had on that |^'" 
day marched into Maiden without opposition. On the^^^i^^^^- 
evening of the 29th, the Americans occupied Sandwich 
and Detroit, the mounted column reaching Detroit on the 
30th ; and on the 29th Harrison issued a formal pro- 
clamation, stating that the enemy had been driven from 
Michigan Territory and that the previous dvil government 
had been re-established ^ It was October 2 before Harrison 
left Sandwich in pursuit of Procter, with a force which he 
returned in his dispatch as numbering about 3,500 men. 
As far as can be judged from the accounts, Procter's move- 
ments were culpably slow, the movements of an undecided 
man. The retreat, too, was cumbered by much baggage, 
brought laboriously up the stream in boats, or in wagons 

^ There is great coofasiop about the dates. In a dispatch Provost 
stated that Procter left Sandwich on the a4th. In a general order he 
gives the 26th as the date. According to the American dispatches 
printed in Brannan's collection, Harrison wrote on the 33rd of Septem- 
ber from ' Headquarters Amherstburg \ stating that he had taken pos- 
session of the place at 3 o'clock on that morning, and that lYocter had 
burnt the fort, L e. Fort Maiden, and retired to Sandwich. On the 
a4th. Perry reported that on the previous day he had tran^Mrted i,aoo 
men to a small island about four leagues from Maiden. On the 26th, 
general orders for landing were issued on board ship. On the 37th, 
Perry reported the occupation of Maiden on that day. On the 39th, 
called ' the day of the debarkation of our troops into Canada,' another 
general order was issued from on board ship. 

X20 THE WAR OF i8ia 

on the bank, while it was difficult to induce the Indians to 
constantly £adl back before their foes. On October i the 
force readied a hamlet or farm named Dalson's» or Dolson's, 
on the river Thames, about fifteen miles from the mouth 
of the river, four or five miles below Chatham, and twenty-^ 
five or twenty-six miles below the missionary station called 
Moraviantown. Here Procter seems to have at first in- 
tended to stand and fight, and the troops remained sta- 
tionary through October 2, though Procter himself went 
on to Moraviantown. On the 3rd, hearing that Harrison 
was following them up, the British continued their retreat 
to Chatham, and on that day or the next th^ crossed 
the river. On the 4th Procter rejoined them, and again 
th^ retreated further up the river on its northern side. 
On the morning of the 5th, stiU retreating, th^ reached 
a point about two miles short of Moraviantown, and here 
at length they were ordered to turn and face the enemy. 

Harrison and his troopsmovedfar more speedily, pressing 
on to an inevitable victory. Where the road ran by the 
lower reaches of the Thames, it crossed tributary creeks 
at different points which had been duly bridged. The 
first bridge Procter had unaccountably left standing be- 
hind him. Higher up the river the Americans on 
October 3 had intercepted a small party who had been 
left to destroy a second bridge, and had not completed their 
work. On that evening they encamped four miles below 
Dalson's. Up to this point their baggage and stores, like 
Procter's, had been mainly brought by water, convoyed 
by three of Perry's gunboats. To quidcen up the pursuit 
Harrison now parted with the boats, and on the 4th he 
continued his advance, driving off at Chatham a body of 
Indians who disputed a crossing where a bridge had been 
half destroyed, and, as he went up the river-side, picking 
up jettisoned British stores in burning houses and boats ^, 
together with two twenty-four-pounder guns. Putting 
his troops in motion again early on the 5th he captured 

^ At the time of writing two of the hulk of Procter's derelict boats, 
about 75 leet long, are still lying in the river Thames near Chatham. 

THE WAR OF 1812 121 

two more vessels with stores and ammunition, and some 
or all of a party of 150 men who formed their guard. At 
noon he threw his force across the river, two or three boats 
and some canoes being found for the purpose, and the 
mounted men carrying infantry soldiers behind them on 
their horses. Eight miles further on along the northern 
bank of the river he reached the encampment where the 
British rearguard had stayed the night before, and two 
miles higher up his mounted men found the remains of 
Procter's force drawn up across the line of march. 

To oppose Harrison's army Procter had less than The fight 
500 white soldiers, supplemented by a rather larger body Stonivian- 
of Indians under Tecumseh. He had chosen a good town and 
position for defence, where the road ran through beech- tioa of 
woods between the river on his left and a swamp upon his f^^^* 
right. Both flanks were therefore protected, and he could 
only be defeated by a frontal attadc. On the right were 
the Indians, thrown forward in the marshy ground so as 
to form an obtuse ang^e with the main line, ready to work 
round the American flank and rear. On the left, astride 
of the road, and abutting on the river, were the soldiers 
of the line, nearly all men of the 41st, drawn up in open 
files. But one small gun supported them, the few 
others that remained having heea taken on to Moravian-* 
town to guard a crossing there. Placing a strong force 
of infantry on his left, some of them drawn up at right 
angles to the line of fight to counteract any tmning move- 
ment by the Indians, Harrison ordered his mounted men 
to charge the British r^;ulars. The latter gave one volley, 
at which the horsemen recoiled, a second volley followed, 
but then the Americans rode down the scanty line. Ill 
fed, worried by uncertain and apparently aimless retreat, 
the men who had fought hard in many fights fought badly 
now, and almost immediately nearly sJl surrendered. The 
Indians made a stronger resistance and caused the Amerir 
cans some loss, until Tecumseh fell, depriving the British i>eath of 
cause in North America of the most skilful and the most 9^^' 
chivalrous native leader who ever fought on their side. 

lU THE WAR OF i8m 

pursued as far as Moraviantown, took the guns 
that had been placed there, with some more prisoners, 
mainlysickand wounded, and fornoobviousreason burnt the 
settlement to the ground. He then returned to Sandwich, 
garrisoned that post and Detroit, and in due course carried 
off his r^[ulars by water to the Niagara frontier, while the 
miUtia from Kentucky and Ohio went to their homes. 

He had achieved complete success. Six hundred British 
soldiers were in his hands. All the guns were destroyed 
or taken, some of them, as he noted, having been spoils 
of the War of Independence, taken at Saratoga or York- 
town, lost again by Hull's surrender, and now once more 
recaptured ; all the stores and small arms were taken; 
even Procter's private papers came into Harrison's pos- 
session. Procter himself escaped * by the fleetness of his 
horses ', wrote the American general, * escorted by forty 
dragoons and a number of mounted Indians '. On Octo- 
ber 17, he mustered at Ancaster on the Grand river, a few 
miles from Burlington Heights, all that had escaped from 
the fight at Moraviantown, and they numbered all told, 
officers and men, 246. Neither in the battle nor before it 
had Procter shown himself a leader of men. General 
Harrison wrote to his friend, governor Meigs, * Nothing 
but infatuation could have governed General Procter's 
conduct . . . His inferior officers say that his conduct has 
been a series of continued blunders.' Prevost blamed him 
severely, and in a general order criticized the whole force, 
the conduct of the retreat and the defeat of the British 
Court* soldiers, * almost without a struggle.' Eventually, more 
^ than a year later, in December, 1814, Procter was tried 

Procter, by court-martial at Montreal, the charges brought against 
him being delay in beginning his retreat ; delay on the 
retreat ; neglect to take such precautions as breaking 
the bridges, and the cumbering of his force with useless 
baggage ; omission to guard the boats and wagons that 
carried his supplies ; bad choice of fighting ground and 
n^lect to fortify his positions ; neglect to make proper 
dispositions on the battie-fidd and misconduct in the 

THE WAR OF 1812 123 

action. He was partly acquitted and partly condemned, 
his personal character being upheld. The sentence was 
a public reprimand and suspension from rank and pay for 
six months. It was held by the military authorities at 
home to have been too lenient, and was attributed to 
regard for Procter's previous good character and con* 
duct. This may wdl have been the case. There are 
many iastances of officers ^o, having done good service 
and shown high fighting qualities, when a particular crisis 
comes, are found unequal to responsibility and, it may be 
through temporary loss of health and nerve, break down 
hopelessly under the strain. Procter was condemned for 
having been wantingin eneigy and activity, although he had 
on previous occasions shown himself conspicuously active 
and eneigetic ; he was fully acquitted by the court-martial 
of any misconduct in the battle, and his whole previous 
brave career spoke on his behalf. Yet it would have been 
weU for his reputation had he fallen like Brock or Tectunseh 
in the forefront of his men, instead of finding personal 
safety in headlong retreat. 

The situation created by the fights on Lake Erie and Critical 
Moraviantown was very grave. The lake was now an 5*^*""* 
American lake, all the western end of Ontario was in^^ncent. 
American hands, and Vincent, again in charge of the 
British forces on the Niagara frontier — for de Rottenburg 
had been called back to Kingston— drew off the troops and 
concentrated them at Buiiington Heights. Prevost, when 
the first news reached him ^ , ordered a further retreat, and 
abandonment of the whole of Upper Canada as far as 
Kingston, but Vincent and his officers determined to hold 
their ground, a wise decision as events proved ; and, as 
the main part of the American fences were transferred to 
Sackett's Harbour ior a great C(xnbined movement on 
Montreal, the post at Burlkigton Heights was not assailed. 

^ In Sam§ AceomU pfiksPMic Ufs of SirG. Prmod, ppw IX5-X9* it is 
stated that the instrnctiaa to Vincent to hh back on Kingston after 
Pkoctor's deleat was given under a nusondcrstsnding and was ooonter* 

X24 THE WAR OF 1812 

Michuu- There was stiU one point in the very far West where the 
mackmac. g^^j^ maintained their ground. This was Michilli- 
maddnac. After disposing of Procter Harrison wrote 
that he was sending an expedition to recapture the place, 
bat no steps seem to have been taken for the purpose until 
the sunmier of the following year, 18x4. Information had 
reached Prevost that the garrison was in straits for pro- 
visions, but the defeat of Barclay's ships had made it diffi* 
cultto sendsuppUes in the year 1813, and it was not until the 
next spring that reinforcements and stores reached this f ar«> 
ofE outpost. There were two possiUe routes which avoided 
Lake Erie and the Detroit river. One was by the Ottawa 
river and Lake Nipissing, the other was an overland route 
to the Nottawasaga river, which flows into the end of 
Georgian bay, and which could be reached from York. On 
this river a Uttle d£p6t was estaUished, and from it, in 
April, 1814, Colonel McDouall, of the Glengarry regiment, 
set forth in boats canying about ninety soldiers, mainly 
belonging to the Newfoundland r^;iment, and the much 
needed supplies. Storm-tossed and endangered by float- 
ing ice on Lake Huron, the little expedition, on May 18, 
contrived to reach Michillimackinac in safety. Some 
western Indians were also gathered to the fort, and before 
The June ended, McDouall felt himself strong enough to send 
p^^^^ a detachment to attack a party of Americans who, starting 
desChiens from St. Louis, under the command of a man named 
e^)edi- Clarke, had established a fort on the banks of the Upper 
^^^^^ Mississippi, at a place where there was an Indian settle- 
macidnac. ment named Prairie des Chiens. The expedition from 
Michillimackinac, commanded by an officer named McKay, 
followed the routeup theFox River anddown the Wisconsin, 
which had been taken by JoUet and Marquette, the first 
discoverers of the Mississippi, and reaching their destina- 
tion on July 17, two days later took possession of the 
American fort, which was surrendered with its guns and 
garrison, although supported by a gunboat on the river.^ 

^ The dispatches giving an aooount of McKay's expedition are printed 
in Appendix B to the JUpari on th§ Canadian Archives for 1887.. 

THE WAR OF i8ia 125 

Meanwhile the garrison of MichiUunackinaCy weakened American 
by the absence of McKay and his men, was attacked by SSo^^* 
an American force sent np from Detrdt. It consisted of against 
five ships of the Lake Erie squadron, with over 700 troops mackinac. 
on board, commanded by Croghan, the officer who had 
beaten ofE Procter from Fort Stephenson. It was an ill- 
led and ill-assorted expedition. Passing up Lake Huron 
in July it made for St. Joseph's island, the British post on 
which had been abandoned. The houses standing on the 
island were burnt, and then a detachment was sent on 
to a settlement at Sault Ste Marie* The owner of this 
settlement, who, with the able-bodied men of the place, had 
joined McDouall at Michillimackinac, was for some reason 
specially obnoxious to the Americans, and the place was 
rifled and looted as by a party of brigands. Before July 
ended, the vessels reached the island on which the 
fort of Michillimackinac stood, and on August 4 the 
troops were landed at the rear of the fort* McDouall it » 
had less than 200 men at his command, including Indians, 0^.^^ 
but he marched out to attack the invaders. Compelled 
af first to fall back for fear of being outflanked, he made, 
with the Indians leading, a successful counter-attack. 
The second in command of the Americans, the man who 
had looted the Sault Ste Marie settlement, was killed with 
some others, a considerable number were wounded, and 
the whole force under cover of the ships' guns re-em- 
barked and sailed away. Returning as far as the Notta- 
wasaga river they attacked the British blockhouse there 
and a schooner which was loading at it ; both were blown 
up, but the British naval officer in charge. Lieutenant 
Worsley, made good his escape, and with his men and some 
stores found his way in boats to Michillimackinac. Two 
of the American ships were left to blockade the river and 
prevent provision^ being sent to Michillimaddnac, the 

McDouaU reported that ha heard on the axst of November oi Clarke 
having taken possession of I^airie des Chiens ; but either McDoaaU 
was not at Bfichillimafikinao at the time or he came away afterwards, 
inasmnch as it was in April, 1814, that he was sent up by Provost 


126 THE WAR OF i8i2 

American rest went back to Detroit. Shortly afterwards these two 
^^ ^ ships, the schooners Tigress and Scorpion^ went up Lake 
Lake Huron and took a position at some distance from each 
other, not far in either case from St. Joseph's island. It 
was resolved to attack them» and a party led by Worsley 
set out for the purpose in boats from MichiUimackinac. 
On the night of September 3, Worsley boarded and took 
the Tigress^ then manning the captured vessel, three days 
later he took her consort. Thus Mirhillimarkinac was 
relieved from danger of being starved out. It was the 
first position taken by the British in the war, and it re- 
mained in British hands until the war ended. These in- 
cidents have been told out of order of time because, with 
their exception, there was after Procter's defeat in October 
1813, no serious fighting further west than the Niagara 
frontier. Raiding and pkmdering took place, but with the 
abandonment of the line of the Detroit, the main scene of 
action was thenceforward contracted and centred round 
Niagara, the head of Lake Ontario, and the eastern parts 
of Canada. 
American In July and August, 1813, the American government 
a^pcLn ^^^^^ intent upon a large scheme whereby the forces on the 
apinst Canadian frontier should concentrate on one or other vital 
Montreal, pQi^^ qj^^ strike a decisive blow by overwhelming numbers. 
Correspondence passed between Armstrong, the Secretary 
of War, and General Wilkinson, who had succeeded 
General Dearborn, discussing whether the starting-point 
should be Fort Geoige, from whence the wh(de peninsula 
of Ontario should be in the first instance overrun and 
cleared of its defenders, or whether it should be Sackett's 
Harbour, and, if Sackett's Harbour, whether the main 
effort should be directed against Kingston, or whether 
a combined movement should be made against Montreal^ 
having the indirect advantage of cutting communication 
between Kingston and Montreal, and thereby severing 
Kingston from its base of supplies. Wilkinson at first 
inclined to b^in by clearing the peninsula of Ontario from 
Fort George, as being the safer plan, * with the intention,* 

THE WAR OF 1812 127 

as he wrote to Armstrong, 'to increase our own con- 
fidence, to diminish that of the enemy, and to popularize 
the war/ After such operations, he continued, ' we . . . 
like lightning must direct our whole force against Kings^ 
ton ; and, having reduced that place and captured the 
shipping, we may descend the stream and form a junction 
with the colunm of General Hampton in the neighbourhood 
of Montreal, should the lateness of the season permit/ 
Armstrong argued that success in the peninsula of Ontario 
* leaves the strength of the enemy unbroken ; it but wounds 
the tail of the lion. • . • Kingston is the great d6p6t of his 
resources, and so long as he retains this and keeps open 
his conununication with the sea, he will not want the 
means of multiplying his naval and other defences, and 
of reinforcing or renewing the war in the west.' Kingston, 
therefore, should, he thought, be * the first and great object 
of the campaign*, but he contended that its reduction 
would be mor|e easily effected by concentrating on Mon- 
treal and cutting communication with Kingston, than by 
a direct attack on the latter port itself. This plan, on 
paper a good one, held the field, and it must now be told 
what steps were taken to carry it out. 

In 1760, Amherst completed the conquest of Canada by tncinding 
concentrating three forces on Montreal. One came tip^j^* 
the St. Lawrence from Quebec, one came up the line of move- 
Lake Champlain, the third, commanded by Amherst him- ^^ Lake 
self, came down the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario. The ^*V*^ 

and Lake 

Americans now proposed to repeat this plan so far ascham- 
it included a combined advance from Lake Champlain P^*"^* 
and Lake Ontario ; but Quebec was not in their hands nor 
likely to be, and friends, not enemies, would reach Mon- 
treal from that quarter. Further, all the three forces in 
Amherst's scheme worked harmoniously under the un- 
disputed leadership of Amherst. In 1813, the American jMoasy 
commander on Lake Champlain, Wade Hampton, though Han^^ 
nominally subordinate to Wilkinson, resented his leader- ^^"^^ 
ship, and, as will be seen, the element of hearty co-opera- 
tion, indispensable if success was to be achieved, was 


128 THE WAR OF 1812 

wanting. * General Hampton,' wrote Armstrong to Wil- 
kinson at the beginning of September, * will go through the 
campaign cordially and v^;oroasly, but will resign at the 
end of it/ A commander who meditates resignation is 
not usually either cordial or vigorous, and General 
Hampton did not prove to be an exception to the rule. 
Sackett's Harbour was the point where the invading 
force, which was to descend the St. Lawrence, was to be 
gathered ; and there Wilkinson arrived on August 20, 
Wilkin- 1S13. On the 21st he wrote to Armstrong that be was 
®^'8 going on to Fort George, hoping to draw Prevost after 
ments. him, that he intended to move down the lake from Niagara 
on September 15, to be in possession of Kingston 
or below it on September 26, and that he calcu- 
lated on General Hampton behig at Plattsburg on Lake 
Champlain, on September 20. All this was after con- 
ferring with Commodore Chauncey. He went on to Fort 
George at the beginning of September, and on the 20th he 
was still there, having been laid up with sickness, and was 
making preparations to transport his troops to Sackett's 
Harbour. Meanwhile Armstrong, the Secretary of War, 
came up in person to Sackett's Harbour to watch over the 
evolution of his favourite scheme. Bad weather interfered 
with the movement of the troops on water, so did the in- 
abiUty of Chauncey to inflict any decisive defeat on Yeo*s 
squadron. October came on and was well advanced before 
the troops were finally collected at Sackett's Harbour. 
They were then with difficulty, owing to what Wilkinson 
termed * the inexorable winds and rains % transported to 
Grenadier Island, which hes near the outlet of the St. Law- 
rence from Lake Ontario, on the American side, about half- 
way between Sackett's Harbour and Kingston. There 
seems to have been some question as to Aether Kingstcxi 
should after all be attacked, but British reinforcements, 
which had arrived there from the Ontario peninsula, put 
an end to any intention of the kind ; and, while Chauncey 
blockaded or attempted to blockade Yeo's squadron in 
Kingston harbour, Wilkinson moved on his vanguard and 


WAR OF 1812 129 

artillery to French Creek, about twenty miles down the 
St.Lavnrenceon the American shore, near the present village 
of Cla}rton. From this point, on November 5, the expedition 
started down the river, the troops numbering between He starts 
6.000 and 9.000 men. and the point where the junction ^^ 
was to be made with Hampton's corps being, according to Lawrence 
the original plan, the Isle Perrot, just above Montreal, c^^o. 
but, as subsequently determined, St. Regis, higher up the 
river, where the international boundary meets the St. 

After Macdonell's successful attack on Ogdensburg in 
February, 1813, the Americans had given little trouble to 
Canada below Lake Ontario. In July, a British convoy, 
coming up the river from Montreal to Kingston, had been 
intercepted among the Thousand Island^, and the captors 
running their vessels and prizes high up a small creek SinaJl 
on the American shore, named Goose Creek, beat off an ^"^^ 

attempt which was made by British gunboats from Kings- «? ^ 
ton to cut them out. On Lake Cbamplain, all through the river 
spring and summer, the Americans remained almost in- ^|^J^^ 
active, but there were small British successes to be re» plain, 
corded. The Isle aux Noix in the Richelieu river, rather 
over ten miles from the outlet of Lake Champlain, was an 
outpost of Canada which had played a prominent part in 
earlier wars. In the summer pf 1813 it was held by a 
garrison of British regulars under the conmiand of Major 
Taylor of the looth regiment, and there were three gun- 
boats at the place which had been built at Quebec. On 
the early morning of the 3rd of June, first one American 
vessel and then a second were seen coming down the river 
as though to attack the post. The three gunboats were 
ordered out and engaged the American ships, while Taylor 
landed men on either bank of the river and supplemented 
the fire of the gunboats by musketry from on shore* The 
result was that, after three and a half hours' fighting, both 
the American ships were taken, one having been run 
aground to prevent her sinking, but being subsequently 
salved by the British, The Americans on board the ship9 

X3d THE WAR OF x8ia 

numbered zoo, one was killed, eight were wounded, the 
rest were taken prisoners. The two ships, named the 
Growler and Eagle, were pressed into the British service, 
being rechristened the Broke and Shannon in honour of 
the fight between the Shannon and the Chesapeake which 
had just taken place : but these names were Portly after- 
wards, under orders from home, replaced by the very prosaic 
names of the Chubb and the Finch. On July 29, these 
two vessek and the three gunboats under the command 
of two British naval officers, one, Captain Everard, being 
the commander of the British brig Wasp, which was at the 
time l3dng at Quebec, and the other. Captain Pring, having 
been sent down by Sir James Yeo from Lake Ontario, set 
out to raid the American military and naval depots on 
Lake Champlain. A fleet of boats accompanied them, 
canying about 900 soldiers, under the command of Colonel 
Murray. They made for Flattsburg, cm the western shore 
of the lake ; on their approach, the American militia at 
the place disbanded and dispersed; and, unopposed, 
Murray burnt the barracks and naval d6p0t,and destroyed 
such stores as he could not cany off. The same process 
was repeated at Saranac, within about three miles of 
Hattsbuig, at Swanton in Missiquoit bay, the north-east 
comer of Lake Champlain, and at Champlain town or 
village on the western side, north of Plattsburg, and 
at the outlet of the lake. Meanwhile Everard, with three 
of the five armed vessels, stood across the lake from Flatts- 
burg and threatened Burlington, which was then Hamp- 
ton's head quarters, carrying off four little unarmed ships 
and being unmolested by the American squadron, which 
was lying there but not yet ready for action. On tiie 
3rd or 4th of August the raid was over, and the American 
commodore, Macdonough, subsequently putting out on 
the lake, reported that the enemy could not be brought 
to action, * thus, if not acknowledging our ascendancy 
on the lake, evincing an unwillingness to determine it.' ^ 

^ MacdonoQgh't ditpatch in fhe printed venion b dated September 0, 
bat reads ae though the real date wai A«giiit 9^ 

THE WAR OF 1812 131 

Colonel Murray, in reporting upon this expedition, stated 
that General Hampton had concentrated at Burlington 
the whole of the r^^ular forces in the vicinity of Lake 
Champlain, and that they amounted, according to the best 
mf ormation, to about 4,500 men in addition to a large body 
of militia. Hampton subsequently crossed over to Flatts- 
buig, and encamping dose by that place at Cumberland 
Head, completed his preparations for the coming cam- 
paign. WiUdnson, in his first calculations for the com- 
bined movement which he and Armstrong had planned, 
counted on Hampton being at Plattsburg on September Hampton 
ao. Hampton was well up to time, for on that dayi^^^^ 
he crossed the frontier and surprised a small Canadian Canada, 
picket at Odelltown. This was on the direct northern 
route on the we st ern side of Lake Champlain and the 
Richelieu river, the objective being the bank of the 
St. Lawrence immediately opposite Montreal. It was the 
route which Dearborn had taken as far as LacoUe in the 
previous autumn, when making a feeble attempt to invade 
Lower Canada. On that occasion de Salabery, with 
French Canadian voltigeurs and militia, obstructed the 
advance ; the same brave and vigilant officer was now across 
Hampton's path. Instead of forcing his way through by 
weight of numbers— not, it would seem, a difficult task, for 
the defenders were few and, after not many miles of wood- 
land, open country would have been reached — ^Hampton 
retraced his steps on the following day, alleging as a reason 
for his change of plan want of water on the Odelltown route^ 
owing to an exceptional drought.^ About a month later 
both he himself, and General Wilkinson on Lake Ontario, 
complained of the bad weather. Retreating for some miles 
parallel to the northern outlet of Lake Champlain by the 
way by which he had come, Hampton struck into a road 
which led in a due north-westerly direction from Platts- 
buxg to the Salmon river, and on to the St. Lawrence, 
a little below St. Regis ; and he followed this road until he 
reached the Chateauguay river, high up in its course just 

^ This is taken from Christie's accoimtm his Hii«ofyo/LoiP0rC 



132 THE WAR OF 1812 

beyond a settlement known as the Four Comers of Chateau* 
and con- guav. Here he concentrated his f orce» which in the middle 
at the o^ October seems to have numbered from 5,000 to 7,000 
^^^ men. In the meantime, in order to keep the British occu- 
Chateau- pied on the line of Lake Champlain, a detachment of 
«"*y- the Americans, on October 12, attacked the village of 
Missiquoit on Missiquoit bay, on which occasion, accord- 
ing to the account of the American commander, Colonel 
Clark, 102 Americans took loi prisoners. 

The head-waters of the Chateauguay are at a considerable 
distance south of the Four Comers, and the stream runs 
at first in a northerly direction through two small lakes, 
passing to the west of the Four Comers, and at some dis- 
tance to the north-west of that point crossing the inter- 
The line national boundary. In Canada the river takes an easterly 
Chateau- bend, and flows due north-east parallel to the St. Lawrence, 
guay its confluence with that river being directly opposite 
Lachine on the island of Montreal. After it has turned to 
the north-east, it is fed by two tributaries on the southern 
side, the Outard river and, lower down, the English river. 
On its banks, between the points where these two rivers 
respectively join the larger stream, the fight of Chateau- 
guay took place. The Four Comers of Chateauguay were 
so caXled because four roads converged there; one, by which 
Hampton had come, led to Lake Champlain ; a second, 
as already stated, led to the Salmon river ; a third followed 
the Chateauguay, running first north and then north-east ; 
a fourth ran due north-east inland of and roughly parallel 
to the third. From this fourth road a cross-road connected 
with the third, joining it just below the conflu^ice of the 
Outard and the Chateauguay ; and, by utilizing at once 
the third road and the cross-road, Hampton eventually 
brought his army down and on to the Chateauguay a little 
higher up than the scene of the battle. As long as Hamp- 
ton was encamped near the Four Comers, it was not pc^ 
sible for those who were watching his movements to divine 
by what route he was likely to advance, whether to the 
Salmon river and the St. Lavnrence at St. R^;is, whether 

THE WAR OF 1812 133 

along the course of the Chateauguay, or whether along the 
inland road. De Salabery, with a handful of French De 
Canadians and such few Indians as were to hand, had been i^ c^^ 
charged with the task of moving parallel to the American ^^^ 
conmiander, breaking up and obstructing the roads in his dians. 
front, and molesting him in every possible way. Accord- 
ing to one account, at the b^;inning of October, de Sala- 
bery attacked Hampton's outposts at the Four Comers ^ ; 
and eventually, when it was evident that the line of the 
American advance was along the Chateauguay, the 
Canadian leader took up a position on that river about six 
miles above the confluence of the English river, on the 
northern bank of the Chateauguay, along which the road 
ran, his left resting on the river, his front and right guarded 
by a series of natural ditches or ravines, strengthened by 
rough barricades ; an outwork of fallen trees being con- 
structed across the road rather over a mile in advance of 
the main defences, in order to give a first halt to the ad- 
vancing enemy. Tlie weak point of the position was that 
just below it there was a ford by which, if not securely 
guarded, the Americans, if they came down the southern 
bank, could cross and take the defenders in the rear. 

On the morning of the 21st of October, Hampton left his 
encampment near the Four Comers and moved down the 
Chateauguay. On the 22nd he concentrated the main The 
body of his troops near the mouth of the Outard, on the ^^^^'o 
northern bank of the Chateauguay. On the 23rd and goay. 
the 24th he completed or reopened the broken road or 
roads by which he had advanced, and brought up his artil- 
lery and stores ; and, having established a line of com- 
munication with the St. Lawrence as far up as Ogdensburg, 
in order to be kept in touch with Wilkinson's movements, 
he matured his scheme of attack on the 25th. One colunm 
was to cross the Chateauguay, to advance along its 
southern bank, to seize the ford and recross in the rear of 
theenemy: the main force was to advance on the northern 
bank, through six or seven miles of open country into the 

is taken from Chzittie't history. 

134 ' THE WAR OF i8i3 

woodland where de Salabery was posted, and carry his 
position by a frontal attack. The column on the southern 
bank, under Colonel Purdy, started on the night of the 
25th. After it had b^gun its march, Hampton learnt that 
no co-operation could as yet be expected from Wilkinson, 
but it was too late to counter-order the movement, and on 
the morning of the 26th, the main body, under a tried 
soldier, General Izard, also moved forward, along the road 
on the northern bank of the river. De Salabery had under 
his immediate command, in addition to Indians, between 
300 and 400 French Canadians. He had in reserve a militia 
regiment of 600 French Canadians under the command of 
Colonel Macdonell, the brave and able Glengarry officer who 
had taken Ogdensbuiig in the spring. This rc^giment had 
been hurried down from Kingston, where all available 
troops had been concentrated to oppose Wilkinson, and 
had come up to de Salabery's position the day before the 
battle. Lower down the river, and hardly within reach. 
General De Watteville seems to have been stationed with 
a few more troops. The first fighting line containing de 
Salabery's own men, according to Prevost's dispatch, did 
not exceed 300 white men. 

Izard advanced slowly, waiting for the sound of firing 
on the southern side of the river, which was to be the signal 
for attack. Between 10 and 11 o'clock in the forenoon his 
vanguard, as well as the head of Purdy's column on the 
opposite bank, were seen by a picket guarding a party of 
Canadian habtians who were employed in obstructing 
the road in front of the first barricade which has already 
been mentioned. De Salabery brought up his men, and 
posted them and a small party of Indians in loose order 
through the woods in front and at the sides of the barricade, 
with the exception of about one-third of the little force whom 
he placed further back at right angles to the rest, lining 
the bank of the river in order to take the Americans on the 
southern side in flank as they moved on the ford. About 
2 o'clock, according to Hampton's report, hearing the sound 
of guns on the southern side, Izard pushed on rapidly, drove 

THE WAR OF x8i2 135 

in the pickets, and tlireatened the barricade. The Cana* 
dians fell back behind it and seem to have begun a further 
retreat, but 6fi Salabery, standing his ground, made the 
boy bugler by his side sound a call. Macdonell answered 
from the reserves and moved up his men. The bugles, 
the cheers of the Canadians, and the whoops of the Indians 
sounded through the woods as though a large army was 
coming on; and the Americans thereupon came to a stand 
in front of the timber breastwork, waiting for further 
evidence of their comrades on the southern bank of the 
river. Purdy, it seems, had wandered and scrambled 
through the night, missing his way or led astray by traitor- 
ous or patriotic guides, and when sunrise came he had 
only covered six miles. Towards the middle of the day 
he made for the ford. He was momentarily checked by 
a party of the local militia. Driving them off, he found in 
his front a company of Macdondl's regiment, whom Mac- 
doneU had sent across the river. Again overpowering 
them, after a short check, he moved on down tiie bank, 
when, from the opposite side, de Salabery's men, who had 
been posted for the purpose, opened a destructive fire all 
along his flank. This decided the day. The Americans The 
on the southern bank broke in confusion, and taking cover ^^^re 
in the forest here and there, mistook friends for foes, fired defeated, 
on each other, and ceased to be an oiiganized force. Leanu- 
ing of their discomfiture, Izard and Hampton no longer 
pressed their own attack, but drew back the troops for 
some three miles, and the fight of Chateauguay was over. 
Purdy*s broken force meanwhile also retreated, tried to 
cross the river and rejoin Hampton, failed, and encamped 
in the forest where, according to Purdy's account, they 
were again subjected to a night attack. Eventually on 
the day after the battle, the two columns were reunited. 
The American casualties were considerably over a hun- 
dred ; the Canadian loss, all told, was only twenty-five. 
The actual fighting had hardly amounted to more than 
a skirmish. None the less the results were those of a great 
and decisive victory. With the most trifling loss a hand- 

136 THE WAR OF 1812 

full of men had repulsed an invasion, broken up a dom-- 
and bination, and given security to Montreal. For Hampton, 
^^^^ • whether because he was faint of heart or because his heart 
was not in a campaign ^ which had been devised by others 
than himself, made no further forward movement, and did 
not even hold his groimd. Having encamped on the night 
of the battle three miles back, two days later, on the 28th, |[ 
he b^gan his retreat to the Four Comers, with the Indians | 
hanging on his rear. On November i he wrote from t 
the Four Comers a report of what had taken place. On ( 
the night of the 7th, while still at the Four Comers, he |- 
received a dispatch from Wilkinson, written the day before r 
from the St. Lawrence above Ogdmsbuiig, and suggesting ^ 
a junction of the two forces at St. Regis. On the following \ 
day he wrote back, dwelling upon 'the rawness and sickli- | 
ness ' of his troops, whom he described as * sadly dispirited 
and fallal off ' after their fatigues, and upon the shortness 
of his provisions, for Wilkinson had in his letter suggested 
that Hampton should forward two or three months' sup* 
plies by the safest route. Hampton stated that, if he 
advanced, he would have to depend upon Wilkinson for 
feeding his m«i, and concluded that his best course would [ 
be to fall back upon his main d£p6t at Plattsburg, with 
a view to a future forward movement towards the St. 
Lawrence. Accordingly, on the nth of November, he 
marched back to Lake Champlain and took no further part | 
WiUun- in the operations. Wilkinson received Hampton's letter ^ 

Smation ^^ *^® ^^^ ®' November, the day after the fight at : 
at Hamp- Chrystler's, and expressed his indignation at his colleague's 
re&oit. conduct in no measured terms, in a letter to Hampton 
himself, in a general order in which he referred to * the 
extraordinary, unexampled and, it appears, unwarrantable 
conduct of General Hampton in refusing to join this amiy 
with a division of 4,000 men under his conmiand ', and in 

' Pardy insinnates that Hamptoo was given to drinkiiig. A siinilar*^ 
allegation was made in regard to '^^^Ildnson. It is a common charge 
when generals lail, but the various reports of Hampton's conduct at the 
time, and after the retreat to Plattsburg, point to his having been for 
some reason or other hopelessly wroog-headed or inefficient. 



j THE WAR OF 1812 137 

a letter to the Secretary of War. To the latter he wrote» 
^ The game was in view and, had he performed the jmiction 
directed, would have been ours in eight or ten daj^. But 
he chose to recede, in order to co-operate, and my dawn-^ 
ing hopes and the hopes and honour of the army were 
blasted.' The whole proceedings had been an object- 
lesson in want of co-operation. Wilkinson and Hampton 
had failed to combine : the two columns of Hampton's 
army had failed to combine also. To Canada the result was 
peculiarly important from a political point of view. The Chateau- 
fight at Chateauguay had on the Canadian side been en- flench- 
tirdy a fight of French Canadians. Their time had now ^!^*^ 
come : they had stood up against invasion and had pre- 
vailed. Hitherto the cause of Canada had been mainly 
in the keeping of British troops and settlers of Briti^ 
birth ; but at Chateauguay only French Canadians were 
engaged, and this fight proved to demonstration that the 
war was a national war for Canada ^. 

Starting down the St. Lavnrence on November 5, WiUdn- 
Wilkinson, late on that night, reached a point on the Ameri- ^^V 
can shore about seven miles above Ogdensburg. There he ™^^ ^ 
remained through the 6th, writing on that evening theLawroice. 
letter to General Hampton which has already been men- 
tioned, and issuing to the inhabitants of Canada a short 
proclamation, moderate and dignified in tone, in which he 
promised protection to all who did not take up arms 
against the Americans. Carefully worded as it was, it 
had little effect, for in a later dispatch he referred to * the 
active universal hostility of the male inhabitants of the 
country'. Below him, and opposite Ogdensburg, was 
Prescott with Fort WeUington, whose garrison had been 

* The different accounts of the battle of Chateangnay are conflicting 
and confoaing to an extraordinary degree. It is only possible to piece 
together what seem to have been the main features. A plan of the fight, 
with an accoont, will be found in Boachette's Topographical D$tcnpHon 
of the Province of Lower Canada, valuable, as the author was Surveyor- 
General of the Province, and the book was written within two 3rears of 
the event He locates the spot as being in the Division of South 

Z38 THE WAR OF x8za 

strengthened by two companies of the 49th hastily sent 
down from Kingston. His flotilla could not safely pass 
the guns of the fort in the daytime. The troops, there- 
fore, or most of them were landed with the ammunition : 
on the night of the 6th ^ the boats, with muffled oars, 
dropped down along the American shore, and on the follow- 
ing morning were rejoined below Qgdensburg and Prescott 
by the army which had marched by or through Qgdensburg 
He lands overland. On the same afternoon a force of about i,20omen 
^^^ was landed on the Canadian side, to march down parallel 
Can^ian with the boats and dear the way. A further body of 
the river mounted men was landed on the same shore on the 8th ; 

Ft^icott. ^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ whde expedition reached a point near 
the head of the Long Sault rapids, hard by the farm of 
a Canadian settler of the name of Chri^tler. The Long 
Sault rapids are nine miles in length, and at their foot on 
the Canadian side is the town of Cornwall. This was held 
at the time of Wilkinson's expedition by a small garrison 
of militia commanded by Dennis, an officer of the 49th, 
who had distinguished himself at the battle of Queenston 
Heights. Over against Cornwall was St. Reps, where 
WiUdnson hoped to meet Hampton. At the head of the 
rapids, General Brown, the defender of Sackett's Harbour, 
was landed with a force of a,ooo to 2,500 men, and on the 
loth marched down the Canadian shore. His march was 
delayed by skirmishing with Dennis and his mihtia detach- 
ment, who broke the bridges and held the Americans in 
check long enough to enable the stores at Cornwall to be 
removed, and it was not until the morning of the nth 
that Brown reached a point named Bamharts, a little 
above Cornwall. The flotilla was waiting at the head of 
the rapids until intelligence came from General Brown 
that he had cleared the bank, and meanwhile most of the 
remaining force on the boats had been landed on the 9th, 

* The aocoants generally give the night ci the 7th» bat WiUdnaon, in 
his letter to Hampton, written on the evening ci the 6th, says, ' I shall 
pass Prescott to-night/ and a comparison of the dates shows that the 
boats passed on the night of the 6th or early morning of the /th. 

-. I 

THE WAR OF 1812 139 

tinder Geaeral Boyd, to protect the rear of the expedition 
against a British force which was following it, Wilkinson 
himself remaining on board incapacitated by sickness. 

Channels blockade of Kingston Harbour had proved A British 
very ineffective. Before the Americans left French Creek, ^^^ 
some British vessels had made their way out of Kingston ^<»«i 
and were barking and biting at the tail of the expedition. loUows 
After Wilkinson started, the regulars at Kingston, con- J^JJ^" 
sisting of the 89th regiment and of the 49th, with the stmm. 
excq>tion of the two companies which had akeady been 
sent on to Prescott, were embarked on gunboats and 
bateaux in charge of a skilful naval officer, Captain Mul- 
caster, and, eluding Chauncey, made the best of their way 
down stream. Chauncey indeed, either on that day or on 
the evening before, seems to have left Kingston and gone 
some way up the lake to lie in wait for some of Yeo^s 
vessels which he had heard had gone up the lake with 
reinforcements. The little British force which followed 
Wilkinson numbered under 600 men when it left Kingston, 
with two six-pounder guns. The 89th were not up to full 
strength, and the 49th were sadly weakened by the sick- 
ness which had heea prevalent on the Niagara frontier, 
from which that regiment had at length been withdrawn. 
The conunander of the troops was Colonel Morrison, of 
the 89th, and with him was Harvey, the hero of Stoney 
Creek. They reached Prescott on the 8th and picked up 
most of the garrison at that place, the two companies of 
the 49th, some Canadian Fendbles and Voltigeurs, a small 
party of Indians, and another six-pounder gun. The 
whole force now numbered rather over 800 men. Re- 
embarking in smaU boats they passed on down stream on 
the 9th, landed thirteen miles below Prescott and marched 
along the Canadian shore, Mulcaster's gunboats keeping 
by them on the river. On the loth they began to come 
into touch with the American rearguard, and on that day 
Morrison and Mulcaster crossed the river to a village named 
Hamilton, where some stores captured from the British 
had been deposited, and made an agreement with the 



140 THE WAR OF 1812 

leading inhabitants for the restoration of the stores and 
the delivery of any property which belonged to the govern- 
ment of the United States. This agreement, it may be 
noted, was not carried out, with the result that early in 
the following February the plundered stores, then de- 
posited at some little distance from Hamilton, were re- 
covered by a party which crossed the icebound river from 
Cornwall and carried them ofE by night. 
The On the morning of the ilth, while Wilkinson, having 

Chryn- heard from Brown, was giving orders for the American 
^[^ flotilla to run the rapids, Mulcaster's gunboats opened fire, 
and at the same time Boyd reported that Morrison was 
pressing him on land. Wilkinson accordingly instructed 
Boyd to turn and attack, and in the middle of the day 
on the nth the fight at Chrystler*s took place. The battle 
was of a somewhat unusual character, for an advancing 
army was fighting a rearguard action. The numbers on 
either side were, as usual, overestimated by the enemy. 
Morrison led into action sUghtly over 800 men, Boyd had 
about 1,800 in three columns, including a regiment of 
dragoons : and later in the fight a reinforcement of 600 men 
joined him. Some of the American artillery, too, accord- 
ing to Boyd's account, did not come up until much of the 
fighting was over. The field was comparatively open, 
more so than in most of the battles of this war, and there 
was more generalship shown, especially on the British side, 
than had usually been the case. Morrison, probably under 
Harvey's advice, had chosen his ground well. He rested 
his right on the river, his left on a pine-wood, the interven- 
ing distance of open ground being about 700 yards. Ex- 
cept that he was fighting in the open, his position resembled 
that taken up by Procter at Moraviantown, both flanks 
being protected by nature. Next the river were three 
companies of the 89th with one gun ; then a Uttle in front, 
athwart of the road, were stationed the flank companies 
of the 49th with some Canadians and another gun ; then 
on the left, thrown back and reaching to the wood, the 
remainder of the two regiments were placed and the third 

W W ^ 

THE WAR OF 1812 141 

gun. In the wood were the Canadian Voltigeurs and 
Indians, whose duty it was to skirmish in advance and 
draw the Americans on to the main British position. The 
British troops, not being drawn up in one level line, were 
able to support each other wherever the enemy's attack 
was pressed. The fight began by the skirmishers being 
driven in on the British left, which was followed by an 
attack in force upon that side of the position about 
2.30 p.m. It was beaten off, and Boyd next tried to out- 
flank and crush the right — ^the side nearest the river. The 
advanced party of the 49th made a counter-charge for one 
of the enemy's guns, but was pulled up by a threatening 
movement of the American cavalry who endangered their 
right flank and rear. To meet this danger the men of the 
89th, nearest the river, came forward, beat off the dragoons The 
and took the gun. This decided the battle. The Ameri- cans 
cans, after rather over two hours' fighting, retreated, and ^^^ 
the infantry were put on board the boats and carried three 
or four miles down stream, while the cavalry and artillery 
followed on land. The next day the whole of the American 
forces were again concentrated at the bottom of the 

Morrison's troops occupied for the night the position 
which the Americans had hdd. Their casualties had been 
rather under 200, the Americans had lost over 300 in 
killed and wounded, including Brigadier-General Coving- 
ton, who was mortally wounded, and Morrison reported 
having taken upwards of a hundred prisoners. The 
British had clearly the best of the engagement, but, had 
Hampton met Wilkinson at St. Regis, the prime object 
of the expedition would not have been affected by the 
fight at Chiystler's Farm. No sooner, however, had the 
expedition reached the foot of the rapids on the day after 
the battle, than one of Hampton's ofiBicers brought to 
Wilkinson the letter announcing Hampton's retreat to 
Lake Champlain, and it was evident that the attempt on 
Montreal must be given up. Morrison meanwhile was 
following up the pursuit with all the sound members of his 

X4i THE WAR OF i8ia 

wiikhiMa little force, and on the 13th Wilkinson carried over his 
gandou ^j^^j^ army to the American side of the river and placed 
M^^iS them in winter quarters at French Mills and Malone on the 
Salmon river. There they remained entrenched mitil the 
middle of the following February, when the encampments 
were broken up. Brown, with part of the force, was sent to 
Sackett's Harbour, and the rest under General Wilkinson 
himself moved back to Plattsburg on Lake Champlain, 
harried on their retreat by a strong detachment of regulars 
and Canadians who crossed the St. Lawrence on the ice and 
carried off stores and provisions. Thus ended the cam^ 
paigA against Montreal. It had been a miserable fiasco, 
mainly owing to General Hampton's misconduct. If the 
Americans had still entertained any hope of conquering 
Canada, it must have been entirely dissipated after the 
collapse of the combined movement. But it had been 
an anxious time for Canada, and in rq>orting Morrison's 
victory at Chrystler's Farm Prevost wrote that the exer- 
tions which the Canadians and his handful of regular 
troops had made for the defence of the country might 
degenerate into indifference, unless the support received 
from the mother-country was equal to the magnitude 
of the stake. 
General WiUdnson's Campaign had drawn off leaders, men, and 
in^^vge public attention from the Niagara frontier. There a 
of the^ militia officer, Brigadier-General George McQure, was 
forces left to command what remained of the American force, 
^ ^® having his head quarters at Fort George. In a short time 
frontier, he was Superseded by Harrison, who had come down 
Lake Erie from Detroit, but in ^e middle of November 
Harrison was recalled to the west \ and McQure resumed 
command. Before leaving, Harrison charged McQure to 
have a vigilant eye on the disaffected part of the inhabitants, 
as he termed them, and in doing so, to make use of the * zeal, 
ability and local knowledge * of Colonel Willcocks, of whom 

^ Harriaon tpeaks distinctly of 'Being ordered to return to the West* 
ward '. MoQnre says that Harrison was ordered to Sacketf s Karbonr 
with his army. • • 

THE WAR OF i8ia 143 

mention has already been made. In other words, Ameri* lU-treat- 
can dealings with lo}ral Canadians in this part of Ontario ^^U)yai 
were to be guided by a Canadian traitor. The instructions ^^- 
were liberally interpreted. Harrison had laid down that 
it would no doubt be McQure's wish, as it was his duty, 
to guard the residents as far as possible against oppression, 
but McQure's view of his duty as well as, it would seem, 
his personal inclination differed from those of his superior 
cAcer. He had few regulars left with him and the militia, 
many of whom were about to receive thdr discharge and 
who became, according to his own account, ungovernable, 
laid heavy hands on the country round, stimulated by 
Willcocks and such following as he possessed. Colonel 
Murray, who commanded the British outposts, spoke of 
these Canadian renegades as *a lawless banditti, composed 
of the disaffected of the country, organized under the direct 
influence of the American government, who carried terror 
and dismay into every family \ 

Harrison, before he left Fort George in the middle of 
November, had not heard oi Hampton's retreat, of the fight 
at Chrystler's, and of the abandonment of the expedition on 
the St. Lawrence. Accordingly, in giving instructions to 
McQure he contemplated that the British troops would 
be vdthdrawn from the peninsula of Ontario and would 
be mainly concentrated at Kingston, having the right of 
their line at York vdth possibly a small command at Bur* 
lington Heights as the extreme British outpost in the 
west. He was mistaken in his calculations. The British 
commander Vincent had determined not to retreat from 
Burlington. There he held his ground and faced McQure* 
De Rottenburg had gone down to Kingston, taking with 
him the 49th and one other regiment, but the looth regi** 
ment had come up to the front, and the remnant of the 
41st which had escaped from the disaster at Moraviantown 
was also united to Vincent's small force. The Americans Cotonel 
took up their position at Twenty MUe Creek and ravaged J^J^^ 
the country, but about the end of November Vincent towards 
allowed Colonel Murray, a good bdd officer of the Harvey ^^*s*^ 

144 THE WAR OF 1812 

t3rpey to move forward as far as Forty Mile Creek. McQure 
fell back, Murray moved on first to Twenty Mile Creek, 
then to St. Catharine's, and McQure retired into Fort 
George. With his dwindling force out of hand the Ameri- 
can commander did not feel himself able to hold Fort 
George, and determined to abandon the fort and retreat 
The bnm- across the river. Early in October he had obtained an 
Nwwk. ^^d^ fron^ Armstrong, the American Secretary of War, 
worded as follows : * Understanding that the defence of 
the post conunitted to your charge may render it proper 
to destroy the town of Newark, you are hereby directed 
to apprise the inhabitants of this circumstance and to 
invite them to remove themselves and their effects to 
some place of greater safety.' Armstrong had, after issu- 
ing this order, been, it would seem, at Fort George, but 
the order had not been modified or withdrawn. When 
there was no occasion to use it, for. he had already decided 
to withdraw from Fort George, McQure proceeded to put 
it into effect. Newark was an attractive little settlement. 
Bouchette, writing two years later, sajrs that it ' had in« 
creased to about 200 neat and well-built houses, with a 
church, courthouse and one or two public buildings '. It 
had peculiar interest as being the first seat of the Legi&* 
lature in Upper Canada. Here the United Loyalists had 
begun to make laws for their new home. The snow was 
lying on the ground when, at dusk on December 10, 
McQure gave notice that the town would be burnt 
down. He asserted that he gave twelve hours* warning, 
but this seems to have been untrue, for on the same night 
the whole village was destroyed. Most of the accounts 
state that the village contained 150 houses, and that 149 
of them were burnt, some 400 women and children being 
turned out of doors to face the winter night, while their 
homes were wrecked before their eyes. It was an act of 
wanton brutality, one of those deeds for which there are 
long memories, and McQure's own countrymen condenmed 
it as well as his enemies. 
Retribution followed speedily. Within two days 

THE WAR OF 1812 145 

McQure hurried across the river, and Murray and his men The 
occupied Fort George, taking tents, stores and some guns, ^^^l^y 
and finding the fortifications stronger than when the Fort 
position had been previously in British hands. Ahnost ^^' 
Immediately afterwards a new British commander ap- 
peared on the scene. This was Gordon Drummond. Gordon 
Drummond, with another officer, Major-General Phineas mond 
Riall, who had served in the West Indies, had reached ^^^ 
Canada from England in November ; but, while Wilkin- of the 
son's operations were still on hand, he had been detained ]^^^q 
in Lower Canada. Moving on to Kingston and York he upper 
assumed the administration of Upper Canada in place ^'^^^ 
of de Rottenburg on December 13, and immediately 
proceeded to the Niagara frontier, where he took over 
the command from Vincent, finding the British forces 
in possession of Fort George. Drummond was at this time 
rather over forty years of age ; he had entered the army 
very early, and in 1794 had become Lieutenant-Colond 
of the 8th regiment, the first battalion of which served in 
Canada throughout the war. With this regiment he had 
seen much active service in the Netherlands, in the West 
Indies under Abercromby, and under Abercromby again 
in Egypt and at the battle of Alexandria. Bom at Quebec, 
he had gone out to Canada again on the staff in 1808. 
He had gone home in 1811, and in 1813, now a Lieutenant- 
General, he was sent out once more as second in command 
to Prevost. A firm, trained soldier, he stands second to 
Brock on the British side among the men who held high 
command in Canada throughout this war. 

No sooner had he come up to Niagara than Murray 
laid before him a plan for attacking the American Fort Fort 
Niagara 00 the opposite side of the river. The plan was 2j[S^* 
approve4 and, boats having been brought up overland ^tiie 
from Burlington bay, on the night of December 18 
the attack was made. Between 500 and 600 men, the 
majority belonging to the looth regiment, were taken 
across the river on that night and landed about three 
miles above the fort ; and about four o'clock in the morning 

146 THE WAR OF i8xa 

Murray, who was in command, directed an advance upon it. 
The leading party surprised two pickets and the sentries, 
from whom they obtained the watchword ; and, while 
one detachment stormed the eastern demi-bastion of the 
fort, the main body of the troops rushed the main gate 
which had been left open for the change of guard. The 
garrison poured out to meet the attack, but Murray's men 
went in vdth the ba3ronet, and after a few minutes* fighting 
the fort was taken. The Americans lost sixty-five killed 
and over 300 prisoners. A large number of guns and an 
accumulation of stores fell into British hands, and some 
Canadian non-combatants, who had been carried off and 
imprisoned by McQure's orders, were released. The 
British loss was trifling, about a dozen lolled and wounded. 
Well conceived and admirably carried out, the attack had 
robbed the Americans of the historic fort which commanded 
the outlet of the Niagara river to Lake Ontario, and which 
had, hitherto, not been seriously assailed. It was held 
by the British throughout the remaining stages of the 
Drum- A good general follows up a success, and Drummond 
^^p3 had this merit. As soon as the fort had been taken, on 
toe whole the 19th, Riall, with 500 regulars, was thrown across the 
bank river against Lewiston ; a detachment of American militia 
N'^an ^^ beaten off by a party of Indians who had crossed in 
river. advance ; two guns, some stores and ammunition were 
taken, Lewiston was burnt, some neighbouring villages 
were burnt, Fort Schlosser was destroyed, and Riall ad- 
vanced up the river within ten miles of Buffalo, until a 
broken bridge intercepted his march, when he returned 
and recrossed to Queenston. McClure had not been at 
Niagara when the fort was taken, and writing from 
Buffalo on December 22 he attributed the disaster to 
gross n^lect on the part of the officer in chaige of the 
fort. He drew a lurid picture of the * horrid slaughter ' 
committed by the British troops on entering the fort and 
of inhuman butchery in the villages ' by savages headed 
by British officers painted*. He reported that he had 

THE WAR OF 1812 147 

called out the militia and that Buffalo was perfectly secure. 
He was not secure himself , nor was Buffalo. He resigned 
his command to Major-General Hall, and in a few dajrs 
the latter was in straits. On December 28 Drummondt 
moving up the river on the Canadian side, fixed his 
head quarters at Chippawa above the falls. On the night 
of the 29th, Riall and some 600 men vnih a party of Indians 
were sent across the river, landing at midnight about two 
miles below Black Rock. Surprising an American picket 
and seizing a bridge on the way to Black Rock, Riall held 
his ground against counter-attacks till daylight, when the 
Royal Scots, about 800 strong, with some dragoons were 
also passed over the river above Black Rock. Some of the 
boats grounded and the landing was disputed with some* 
what heavy loss to the British ; but, as Riall advanced 
from below the fort, the Americans gave way, and the 
position of Black Rock was taken. Marching on, Riall 
again encountered some resistance before Buffalo, but 
again the Americans were dispersed, and after taking some 
guns, the British commander burnt to the ground Black 
Rock, Buffalo, the stores which they contained, and three 
vessels which were aground at Buffalo Creek. Part of the 
force then moved back down the river, destro3dng all the 
remaining cover and, when the British returned to the 
Canadian side, retaining only Fort Niagara, the whole of 
the American frontier from one end of the Niagara river 
to the other was a blackened wilderness. This was the 
retribution for the burning of Newark. * The flourishing 
village of Buffalo,' wrote General Hall, * is laid in ruins. 
The Niagara frontier now Ues open and naked to our ene* 
mies.* The British casualties in the engagements were 
over a hundred. Riall took 130 prisoners and esti* 
mated the American killed and wounded at from 300 to 
400, but this was probably an excessive estimate. The 
campaign of 1813 now closed, Drummond's troops went Close of 
into winter quarters at Fort Niagara, St. David's, Burling- pi^^ 
ton Heights, and York ; and Prevost issued a lengthy 
general order, the morsd of which was that the recent 



THE WAR OF 1812 



and the 

occurrences would not have taken place but for the burning 
of Newark, and that it rested with the American govern- 
ment to decide whether the war should be conducted in 
future in such a manner as to render similar acts of retalia- 
tion unnecessary. 

During 1813 the naval duels between British and American 
vessels continued. Out of five engagements of the kind 
which are specially recorded, the Americans were victorious 
in three. Towards the end of February the American 
ship Hornet encountered the British brig Peacock^ off the 
mouth of the Demerara River. The latter shipwas, accord- 
ing to the accounts of the day, good for show, as befitted 
her name ; but the men, as was the case on board many 
other British ships at this time, had not been well trained 
in gunnery. The fight was very short, only a matter of 
fifteen to twenty-five minutes, but it was very severe while 
it lasted. The British captain was killed, the Peacock 
struck her colours and sank almost inmiediatdy afterwards. 
The captain of the Hornet^ Captain Lawrence, was shortly 
afterwards given the command of a larger vessel, the 
Chesapeake. In May the Chesapeake was lying in Boston 
harbour, fitting out for sea, while off the harbour was the 
British frigate Skannon, commanded by Captain Broke. 
On June i, the anniversary of Howe's victory at 
Ushajit, Broke sent an elaborate challenge to Lawrence to 
fight the ships in single combat, and before the challenge 
could be received, the Chesapeake stood out to sea and 
met the Skannon.^ About half-past five in the afternoon 
the fight took place. The two frigates were well matched 
in strength, but Broke had a fine well-trained crew, prob- 
ably superior to the men on the Ckesapeake. After two or 
three broadsides the Ckesapeake fell foul of the Shannon. 
Broke ordered his men to board the American ship, and 

* The account of the aenior surviving officer of the Chesapeake nma : 
' On Tuesday. Jnne i, at 8 a.m. we unmoored ship and at Meridian . • . 
proceeded on a cruise. A ship was then in sight in the offing, which had 
the appearance of a ship of war, and which, from information received 
from pilot boats and craft, we believed to be the British frigate SAamioii. 
We made sail in chase and cleared ship lor action.' 

THE WAR OF i8i2 149 

in hardly more than fifteen minutes from the time when 
the first shot was fired the Chesapeake was taken. Short 
as the fight had been, the casualties were very heavy. 
Lawrence was killed. Broke was badly wounded ; there 
were seventy killed and wounded on the Shannon^ on the 
Chesapeake doahLefbatuvaoiber. The fight was memorable 
because, without superior force, the British victory was 
so dramatic, so speedy, and so complete, and because the 
Chesapeake was carried off to Halifax under the eyes of 
the citizens of Boston : but the importance which from 
that time to this has been attached to the fight between 
the Shannon and the Chesapeake is the measure of the 
respect which the fighting qualities of the American seamen 
had inspired in the British navy. At the beginning of 
August, two small ships, on the British side the Dominica^ 
on the American side the Decatur^ encountered each other 
off the southern coasts of the United States, and the 
Dominica was boarded and taken, only fifteen out of a crew 
of about eighty not having been killed or wounded. A few 
da3rs later, off the coast of Ireland, the British ship Pelican 
fought and took the American ship Argus^ which had been 
taking prizes in St. George's Channel, for even the waters 
of the United Kingdom were not secure against the Ameri- 
can sailors. In September, off the coast of Maine, the 
British brig Boxer was taken after a hard fight by the 
American brig Enterprise. 

These single-ship engagements were only incidents in 
the naval war of the time, and meanwhile llie British sea- Bntiab 
power in more S3rstematic fashion was making itself felt ^^^^ 
on the American coasts. In March Rear-Admiral Cock- AHantie 
bum with a small squadr(m appeared in Chesapeake bay, ^the 
where he was subsequently joined by his superior officer, VF^^^^ 
Admiral Warren, from Bermuda. The shores and estuaries 
of the bay were harried, stores and ships were carried off, 
and, when resistance was experienced, the places were 
wrecked. On one occasion, at Hampton, a band of soldiers, 
foreigners in the British service, who took the name of 
Independent Foreigners or Canadian Chasseurs, though 


they were not of Canadian origin, conunitted excesses on 
the inhabitants and were removed from active service, 
their conduct having with good reason brought discredit 
on the expedition vdth which they were associated. Other- 
wise the Americans seem to have had littie valid ground 
for complaint in Cockbum's and Warren's proceedings. 
A year later, in August, 1814, Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander 
Cochrane, who had succeeded Warren, notified to the 
American government that he had been called upon by the 
Governor-General of Canada to exact reprisals for the 
destruction wrought by the Americans in Upper Canada. 
In his rq>ly Monroe, who was Madison's Secretary of State, 
referred to * the wanton desolation that was committed 
at Havre de Grace and at Georgetown early in the spring of 
1813. These villages,' he alleged, Vere burnt and ravaged 
by the naval forces of Great Britain, to the ruin of their 
unarmed inhabitants \ But it does not appear that these 
and other settiements in Chesapeake bay were destroyed 
without provocation or armed resistance, though there 
may have been, as in all campaigns there must be, instances 
in which the ordinary usages of war were transgressed. 
The net result of the expedition was that the meaning of 
war was brought home to the citizens of the United States 
through the invasion of their own shores ; and the suffering 
entailed, coupled with the want of success in Canada, where 
the Americans themselves were invaders, deepened the 
strong feeling which existed in the Northern states against 
this war. 
Anti-wax There was abundant evidence of that feeling in the 
the New couTse of the year 1813. Martin Chittenden, one of the 
Sto^^ representatives of Vermont in the American Congress in 
1809, had corresponded in that year with John Henry, 
when the latter was collecting information for Sir James 
Craig as to the trend of poUtical feeling in the United 
States. He had cast his vote against the war, and had 
subsequentiy been made Governor of Vermont. In No* 
vember, 1813, he took the strong step of ordering back 
into Vermont some of the militia of that state, who were 

THE WAR OF 1812 151 

doing duty in the state of New York, on the ground that 
they were required and ought to be employed for the de* 
fence and protection of their own state. The Vermont 
officersi to whom his order was addressed, flatly refused 
to ccmply with it ; but the fact that it was issued showed 
that the Chief Magistrate of Vermont was not impressed 
with the national character of the war. A more striking Remon- 
illustration of this feeling was given in a remonstrance ^^^ 
addressed to Congress by the L^;islature of Massachusetts Legisia- 
in the previous June. Massachusetts, the very hearth i^!^^ 
and home of American civil liberties, and at the same chv^^^ts. 
time the most concerned in sea-going traffic, could speak 
with a stronger voice than any other state, and most out- 
spoken was its protest. * No state in the Union can have 
a greater interest or feel a stronger desire to protect com- 
merce and maintain the legitimate rights of seamen, than 
this Conunonwealth. Owners of one third of all the 
navigation, and probably furnishing nearly one half of all 
the native seamen of the United States, we are better 
enabled to appreciate the extent of their sufferings, and, 
it must also be presumed, to sympathize vdth them more 
sincerely, than the citizens of states destitute of commerce, 
and whose sons are not engaged in its prosecution.' Yet, 
in the face of President Madison's declaration that the 
war turned on British interference with American shipping, 
Massachusetts, pointing to the withdrawal of the Briti^ 
Orders in Council, denounced the declaration of war as 
premature, and perseverance in the war as improper, 
impolitic and unjust. It was a war waged by a free people 
in co-operation with the French emperor, who was at- 
tempting to destroy the liberties of Europe. It was a war 
of invasion open to the charge of having been undertaken 
in the lust of conquest ; and it was a war in which the 
Southern states of the Republic had dictated to the 
Northern, having been given under the Union an unequal 
proportion of political power. The South had inspired 
the poUcy, whereas on the North had fallen the main 
burden of misery caused by the war, the injury to com- 

152 THE WAR OF i8ia 

merce wrought not only by the acts of the enemy, bat also, 
and in a greater d^ee, by prohibitions, embargoes, and 
non-intercourse acts imposed by the Federal government, 
and by the loss of the fineries which had given subsistence 
to thousands of New England citizens and been the nursery 
of the sailors of the Northern states. 

It was not a pleasant outlook for President Madison, 
who had been re-elected for a second term in December, 
1812. Though American sailors had well upheld the 
honour of their country, though Perry had dominated 
Lake Erie and, with Harrison, recovered Detroit, though 
York had been twice taken, the Niagara frontier had been 
swept of the Americans, the invasion of Montreal had 
collapsed in ridicule, the conquest of Canada was further 
off than ever, in Europe Napoleon was tottering to his fall, 
the home coasts of the United States were being stricken 
and blockaded, and — ^most dangerous result of all — ^the 
line of cleavage between North and South in the RepuUic 
was becoming more accentuated. 

In a message to Congress on December 17, 1813, 
the President spoke of ' the daily testimonies of increasing 
harmony throughout the nation ', but he knew, and the 
British government knew, that this harmony was far to 
seek. On the British side, in fact, there had been a policy 
B^vsh ^^ differentiating between the Northern states on the one 
Govern- hand, and the Middle and Southern states on the other. 
2J§^^^ Though it was the conmierce of the North that princi- 
tiates be- pally Suffered through the war, for in the North there was 
^|!^!^^ most commerce to suffer, it was against the shores of 
so^tt*^ Chesapeake bay, and further south, that the efforts of the 
states British warships were mainly directed. The Annual Register 
lJn\on '^^ ^^^3 ^ states that, on March 30, in that year, the Prince 
Regent issued a public notification to the effect that the 
necessary measures had been taken for blockading the 
ports and harbours of New York, Charleston, Port Ro3ral, 
Savannah, and the River Mississippi. * These were addi- 
tional to the blockades of the Chesapeake and the Dela- 

* P. 179. 

THE WAR OF 1812 153 

ware/ says the account, and no mention is made of blockade 
on the New England coasts. By a British Order in Coun- 
dly dated October 26, 1812, the importation of speci- 
fied articles into British ports in the West Indies and 
South America was permitted, under licence, and subject 
to instructions from the government, in the case of any 
unarmed i^p not belonging to France or to a country 
belonging to or annexed by France. The Order in Coundl 
did not prohibit importation in American vessels, although 
the United States were then at war with Great Britain. 
But in the confidential instructions to the West Indian 
governors, which accompanied the Order in Council, 
and which were dated November 9, 1812, it was laid 
down that importations were to be confined to vessels 
of friendly powers, unless embarrassment would be caused 
by the restriction. Then followed the words—* Whatever 
importations are proposed to be made under the Order 
from the United States of America should be by your 
licences confined to the ports in the Eastern states ex- 
clusively, unless you have reason to suppose that the object 
of the order would not be fulfilled if licences are not also 
granted for importations from other ports in the United 
States '. These instructions clearly differentiated between 
New En^^and and the Southern states in favour of the 
former. The Order in Council was proclaimed by the 
Governor of Bermuda on January 14, 1813, and appeared 
in the Bermuda Gazette two days later ; and the con- 
fidential instructions filtered through to the United 
States by way of the West Indian island of St. Croix, then 
in Briti^ bauds. They called forth what the Governor 
of Bermuda spoke of as * querulous and petulant senti- 
ments ' from President Madison. In a message dated 
February 24, 1813, the President laid the documents 
before Congress vdth the following oxnments: *The 
policy now proclaimed to the woAd introduces into her 
(Great Britain's) modes of warfare a S3rstem equally distin- 
guished by the deformity of its features and the dq>ravity 
of its character, haviog for its object to dissolve the ties 

^54 THE WAR OF 1812 

of allq;iance and the sentiments of lo}ralty in the adversary 
nation, and to seduce and separate its component parts 
the one from the other/ To meet the insidious British 
policy the President proposed to prohibit all exportation 
from American ports under special licences and all ex- 
portation in foreign bottoms, * few of which/ he said, ' are 
actually employed, whilst multiplying counterfeits of their 
flags and papers are covering and encouraging the naviga- 
tion of the enemy/ Of this latter foct, the carrying on 
of trade between New England and the West Indies under 
foreign flags, there was, the Governor of Bermuda wrote, 
daily evidence. By hook or crook the New Englanders 
did not intend, if they could help it, that a war, to which 
a large proportion of them objected on principle, should 
utterly ruin their commerce. Reading the protest of the 
Massachusetts Legislature, which has been quoted above, 
it is impossible not to r^et that the history of this war 
was not better known in En^^and in past years. Had 
there been full and abiding knowledge of the facts of the 
war and of the division of feeling with regard to it at the 
time in the United States, public opinion in the United 
Kingdom would hardly have been so pronounced in favour 
of the Southern states, when the great struggle between 
the North and the South took place ; and men might have 
remembered that when last Great Britain and the United 
States had been at war, the New England states had a 
strong good word for Great Britain. 
First Though Madison vehemently uphdd the righteousness 

for^l^ of the war on the American side and encouraged his people 
to stand fast in it, he had not rejected an offer made by 
the Emperor of Russia in the spring of 1813 to mediate 
between the two parties, and, as will be told hereafter, 
commissioners were sent to Europe to carry on negotia- 
tions. Great Britain, however, refused to accept Russian 
mediation, while offering to treat directly with the United 
States, provided that her maritime rights were respected. 
Meanwhile the war went on. The prospects of Great 
Britain were far brighter at the end of 1813 than a year 

THE WAR OF i8i2 155 

previously. The retreat from Moscow had done its work, 
Leipsic had been fonght and Vittoria, the allies were over 
the Rhine, Wellington had forced the passage of the Nive, Brighter 
and France, so long the invader, was now in turn invaded. ^^^^ 
Yet the terrible strain of men and money on the long- Britain, 
suffering British people was not relaxed, and but four 
raiments of the line reinforced the defenders of Canada 
during the year 1813, two of them, de Watteville's and 
de Meuron's,^ being foreign corps in British pay, similar 
to the Hessians in the War of American Independence, and 
the German Legion at the time of the Crimean War. 

' These two regiments appear in the Army List for 18 16, bnt not in 
that for 1817. In the latter year the officers are given as on ' Foreign 
half-pay ', and the regiments apparently had been disbanded. De 
Watteville's regiment had ' Maida ' and ' Peninsula ' on its coloars. 


Meetiiig On January 13, x8i4» the Lc^gislature of Lower Canadamet 
L^j^. again at Quebec, and sat until March 17. The Governor 
^^ o< and the Assembly mutually congratulated each other upon 
Canada, the events of the late campaign, the Assembly pointedly 
alluding to Prevost's * just and liberal poUcy towards His 
Majesty's Canadian subjects'. The issue of army bills 
was extended to meet tbe emergencies of the time, and 
special votes of thanks were passed to de Salabeiy and 
his officers in respect of Chateauguay, and to Morrison and 
his officers for the fight at Chiystler's. Then there ensued 
the inevitable wrangles between the elected Assembly and 
the Legislative Council, the equally inevitable attack upon 
the judges of the High Courts, and retrospect of the alleged 
grievances which had been suffered under Sir James Craig. 
A bill to preclude the judges from sitting in the Lc^gislative 
Council was passed by the Assembly and rejected by the 
Council, and the same fate befell a bUl for the appointment 
of a Canadian agent in Great Britain. Early in the session 
the Assembly betook themselves to a formal impeachment 
of Sewell and Monk, the Chief Justices of the province of 
Lower Canada and of the district of Montreal respectively, 
the main mover in the proceedings being Stuart, a former 
Attorney-General. Seventeen heads of impeachment, as 
the Assembly termed them, or articles of accusation, as 
Prevost to their disgust more truly described the vindictive 
statements, were drawn up against Sewell, and eight 
against Monk. The rules of practice, which the judges had 
laid down for the Law Courts in the year 1809, were repre- 
sented as entrenching upon the powers of the Lc^gislature 

THE WAR OF 1812 157 

and subverting the dvil liberties of the people ; and in 
article after article of accusation or impeachment the so- 
called traitorous and wicked conduct of Chief Justice 
Sewell was arraigned with wearisome iteration. He was 
charged with having counselled and abetted Sir James 
Craig in supposed designs against popular liberties, and in 
misrepresentation of the conduct of the Canadians ; and 
he was denounced as having fomented discord between the 
two houses of the Legislatmre. Reference was made to the 
previous dismissal of Stuart from the post of Attorney- 
General, though Stuart was not mentioned by name, and 
to his place having been taken by Sewell's brother. Sewell 
was further charged with having attempted to increase 
American influence and American settlement in Lower 
Canada and, in conjunction with John Henry, with having 
laboured to dismember the United States with a view to 
procuring the incorporation of Lower Canada with part of 
the Republic. Stuart was named as agent to prosecute 
the impeachment in England, and a vote to cover his 
expenses was tacked on to a revenue bill, but was struck 
out in the Legislative Council, the bill being lost in conse- 
quence. Then the Governor-General was asked to send the 
heads of impeachment with an address to the Prince 
R^ent, and meanwhile to suspend the judges. Prevost 
refused to suspend them, commenting upon the fact that 
the accusations came from one branch of the Legislature 
only, but promised to forward the charges ; and in June 
Sewell sailed for England to answer his accusers, receiving 
before he left addresses of confidence from the Executive 
Council, from the Legislative Council, from seigniors, land- 
owners, and merchants of Quebec and the neighbomrhood, 
who resented the attack on the man, interference with 
judicial independence, and the daim of the Assembly to 
dominate all public life in Lower Canada. Meanwhile the 
Provincial Parliament was dissolved, and a new Assembly 
was dected, but the Legislature did not meet again until 
January, 1815. That the Legislature could have devoted 
their time and their attention to these unworthy squabbles 

158 THE WAR OF 1812 

may be taken as evidence that the doud of war did not 
hang heavily over Quebec. 
Meting More harmonious were the proceedings in the Legislature 
L^iOa- of Upper Canada which met at York on February 15, and 
upp^^ ^^'^^ prorogued on March 14. Acts were passed to suspend 
Caaada. for the time the Habeas Corpus Act, to amend the Militia 
Act, to improve the roads of the province, and to deal more 
effectually with traitors and their property. It will be 
rememb^:ed tbat the Parliament buildings had been burnt 
down, and Dnunmond asked the Imperial government fof 
authority to spend ;Cxo,ooo upon new buildings, including 
a residence for the Lieutenant-Governor. In the meantime 
he made Kingston his principal place of resid^ice. The 
printing-press, too, had been destroyed, and this loss was 
temporarily made good by buying an old press from the 
American town of Ogdensburg. Drummond reported 
well of the loyalty of the great majority of the residents 
in Upper Canada. Those who were disafier^ied were, he 
stated, mainly settlers who had come in from the United 
States. Two members of the Legislature had become open 
traitors, and their seats were declared vacant by the 

General Wilkinson, as has been told, in February, 1814, 

broke up his cantonments on the Salmon river and re* 

treated to Plattsburg on Lake Champlain. In the middle 

wukinson of March he b^gan a forward movement due north up the 

onCan^^a 1^6» along the route that Dearborn in i8i2, and Hampton 

chMi'*^* in 1813, had each tried in half-hearted fashion, in either 

plain. case retracing their steps. Marching up the west side of the 

lake to the village of Chazy, at that point he threw a body 

of men across the lake, who penetrated a few miles over the 

Hue into Canada, and then recrossed and rejoined the 

main force which had now reached Champlain village just 

south of the boundary line. From Champlain, on March 

30, Wilkinson, with about 4,000 men, advanced into 

Canada. At a distance of eight miles from Champlain, 

with the village of Odelltown intervening, is the Lacolle 

river, a tributary of the Richelieu. About three-quarters 

THE WAR OF i8ia 159 

of a mile from its junction with the Richelieu, and on its 
southern bank, stood a mill, distant three miles from 
Odelltown on the south, and seven miles from the Isle aux 
Noix lower down the Richelieu on the north, while two The 
miles up the LacoUe river to the west was a Kttle village uS^^"* 
named Burtonville, through which the main northern road m^ 
ran. The mill was a strong stone structure and had been 
converted into a fort. It was connected with the northern 
bank of the Lacolle river by a wooden bridge, and on the 
northern bank was a dwelling-house, which had also been 
temporarily converted into a blockhouse, and behind 
which there was a bam. The buildings on both sides of 
the river stood in a small clearing surrounded by thick 
woods. The mill was held by rather under 200 men, com- 
manded by Major Handcock of the 13th regiment. The 
garrison included a company of his own regiment, a party 
of the marine corps, and another party of frontier light 
infantry. Two companies of Canadian troops were at 
Burtonville, and at the Isle aux Noix there was a stronger 
force of regulars and marines. 

Starting on the morning of the 30th from Champlain, 
Wilkinson's force by mistake took the road to Burtonville. 
After encountering a picket near that place they turned 
back for a short distance, and at or near Odelltown struck 
the road which led to the mill. That road had been broken 
up and obstructed ; there was a skirmish with an advance 
picket ; and the result was that the force did not come 
within reach of the mill until between one and two in the 
day, after Handcock had had ample notice of their ad- 
vance, and been given time to prepare for defence and to 
send for reinforcements. Wilkinson, on arriving before 
the mill, threw a detachment of some 600 men across the 
river in order to cut off the retreat of the garrison ; and 
then, after a heavy gun which was being brought up had 
broken down, he opened fire upon the mill at about 
300 yards' distance with three lighter pieces of artillery. 
Shortly after the action had begun, two companies of the 
13th came up from the Isle aux Noix and reached the block-- 


i6o THE WAR OF 1812 

house on the north bank of the river. Handcock ordered 
them to cross the river and charge the guns» which they 
did, but were driven back by superior numbers. Sopn 
afterwards the Canadians from Burtonville joined these 
two companies, and a second charge was ordered. It was 
nearly successful, the Americans being for the time driven 
from the guns, but the fire was too heavy for the English, 
and again they were compelled to fall back. The defen* 
ders of the mill and the blockhouse then bardy hdd their 
posts, with the ammunition neariy run out, but were sup- 
ported to some extent by gunboal^ which had come up the 
The Richelieu and opened fire on the Americans from the 
^^" mouth of the Lacolle river. Eventually, as evening drew 
retreat, on, the Americans, tired out with the marching and fight* 
ing, fell back, and retreated during the ni^t to Oddltown, 
from which place the retreat was continued to Champlain, 
and ultimatdy to Plattsburg. The British casualties had 
been upwards of sixty ; the American casualties, according 
to British accounts, were more than double that niunber. 
For the third time invasion up the line of Lake Champlain 
had failed, and Wilkinson was now added to the compara- 
tivdy long list of American commanders who were super- 
seded in the course of the war. He was tried before a 
court-martial, but acquitted. 

To both sides alike, command of the inland waters was 

essential for success in the war, as the previous campaign 

had abundantly proved ; and on dther side shipbuilding 

Abortive for the purpose was activdy carried on. For service on 

^^^ Lake Champlain, the Americans during the winter built 

mont OQ ships at Vergennes in the state of Vermont, eight miles up 

Cham- a- stream called Otter Creek, which runs into the lake south 

plain. Qf Bmrlington. After Wilkinson's repulse at LacoUe Mill 

the Americans established a battery at the mouth of Otter 

Creek, to protect the little naval d^pdt higher up the river ; 

and in May, when the navigation of the lake was free from 

ice, the British flotilla from the Isle aux Noix came up the 

RicheUeu and into the lake to make an attempt on Otter 

Creek. It came to nothing. Shotswere exchanged with the 

THE WAR OF 1812 161 

battery, the inhabitants of Bailington were alarmed by the 
passing ships, but Pring, who commanded them, had no 
land forces in convoy, and was not strong enough to make 
any impression on the enemy. In the light of subsequent 
events, Prevost was justly or unjustly blamed for not mak- 
ing a more serious attempt to destroy the American forts 
and ships, and for leaving the American commander, 
Macdonough, to strengthen his squadron with the new 
vessels which had been built during the winter* 

In Upper Canada Drummond was more on the alert. 
Before January ended, he had submitted to Prevost a plan 
for destroying the American ascendancy on Lake Erie by 
an expedition against Detroit, with a view to taking that 
place and the fleet which was waiting there* The enter- 
prise, we read, was given up owing to the mildness of the 
season, which favoured the side possessing the means of 
transport by water, of which the English were destitute on 
Lake Erie ; and in consequence the shores of Upper Canada 
on that lake were left open to raiding expeditions from 
Presque Isle. One of these, under a Colonel Campbell, 
obtained an unenviable notoriety* Crossing the lake, 
Campbell with 500 men landed near Long Pdnt on 
May 14, and on the following day plundered and then 
burnt to the ground the village of Port Dover and the mills, Americao 
stores, and dwelling-houses in the neighbourhood. The port 
conduct of Campbell and his men, wrote Drummond to i>ov»* 
Prevost, * has been disgraced during their short stay ashore 
by every act of barbarity and of illiberal and unjustifiable 
outrage/ Representations having been made by the 
British authorities, Campbell was tried by court-martial ; 
the destruction of the stores and mills was held to be justi- 
fied» but the American officers who formed the court found 
that Campbell had erred in burning the dwelling-houses, 
which was not to be excused by the fact allied on Camp- 
bell's behalf, that some of the inhabitants of Port Dover 
had been present at the burning of Buffalo. Itwasasome- 
what inadequate trial, but in this frontier war raiding and 
excesses were only too common, and either side found 


z62 THE WAR OF i8xa 

some colourable excuse when charged with causing wanton 
Fightittf damage. Along the line of the Thames, also, American 
Une oi tha fsdders had been active. Th^ had suffered a reverse at 
Thames. Chatham in December 18x3, when a party of disembodied 
Canadian militia attacked a slightly superior number of 
Americans, and took nearly the whole of them prisoners. 
On the other hand, in the following March a more serious 
encounter between larger numbers, when a mixed body of 
regulan and militia under an officer of the 89th regiment, 
Captain Basden, attacked an entrenched position between 
London and Moraviantown, ended in the repulse of the 
British with the loss of sixty-five men. Drummond had 
a very difficult task in trying to protect the large tract of 
country which had been laid bare to invasion by the loss of 
Detroit and the annihilationof Barclay's ships and Procter's 
army, and he had in mind the likelihood of the British line 
on tiie Niagara frontier being turned by a cross-country 
movement directed against Burlington Heights. 

But principally it was necessary to keep open commu- 
nication on Lake Ontario, for provisions were running 
Yeo and short in Upper Canada : and, to secure this end, like Brock 
Drum- before him, Drummond urged on Prevost the necessity of 
^ making a strong effort to destroy the American n»val 
Oiwega (]^p(^t at Sackett's Harbour. He made his proposal 
towards the end of April, while Yeo, who had completed 
the building of two new ships, was superior in strength 
to Chauncey, and he stated that he would require a 
force of 4,000 men, which would entail a reinforcement of 
1,000 regulars from Lower Canada. This number Prevost 
could not spare, and Drummond then turned his attention 
to the reduction of Osw^o. Osw^o, which had played 
a great part in the wars between the French and the 
English, and even in the War of Independence, as being 
the outlet on Lake Ontario of the water route from the 
Hudson vid the Mohawk river, was not so important in this 
later war, inasmuch as in the intervening years roads had 
been opened up from and to other points in the state of 
New York. Still it was, next to Sackett's Harbour, and 

THE WAR OF 1812 163 

after the taking of Fort Niagara, the principal American 
post on Lake Ontario. When Montcalm took Osw^o in 
1756, there had been forts on either side of the Osw^o 
river, where it runs into the lake. The older fort or block- 
house, with the trading station, stood on the western bank, 
and a later fort had been built on the eastern side of the 
river. In 1814 the fort stood on the high ground on the 
eastern bank, about fifty feet above the level of the lake, 
and the village was on the other side of the river. Yeo 
reported that it was the most formidable position he had 
seen, as he phrased it, in Upper Canada. Yeo and Drum- 
mond, who saw eye to ^e and heartily co-operated with 
each other, on May 3 embarked over a thousand troops at 
Kingston, Yeo*s two new vessek adding strength to the 
fleet. The expedition included six companies of the 
Watteville rc^;iment, the light company of the Glengarries, 
a battalion of marines, and some artillery. They started 
on the 4th, but, the winds being variable, did not arrive 
off Osw^o until noon on the 5th. A reconnaissance in 
force was made by a body of men in boats, who went in 
dose to the shore and drew the enemy's fire, the American 
accounts being to the effect that an actual attack was 
made but beaten off. The real attack was intended to be 
made on that same evening, but a gale sprang up, and 
after the men had been taken back on board ship, some of 
the boats fell adrift and were lost. It was not until the 
morning of the following day, the 6th, that a landing was 
effected. Nearly 800 men were landed, mainly marines 
and seamen, with the Glengarries and some of tiie Watte- 
ville regiment, the landing being covered by the ships, 
which were exposed to heavy fire from the American bat- 
teries. It was a difficult and dangerous enterprise, owing 
to the commanding position hdd by the defenders of the 
fort on high ground with adjoining woods ; and, in conse- 
quence, the British casualties were severe, amounting to 
about one hundred. Among the wounded was Captain 
Mulcaster, the good sailor who had followed Wilkinson's 
flotilla down to Chrystler's Farm, and who now led the 200 


— i<xi 

164 THE WAR OF i8i2 

seamen who joined in the assault. The Glengarries cleared 
the woods, the main body charged up the hill and rushed 
the forty and in ten minutes from the time when the crest 
of the hill was gained the fort was taken. The Americans, 
who numbered about 500, hardly suffered as much as the 
British, and retreated up the O^^o river, some of the 
stores having already been moved up that river to the 
rapids known as the Osw^o or Onondaga falls, thirteen 
miles distant from Oswego. The rest of the stores and 
several large guns fell into British hands ; and having put 
on board ship whatever could be carried off, having dis- 
mantled the fort and burnt the barracks, early on the 
morning of the 7th Drummond and Yeo set sail for 

Before May ended, this success was followed by a some- 
what serious reverse. Guns and naval stores were col- 
lected at Osw^o falls, much needed for Chauncey's fleet 
at Sackett's Harbomr, and the Americans watched their 
opportunity to bring them down the river and along the 
lake without being intercepted by Yeo's blockading 
British squadron. On Ifay 28 nineteen boats were brought down 
^dy^ ^^ to Osw^o loaded with guns and stores, and an escort 
Creok. was placed on board of 150 riflemen. The boats started 
that night and, moving east along the lake, all but one 
reached the mouth of the Big Salmon river at sunrise on 
the 29th. There an Indian escort accompanied them on 
the shore, and at noon on the 29th they reached Sandy 
Creek, about sixteen miles from Sackett's Harbour. The 
boats were taken about two miles up the creek, but they 
had been seen by the English, and on the morning of the 
30th two gunboats, with smaller boats, followed them up. 
The smaller boats carried about 200 sailors and marines, 
who were landed in two parties, one on either side of the 
credc. The American riflemen and Indians had been 
placed in ambush about half a mile below where their own 
boats were, and higher up was a reinforcement which had 
been sent from Sackett*s Harbour. Adv^cing up the 
wooded banks in somewhat foolhardy fashion, the English 

THE WAR OF 1812 165 

fell into the ambush, and m a few mmutes the parties on 
either shore, together with the boats which accompanied 
them, were overwhehned, all the men being killed, wounded 
or taken prisoners. 

For the third and for the last time the banks of the 
Niagara river now became the principal scene of the war 
in Canada, and harder fighting was to take place there than 
had as yet been witnessed in the war. It is true that, as 
the months went on, the outlook was brightening for the 
British side. In April the great war on the continent of 
Europe was at length ended for the time. Napoleon was Events in 
exiled to Elba, and Louis XVIII was restored to the throne q^^' 
of France. In March Wellington had sent Ifarshal Beres- ^ ^^ 
ford to take possession of Bordeaux, and from that port, noiar ~ 
when the end of the war came, a large number of the ^^- 
Peninsular veterans were shipped for America. Sixteen Reinforce- 
thousand men reached Canada in July and August, but Sent to 
not in time to take part in the battles of Chippawa and Canada. 
Lundy's Lane ; and in the earlier months of the year only 
one regiment reinforced the army in Canada. This was 
the second battalion of the 8th or King's regiment, which 
had been stationed in New Brunswick, and which, like the 
104th regiment in the previous year, made a winter march 
in February from Fr^ericton to Quebec. In its place, 
a newly levied local regiment, known as the New Bruns-^ 
wick Fendbles, garrisoned that province. A party of 200 
picked seamen for service on the lakes came up about the 
same time and by the same route, and then there was a lull 
in reinforcements until June, when Prevost reported the 
arrival of more officers and seamen, of artillery, of the i6th 
regiment from Ireland, of which regiment he had in Febru- 
ary been made colond, and, towards the end of the month, 
of the 90th regiment from the West Indies. Before June 
ended, the first detachment of Peninsular troops, consisting 
of the 6th and 82nd regiments, were in the St. Lawrence. 
At the beginning of that same month another corps from 
Wellington's army sailed from the Gironde for Bermuda, 
to co-operate with the fleet which was blockading the 

i66 THE WAR OF 1812 

Atlantic coast of the United States. On the other hand, 
the result of two campaigns had been to harden the Ameri- 
cans into trained soldiers, while the more incapable leaders 
had gradually been eliminated. The growing strength of 
the British army in Canada was therefore neutralized by 
the better quality of the men opposed to them, and the 
British forces were less successful in the last months of 
this war than in its earlier stages, when the numerical odds 
were overwhelmingly against Canada and its defenders. 
The war Wilkinson had been succeeded in the conunand of the 
Nia^^ American army on the Canadian frontier by Major-General 
froatter. Jacob Brown. Brown had been in charge of Sackett's 
Ameri- Harbour when Prevost made his abortive attack upon that 
numded^ place at the end of liay, 1813, and he had commanded the 
by Jacob vauguard of Wilkinson's expedition down the St. Lawrence, 
^*'"** carrying out his part of the operations without any mishap. 
When in February, 1814, Wilkinson's cantonments on the 
Salmon river were broken up, Brown, with part of the 
force, was sent to Sackett's Harbour, and after the afi^dr 
of LacoUe Mill and Wilkinson's consequent supersession he 
was chosen to command the army. At Sackett's Harbour 
Brown received somewhat ambiguous orders from Arm- 
strong, the Secretary of War, leaving him uncertain as to 
whether Kingston or the Niagara frontier was to be the 
first object of the coming campaign. He marched towards 
Niagara round the lake, then retraced his steps, and 
when it was dear that at Niagara the real effort was to be 
made, marched off again. He himself was at Sackett's 
Harbour early in May, but his force was being gathered on 
the Niagara river, with their head quarters at Buffalo, and 
there they were carefully drilled and trained through the 
early summer with a view to the coming campaign. Mean- 
while Chauncey completed his preparations at Sackett's 
Harbour, and added a new ship to his squadron, with the 
result that at the beginning of June his adversary Yeo felt 
himself no longer strong enough to continue to act on the 
offensive, and the Americans to some extent regained the 
ascendancy on Lake Ontario. 

THE WAR OF 1812 167 

Dnunmond had long foreseen that in the coming cam- 
paign the main strain of war would be on the Niagara 
frontier, but Prevost did not share this opinion. More- 
over, as at the beginning of the war, the latter attempted Prevost 
to patch up an armistice, which he hoped might last until ^^^j^^ 
the negotiations proceeding in Europe bore the fruits of 2^^^°^ 
peace. In May he sent his Adjutant-General, Ba3mes, who 
had acted as n^otiator in the early da3rs of the war, to 
Champlain to treat with an agent of the United States, 
but the proceedings came to nothing, and were reprobated 
alike by Drummond and Yeo and by the Home govern- 
ment. Drummond meanwhile busied himself with making 
the best dispositions that could be made with inadequate 
resources, for the defence of the line of the Niagara. 

Want of provisions troubled him, for the peninsula of Dram- 
Ontario had long been harried by war. Owing to the^"^'' 
difficulty of procuring supplies, de Rottenburg, while cnities. 
administering the govenunent of Upper Canada, had pro- 
claimed martial law for this particular purpose. His 
action in doing so had been censured by the Assembly as 
unconstitutional, and Drmnmond at first revoked the pro- 
clamation ; but in April, 1814, he wrote home that, unpopu- 
lar as the measure was, he had been forced to recur to it. 
Want of men, too, sordy troubled him, not only to check 
the depredations of American raiding parties, but also to 
prevent the hne of defences on the Niagara river from 
being turned, the commtmications cut, and Burlington 
Heights assailed by a force marching either from Detroit 
or from some point on Lake Erie. It was no longer merely 
a question of holding the bank of the Niagara river against 
a frontal attack, and if necessary falling back on Burling- 
ton in comparative security. The right flank was exposed 
to an enemy who held Detroit and could advance by the 
line of Procter's retreat, and who entirely commanded 
Lake Erie, and could land on any point upon the Canadian 
shore. With Chauncey superior in strength to Yeo on 
Lake Ontario, a combined attack could be made from both 
lakes, with the prospect of intercepting and crushing the 

i68 THE WAR OF 1812 

small army which covered the peninsula between them. 
Nor were the posts on the Niagara river strong or stroni^y 
hdd. There had been time to strengthen them» but the 
men and the material were wanting. It is true that the 
English had the great advantage of possessing Fort 
Niagara on the American side of the river, and the position 
at Fort George had been rendered more defensible by con- 
structing a battery lower down on Missassauga Point at the 
outlet of the river into Lake Ontario ; but the defences of 
Fort Geoiige itself were, it would seem, wholly inadequate, 
and so were those of Fort Erie, over against Bufialo where 
the American army was gathered. At Burlington again, 
all important to hold as a rallying point in case of retreat 
from Niagara, Colonel Hercules Scott of the losrd rc^- 
ment, who was in command of that post, at the beginning 
of June reported that the works were in a wretched state 
for purposes of defence. Dnunmond, who had Harvey by 
his side as Deputy Adjutant-General, resolved not to con* 
centrate his forces, but to cover as much ground as possible. 
Late in June Fort Niagara was garrisoned by between 700 
and 800 men. At Fort George and its outposts there were 
about 1,000 ; at Queenston rather under 300 ; at Chip- 
pawa and its outposts nearly 500 ; at Fort Erie about 
150 ; at or near Long Point on Lake Erie under 300 ; and 
at Burlington between 400 and 500 ; while York was 
garrisoned by over 1,000 men. The whole was under the 
command of Major-General Riall in Drmnmond's absence 
at Kingston, Riall's head quarters being at Fort George. 

At the end of June General Brown had under his com- 
mand, available for the invasion of Canada, between 4,000 
and 5,000 men. There was a corps of artillery, two brigades 
of regular infantry conmianded by Brigadier-Generals 
Winfidd Scott and Ripley, and a brigade of militia and 
volunteers from New York and Pennsylvania conunanded 
by General Porter, with whom there was also a body of 
Indians belonging to those of the Six Nation Indians who 
kept their old homes in the state of New York. On July a 
Brown issued a general order for crossing the river and 

THE WAR OF 1812 169 

entering Canada. Early on the morning of July 3 Scott's The 
brigade was carried across the river about a mile below ^^' 
Fort Erie» and Ripley's men landed about the same dis- cip« the 
tance above the fort. The fort was then invested, a bat- rh^^^ 
tery being erected in a position to command its works ; f^J^ 
a few shots were exchanged, and at five o'clock in the 
afternoon the garrison surrendered, to the number of 137 
according to General Brown's official return. Drummond 
wrote subsequently that he had hoped the fort would in 
any case hold the enemy in check for some days, and it is 
not explained why the defenders made httle or no resis- 
tance, or why, if the defences were untenable, the position 
was garrisoned at all. As it was, the Americans gained 
a great advantage by taking the post without loss on the 
first day of the campaign, and the English were to find to 
their cost at a later date how strong it could be made and 
how long it could be hdd. On the following morning 
Scott's brigade advanced north along the bank of the 
Niagara river as far as a stream called Street's Creek, about They ad- 
two miles short of Chippawa, having skirmished with and ^^>^ 
driven back part of the British force from Chippawa which Creek, 
had moved out to reconnoitre. Late in the evening of the 
same day the whole American army, excepting the volun- 
teers and Indians under General Porter's immediate com- 
mand who came up on the following morning, was en- 
camped at Street's Creek. The bridge over the creek, 
which had been broken by the retreating British troops, 
had been repaired, and the Americans hdd both sides of 
the stream, the major part of the force remaining on the 
southern side, the side removed from Chippawa. 

When on the morning of the 3rd, Riall heard that the^^eoi 
Americans had crossed into Canada, he ordered up five^^ 
companies of the Royal Scots from Queenston and Fort 
George to reinforce the troops who were holding the Chip- 
pawa position. He then waited for a further reinforce- 
ment of between 400 and 500 men of the 8th or King's 
regiment, who were on their way from York to the Niagara 
frontier. When they had arrived, on the morning of Julys, 

170 THE WAR OF 1812 

he determined to attack the Americans at Street's Creek 
without further delay. It was a somewhat rash proceed- 
ing. He had with Um i>S00 r^[ulafs> consisting of three 
rq;iments of the line : the ist» or Royal Scots, the 8th, and 
the looth; asquadron of dragoons ; and a detachment of 
artillery. There were also present some 300 militia and 
much the same number of Indians. Riall, in his report on 
the battle, estimated the number of the Americans from 
information received from prisoners at 6,000, with a strong 
force of artillery ; but probably the actual number did not 
exceed between 4,000 and 5,000 men. The British posi- 
tion at Chippawa was on the left or northern bank of the 
Chippawa stream, which was therefore crossed by RiaU's 
men when th^ advanced to the attack. The scene of the 
battle of Street's Creek, or Chippawa, both titles being 
used, was the plain between the two streams which bear 
those names. The battle-field was such as was common in 
this war, the fighting ground being flanked by the Niagara 
river on one side, by woods on the other. The American 
right rested on bufldings and orchards standing on the 
river bank, in front of the main line there was a ravine, and 
the left touched the woods. It was a strong position, 
selected by Winfidd Scott, whose brigade, with the bulk 
of the artillery, formed the main fighting line. Ripley's 
brigade was in reserve on the left of Scott's force, and on 
the left too, in the outskirts of the woods. Porter's miUtia 
and Indians were ordered to advance, and, according to 
Brown's account, having begun the engagement, to fall 
back and bring their adversaries under fijre from the 
American regulars and artillery. Riall on his side had 
also, at four o'clock in the afternoon, ordered the miUtia and 
Indians to move forward on the right and skirt the woods. 
They became engaged with Porter's men, and the light 
companies of the Royal Scots being brought up in support, 
the American riflemen broke and fled in every direction. 
Brown then ordered Scott's brigade and the artillery to 
advance, and against them Riall hurled his infantry, sup- 
ported by two or three light guns. The brunt of the fight- 

THE WAR OF 1812 171 

ing fell upon the Royal Scots and the looth r^;ixnent, who 
charged with great determination, but could make no 
serious impression upon superior numbers, backed by 
artillery which was well posted and used. * The enemy 
deployed into line/ wrote Dnunmond, in sending Riall*s Defeat 
report on the battle, * and withstood our attacks with the b^^ 
greatest steadiness/ The American infantry, in fact, was ^om 
of very different calibre from the men who fought atj^J^ 
Queenston and in the early engagements of the war. 
Better trained, better handled and led, they were not to be 
routed by a smaller number of British troops of the line. 
Ripl^'s force followed up Scott's brigade, keeping the 
latter's left flank secure against any turning movement ; 
and, many British soldiers having fallen, Riall drew off his 
men, and under cover of the 8th regiment, the third infan- 
try battalion engaged on the British side, the whole force 
retreated into the lines at Chippawa. The battle cost the 
British army 500 men — heavier casualties than the Ameri- 
cans suffered, and far heavier than could be afforded. The 
men fought well, very few were taken prisoners, and the 
retreat was creditably conducted. Colonel Hercules Scott 
who at the time of the battle was at Burlington Heights, 
and who appears to have had a poor opinion of his superior 
officers, wrote to his brother a month later : * This action 
was ill advised, and the movements ill executed.' Drum-> 
mond's view, on the contrary, was that nothing but the 
superior numbers of the enemy could have prevented the 
attack from being a complete success. In Riall's defence it 
should be said that all the previous record of the war 
pointed to the advisability of taking the offensive on the 
British side against numerical odds ; in fact, a new feature 
had been introduced in the better quality of the American 

On the day after the battle Brown wrote to the Secretary 
of War that, after arranging for the transport of the 
wounded to Buffalo, he would continue his advance, and 
was confident of breaking down all opposition between his 
army and Lake Ontario, where he hoped to meet Chaun- 

liz THE WAR OF 1812 

RiaU cey*s fleet. In two dzy^ time he turned Riall's position 
to^oit ^^ Chippawa by crossing the Chippawa river above the 
George, village. Riall accordingly fell back on Fort Geoige, aban* 
doning both Chippawa and Queenstoni and on July 9 the 
Americans were reported to be at the village of St. David's. 
On the 14th Riall had retreated to Twenty Kile Creek and 
joined hands with the Burlington force, British garrisons 
being maintained at Fort Geoige and Missassauga, and at 
Fort Niagara on the otherside of the river. These forts were 
placed in charge of Lieutenant-Colond Tucker, of the 41st 
r^;iment, who was instructed to hold them to the last 
extremity ; but, as in the case of Fort Erie, their defences 
did not warrant hope of prolonged resistance, and moreover 
RiaU reported gross neglect on the part of the Commissary 
of Ordnance, who had not laid in a sufficient supply of am- 
munition. There now followed an interval of a fortnight^ 
during which the two forces watched each other's move- 
ments, while skirmi^ers and outposts raided and fought 

Channcey with varying success. Brown's object was to overpower 
^^^^^ the British forts and reach Lake Ontario, in order to join 
^th hands with Chaunc^ : but Chauncey, in the meantime, 
remained inactive at Sackett's Harbour, partly through 
his own sickness, partly because he had another new ship 
on the stocks, and also, it was evident, through jealousy of 
Brown. Writing later to Brown in defence of his conduct, 
he repudiated in high-flown terms the idea that his fleet was 
to be a convenience for canying provisions and stores to 
the army — * an agreeable appendage to attend its marches 
and counter-marches '. * The Secretary of the Navy,' he 
continued, * has honoured us with a higher destiny ; we 
are intended to seek and to fight the enemy's fleet. This 
is the great purpose of the government in creating this 
fleet, and I shall not be diverted in my efforts to effectuate 
it by any sinister attempt to render us subordinate to, or 
an appendage of, the army.' The net result was that he 
did not leave Sackett's Harbour and make his way up the 
lake till August i, by which time Brown had fellen back, 
the battle of Lundy's Lane had been fought, and the oppor* 

THE WAR OF 1812 173 

tunity for co-operation between fleet and army had passed 
away. Riall on his side was jealously guarding the com* 
munications with Burlington and at the same time holding 
his force in readiness to attack the flank of Brown's army, 
if the latter were to press the British garrisons too hardly ; 
while General Drummond was still at Kingston, hurrying 
up reinforcements, calling out the miUtia, and attendixig to 
the case of Canadian traitors who had been taken in the Caoadian 
afiEair at Chatham in the previous December, and were hung, 
tried at Ancaster near Burlington for high treason, with 
the result that eight of them were hanged. 

It was necessary to make an example. Willcocks and 
his band of ren^ade Canadian settlers were with Brown's 
army, conspicuous in making the loydl settlers pay penalty 
for holding to their allegiance by harrying their farms and ^ ^^' 
homes. A similar case to the destruction of Newark David's.' 
occurred about this time. On the night of July 12 a 
British patrol under Major Evans of the 8th had a skirmish 
with an American party, resulting in the death of an 
American militia officer, Brigadier-General Swift. The 
brigade order issued by General Porter, who commanded 
the American militia, stated that Swift * was assassinated 
by one of the prisoners, who, after bagging for and receiv* 
ing quarter, shot him through the breast '. There does 
not seem to have been evidence to support this statement. 
Swift's death having probably been an ordinary incident 
in a confused struggle between outposts at night time ; 
but the occurrence was supposed to have exasperated the 
Americans, and contributed to the burning of the village 
of St. David's, which took place on July 19. There had 
been a considerable amount of skirmishing in the neigh- 
bourhood on the previous day, and on the 19th a detach* 
ment of American militia under a Colonel Stone burnt to 
the ground this * Tory village ', as they styled it, consisting 
of thirty or forty houses, one of the principal sufferers from 
the outrage being Major David Secord, whose name it bore, 
and who was a man of note in the ranks of the Canadian 
Loyalists. Stone's action, however, was promptiy dis- 

174 THE WAR OF 1812 

avowed by Brown, and on the same day on which he burnt 

the village he was dismissed from the American army. 

On July 15 General Porter and his brigade were sent by 

The Brown to reconnoitre Forts George and Missassauga. They 

ci^, ' passed right round the forts and reached Lake Ontario. 

'^^*.L As they returned, Tucker moved out and skirmi^ed with 

noitre the 

British their rear-guard, which was supported by Ripley's brigade. 
^^^"^ On the 20th Brown advanced slowly from Queenston 
against Fort George, General Scott leading the van. A 
position was taken up which threatened the fort, and part 
of the American force was thrown across the river, as 
though to open fire upon it from the opposite bank. 
Queenston Heights were left unoccupied, and Riall, who 
on the 19th had moved up to St. Cathaiiae^s or Twelve 
Mile Credc, sent some of the militia to occupy Queenston 
in the rear of the American army. Brown apparently 
wished to bring on a general engagement, but failing to do 
so, on the 22nd retreated again to Queenston, driving out 
the few British and Canadian troops who were there. 
On the following day, having received dispatches from 
Sackett's Harbour, and learned that there was no hope of 
co-operation from Chauncey, he determined on a further 
retreat, and on the night of the 24th, or the morning of the 
Brown 25th, was again encamped on the Chippawa. Disap* 
toCi^^ pomted in his first plan of campaign through the absence 
pawawith of the fleet, he formed a new scheme, and resolved, after 
^i]^^|[^ drawing provisions from Fort Schlosser on the American 
^J^^' side of the Niagara river, and disencumbering his force of 
their heavy baggage, to march diagonally across the coun- 
try and attempt to surprise the all-important British posi- 
tion at Burlington. 
On July 22 Riall reported from Twelve Mile Creek that 
RiaU't he had with him about 1,700 men, including the incor- 
Stio^^ porated militia. The rest of the miUtia which was being 
collected amounted to between 700 and 800 men, and the 
Indians numbered also about 800. He was uneasy as to 
the Indians : a large proportion of them belonged to the 
Six Nations, and Norton, the half-breed or Indianized 

THE WAR OF 1812 175 

Scotchman ^, who had constituted himself their leader, had 
allowed them to receive emissaries from their brethren who 
were fighting on the American side. The right of Riall's 
force extended to the Ten Mile Creek, and he covered the 
roads which led from the Niagara river in the direction of 
Burlington, holding the country in the neighbourhood of 
Beaver dam and the present line of the Welland canal. 
Fitz Gibbon, the hero of the Beaver dam incident, now 
serving with the Glengarry r^;iment, was with Riall's 
force, active as ever in scouting, and knowing by this time 
nearly every yaid of the district in which the armies were 
operating. Assured of Brown's retreat, Riall sent forward HU van- 
about half of his force on the night of the 24th, and early ^^^^ 
in the morning of the 25th th^ took up a position dose to *;?°^y'' 
the junction of the cross-road known as Lundy's Lane with 
the main road which ran parallel to the river from Chip- 
pawa to Queenston, the pomt of junction being immedi- 
ately bdow the faHa of Niagara. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Pearson commanded this advance force, which included 
the Glengarry r^;iment, some men of the 104th, a strong 
body of militia, a troop of dragoons, and a detachment of 
artillery, rather under 1,000 men in all. Their encamp- 
ment at Lundy's Lane was within three miles of the 
American position at Chippawa. 

General Drmnmond, as has been stated, had been de- 
tained at Kingston. On the evening of July 22 he reached 
York, to which place he had brought up the 89th regiment,' 
consisting of 400 effective men under Colonel Morrison, 
who had commanded at the battle of Chrystler's, and the 

* Ab to Norton* see above, p. 49 note. In N<^s on Uppf Canada, 
pnbliflhed at Waahington in January* 18x3, and reprinted by Colonel 
Cmiksbank for the Londy't Lane Historical Society in the Docwmtntary 
History of th$ Campaign on ths Niagara Froniier in 18x3, pt. i, p. 35. 
Norton is spoken of as ' a native white man of the Lower Province, who 
is a tolerable English scholar and well versed in the English language. 
After being patronised by the famous Brandt, he was adopted and made 
a chiet' Norton's services, and those of the Indians under him, were 
acknowledged in a dispatch from Lord Bathurst, dated the 5th of Ifarch, 
1814, and again in a dispatch dated 10 Hay, 1816. 

* Mow the 2ttd UttaUon of the Royal Irish FusUiers. 

176 THE WAR OF i8i4 

flank companies of the 104th regiment under Colond 
Drummond. The Watteville regiment was also on its way 
to the front, but had not yet come up. American accounts 
of the battle of Lundy's Lane speak of the British anny 
present at that fight as having been reinforced by some of 
Wellington's troops, but this was not the case, although the 
arrival of some of the Peninsular veterans in the St. 
Lawrence enabled other troops which had been serving in 
^^^^; Lower Canada to be sent up country. On July 23 Drum* 
plan of mond wrote from York to Riall, and also to Tucker, who 
^^' was in charge of the forts, stating that the 89th and the 
on the flank companies of the 104th would be sent at once across 
^yS^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ Niagara, so as to enable Tucker to take 
action on the American side of the river, and dear the guns 
which the Americans were placing in position at Youngs- 
town just above Fort Niagara, in order to command Fort 
George on the opposite side of the river. Tucker was to 
reinforce his troops at Fort Niagara by drawing men from 
Forts Geoige and Missassauga on the opposite side, being 
mainly men of the 41st regiment. Including the 89th and 
the 104th and two-thirds of the men in garrison, all that 
could be spared without leaving the forts absolutely de- 
nuded, Drununond calculated that Tucker could make a 
sortie with 1,500 men, who would be further supported by 
gunboats on the river. Meanwhile Riall on the Canadian 
side was to make a diversion by advancing against Brown's 
army, but not to risk a general engagement unless the 
Americans brought it on, in which case Tucker in his turn 
was to move to Riall's support. This combined operation 
was to take place at daylight on Monday, July 25. 

On Sunday evening, the 24th, Drummond himself em- 
barked at York for Fort Niagara, and reached the fort at 
daybreak on the 25th. There he learnt from Tucker that 
Riall, as far as could be ascertained and as was actually the 
case, had already begun a forward movement against 
Brown's army. He accordingly ordered Morrison and the 
89th, with detachments of the ist Royal Scots and of the 
8th drawn from the garrisons of Fort George and Missas^ 

THE WAR OF 1812 177 

sauga, to advance along the Canadian bank of the river 
through Queenston towards the falls, in order to support 
Riall, while Tucker was instructed to carry out the original 
movement on the other side of the river but with smaller 
numbers than had been contemplated, 300 men of the 41st, 
200 of the Ro3^ Scots, with some seamen and a body of 
Indians constituting his force. There was some delay in 
canying out this latter part of Drmnmond's scheme, with 
the result that the Americans at Youngstown and Lewis* 
ton had time to retreat up the river, taking with them their 
guns, but leaving at Lewiston tents, stores and provisions, 
which fell into British hands. At Lewiston, Tucker's 
troops were ferried across to Queenston and jomed Mor- 
rison's corps, which had halted at that point, seven miles 
from Fort George and about the same distance from 
Lundy'sLane. The men were fed and rested; most of the 
41st and the looth r^;iments were sent back to hold the 
forts ; and, with the 89th, detachments of the ist and 8th, 
and the light company of the 41st, numbering rather over 
800 in aU, Drummond, about four o'clock in the afternoon, Dram- 
pressed forward towards the falls. On the march hej^^. 
learnt from Riall that Brown's army was advancing in mands 
force ; and, riding up to the head of his coltmm, as it tmtfroin 
neared the point where Lundy's Lane joined the Queenston 1^^^ » 
road, he found Pearson's troops, who, as already told, deter- 
f ormed the van of Riall's army, and had in the early mom- 2^*the 
ing occupied the position at the cross-roads, beginning to poatioii. 
retreat in obedience to RiaU's orders, and the Americans 
within 600 }rards of the position and on the point of occupy^ 
ing it. Drummond inmiediately countermanded the re- 
treat, and drew up his own force and Pearson's in battle 
order. The day was now far spent, and it was nearly six 
o'clock in the evening. 

It seems that Brown, at noon on the same day, had been Move- 
apprised of Tucker's advance along the American bank of Brown^ 
the river. Fearing that the British troops would move «»<* Riatt 
beyond Lewiston and capture Fort Schlosser just above tive^. 
the falls, which was the main d6pdt of the stores and 


178 THE WAR OF i8ia 

baggage of the American anny, he in his turn determined 
to efiEect a diversion by moving forward from Chippawa, 
on the Canadian side, retracing the line of his retreat. He 
sent forward Winfidd Scott's brigade. Scott, on nearing 
the falls, fonnd the enemy in his front, sent back word to 
Brown to that efiEect, and prepared for action. Riall, 
learning of Scott's advance, ordered Pearson to faU back 
towards Queenston, and sent instructions to Hercules Scott, 
who was bringing up the remainder of Riall's army from 
Twelve Mile Creek, also to march upon Queenston instead 
of Lundy's Lane. Such was the position of afiEairs when 
Drummond arrived. RiaU had apparently imagined that 
he was being attacked by the whole American army. 
Winfidd Scott, who had at first imagined that he had the 
whole British army in front of him, subsequently finding 
that this was not the case, began the attack before the 
other brigades of Brown's army came up ; and meanwhile 
Drummond, of whose arrival Winfidd Scott can hardly 
have been aware, had made what hasty preparations could 
be made to hold the ground, and had sent back word to 
Hercules Scott once more to face about and come up to 
Lundy's Lane. 
^e Drummond had with him, in Morrison's and Pearson's 

Lundy's troops Combined, according to his own account, not more 
^'^^ than i,6oo men, and certainly not more than i,8oo. The 
key of the position was rising ground on the inland side of 
the Queenston road. Over the rising ground passed the 
cross-road of Lundy's Lane. On the summit of the hill, 
on the southern side of the cross-road, the side on which 
the Americans were attacking, sUghtly in advance of the 
main line of infantry, Drummond placed his artillery. 
The right, skirted by woods on the high ground and its 
slope, was hdd by the Glengarry r^;iment and a few men 
of the 104th. They were thrown forward in advance, 
forming an angle with the main line of battle, in order to 
secure the right flank against any turning movement. 
Just behind the hill, in the rear of and on the left of the 
artillery, the 89th and detachments of the Royal Scots 

THE WAR OF 1812 179 

and 41st were drawn up to support the guns. Their left 
rested on the Queenston road, and between the road and 
the river were stationed a battalion of incorporated militia 
and a detachment of the 8th. On the road, in rear of the 
infantry, was a squadron of the 19th Light Dragoons. The 
Americans* object was to gain the hill, and for that purpose 
their efiEorts were mainly directed against the British left 
and the left centre. It was a little after six o'clock in the 
evening when Winfidd Scott ordered his men to attack. 
His numbers were smaller than those of Drummond'su 
army, amounting apparently to from 1,200 to 1,400 men. 
The main advance was along the line of the Queenston 
road, but one r^;iment wedged itself in between the ex- 
treme British left and the river, threatening to turn the 
line at that point. For an hour the Americans made little 
or no progress ; the rest of Brown's army then came up 
and reinforced Scott's brigade, part of that brigade being 
replaced in the front line by fresh troops under General 
Ripley. Some 4,000 men were now engaged against 
Drummond's smaller force. The r^;iment nearest the 
river, on the extreme American right and the extreme 
British left, succeeded in turning the British left ; the Cana- 
dian militia and the men of the 8th, who held this end of The 
the line, were forced back, but reformed behind the British j^^"^ 
centre on the inside of the Queenston road, and again turned, 
secured the flank and commanded the road. In the midst 
of the fighting at this point. General RiaU, who had been General 
wounded and was passing to the rear, was intercepted and ^^ 
taken prisoner. priaooer. 

The British artillery still held the hill ; the 89th with the 
detachments of the Royal Scots and 41st still maintained 
their position, behind and covering the guns. General 
Brown saw that the issue of the battle depended on gaining 
the high ground and overpowering the British guns, and 
he ordered one of his officers. Colonel Miller, to take his regi- 
ment and storm the battery. Killer, two years before, in 
the early da}^ of the war, had commanded at the fight at 
Maguaga the force sent out by Hull from Detroit to 


x8o THE WAR OF i8ia 

attempt to reopen his communications with the au Raian 
river. He now proved himself a good fighting man. Though 
another regiment detailed to support him broke and gave 
way, he led his own men up the slope deveily and wdL 

* It happened/ he tells us in his own account of the fight. 

* there was an old rail fence on the side where we ap« 
proached undiscovered by the enemy, with a small growth 
of shrubbery by the fence and within less than two rods of 

The the cannon's mouth.* Moving up by the fence he rested 
c^s * his men under its cover, bade them give a voll^, and then 
th^u ''^^ ^^^ guns. * Not one man at the cannons was left to 
and the put fire to them.' There then ensued vollq^ and bayonet 
^^^ charges by the British infantry attempting to regain the 
put out of guns, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to piece together 
action, yg^f^i actually followed, Drummond reported in his dis- 
patch that the guns remained but for a few minutes in the 
enemy's hands and were quickly recovered. The American 
accounts stated that all the attempts to recover them were 
repulsed, but that they were left behind when the Ameri* 
can army fell back to its camp at the end of the battle. 
Colonel Miller's naive account of what happened is as fol- 
lows : * I forgot to tell you we were unfortunate about our 
artillery at last. After Generals Brown, Scott and others 
were wounded, we were ordered to return back to our 
camp, about three miles, and preparations had not been 
made for taking ofi the cannon. It was impossible for me 
to defend it and make preparations for that too, and it was 
all left upon the ground except one beautiful six-pounder.' 
General Porter wrote four days after the fight : * our vic- 
tory was complete but . . . was converted into a defeat by 
a precipitate retreat, leaving the dead, the wounded, cap- 
tured artillery, and our hard-earned honour to the enemy.' 
The testimony of the British officer, Colonel Hercules Scott, 
was : * In the last they gained possession of five out of 
seven of our guns, but the fire kept upon them was so 
severe that it afterwards appeared they had not been able 
to carry them ofE, for we found them next morning on the 
spot th^ had been taken.' This is no doubt what actually 

THE WAR OF i8i^ l8i 

happened. The Americans gained the guns, which were 
out of action for the rest of the battle^ but the British 
infantry stolidly held their ground, and in the end the guns 
were recovered. 

It was now nine o'clock at night, and darkness had come 
on. There was for a short time a lull in the firing, while 
the Americans were bringing up ammunition and preparing 
for another general attack. Dnunmond*s much enduring 
troops, half of whom, it will be remembered, had marched 
some fourteen miles on that July day before ever the battle 
began, were hard pressed ; but rdnforcements came up, British 
for Hercules Scott and his column of 1,200 men at length ^^S^ 
appeared upon the scene. Many of them were 3^ung sol- come up. 
diers, aU of them were worried and tired out with marching 
and counter-marching through that smnmer day, yet they 
enabled Drummond to prolong the fight. They had been 
under arms since early daybreak ; the start from Twelve 
Mile Creek had been delayed till noon ; when within three 
miles of Lundy's Lane, shortly before the battle began» 
th^ received Riall*s orders bidding them fall back to 
Queenston ; when they had retreated towards Queenston 
for nearly four miles, Drummond's message reached them, 
and once more they turned right about and marched to the 
sound of the guns. Th^ had covered twenty miles in 
marching back and fore, when at length they came stum-> 
bling up in the darkness to their comrades* aid. They 
included Hercules Scott's own regiment, the 103rd, detach- 
ments of the Royal Scots, of the 8th and of the 104th, and 
about 300 of the sedentary miUtia, with two six-pounder 
guns. Unable in the night rightly to distinguish friend 
from foe, the 103rd and the militia marched into the centre 
of the American army now on the crest of the hill, and fell 
back in confusion, but were rallied by their officers and 
placed in the second line, while others of Scott's column 
were posted on the extreme right, hitherto held by the 
Glengarries, in order to extend the British line in that 
direction, where Drummond feared a flank attack. For 
the better part of three hours the fight went on again with 

i8a THE WAR OF 1812 

no material advantage on either side, until, just before 
midnight, Brown, who like Winfidd Scott had been dis- 
The abled by wounds, order^ Ripley to draw off his men and 
^f^* fall back to the lines at Chippawa. Exhausted, and suffer* 
"^th ^^S especially from want of water, the Americans retreated, 
British and reached their encampment, three miles distant, in the 
bSrti^* early hours of the 26th. The British troops, equally if not 
field. more worn out, rested on the ground where they stood, 
until in three or four hours' time the sun rose again, light- 
ing up the dead, the wounded, the derelict cannon, and the 
unconquered hill. Brown reported in his dispatch that he 
ordered Ripley to return to camp, bringing off the dead, 
the wounded, and the artillery, which he considered an 
easy matter as * the enemy *, according to his account, 
* had entirely ceased to act ' ; that after arrival in camp 
he further ordered him to refresh his troops, and taking 
every man * to put himself on the field of battle as the day 
dawned, and there to meet and beat the enemy if he ap- 
peared \ He complained that his orders were not exe- 
cuted. The dispatch, written at Buffalo on August 7, was 
evidently intended for public consumption. The Ameri- 
can troops can hardly have reached their lines before one 
o'clock in the morning, and it cannot have been seriously 
contemplated that they were to march out again to fight 
at four o'clock. As a matter of fact Ripley made a recon- 
The naissance on the 26th, but retired again, broke the bridge 
amsre- ^^^^ *^® Chippawa river to cover his retreat, destroyed a 
treat to great part of his stores, and fell back towards Fort Erie, 
^^ •• followed up but not seriously molested by some of Drum- 
mond's light troops, cavalry and Indians. He reached 
Fort Erie on the 27th. A court of inquiry was subse- 
quently held into his conduct, and he was honourably 

The battle of Lundy's Lane or Niagara, or, as the Ameri« 
can accounts of the time christened it, the battle of Bridge- 
water, was the hardest fought in Canada during the war 
of 1812. Of the 3,000 men who were in action on the 
British side, 878 were returned as killed^ wounded, missing, 

WAR OF 1812 183 

or priscHieis. The number of the killed was not very large. Review 
84 in all ; the number of the wounded was large, amount- ^^ ^f 
ing to 559, but many of the wounds were slight owing to lady's 
the use of buck-shot by the Americans. General Drum- 
mond was severely wounded, but kept the field. Riall 
was wounded and taken prisoner : Morrison, commanding 
the 89th, was badly wounded ; so was Robinson, command* 
ing the incorporated militia. The 89th had 250 casualties 
among 400 men engaged ; the Royal Scots, who had lost 
nearly 230 men at the battle of Chippawa, suffered a fur« 
ther loss of 170 at Lundy's Lane. Other regiments of the 
line suffered heavy losses, and so did the incorporated 
militia. On the British side one gun was lost and two 
American guns were gained. The American casualties, 
according to their official returns, numbered 854, but this 
is supposed to have been too small an estimate, and it 
seems unlikely that the attacking force should have suf « 
fered less severely than the defenders of the position. 
Drununond estimated the enemy's losses at not less than 
1,500, including several hundreds of prisoners, but this 
statement was no doubt beyond the mark, and it may be 
taken that the losses on the two sides were fairly equal. 
Among the severely wounded on the American side were, 
as already stated, the first and second in command, 
Generals Brown and Winfidd Scott. 

The British had the advantage in position. The Ameri- 
cans, except at the b^[inning of the fight, had the advan- 
tage in numbers, and their troops had not, Uke the majority 
of the British army, been marching through the day. Both 
sides claimed the victory and both sides earned it, for the 
Americans pressed their attacks with the courage and disd^ 
pline of veteran soldiers, in strong contrast to the unsteady, 
spasmodic efforts made earlier in the war. They were 
bravely led and, as far as can be judged, were handled on 
the field in a manner which showed that their commanders 
knew their busmess. * No boast of a great victory,' wrote 
Hercules Scott to his brother, * but in my opinion it was 
nearly equal on both sides \ * General Drummond/ he 

l84 THE WAR OF i8i^ 

continued, ' commanded in the action, but I am sorry to 
say I could not then or now observe the smallest appear- 
ance of generalship.* Scott's views were probably 
coloured by the fact that he had been the victim of con- 
tradictory orders throughout the day. At any rate his 
judgment of Dnunmond cannot be accepted as fair or 
sound. Dnunmond showed that he had the feumlty of 
prompt and bold decision when he counter-ordered Riall's 
retreat, re-occupied the position at Lundy^s Lane, and 
gave battle to the Americans. He disposed his troops well, 
and well he uphdd the fight. The issue justified his action, 
for, inasmuch as the British army kept the field, the Ameri* 
cans retreated, and for the time being their scheme of 

Lundy's invasion was sliattered, it is impossible to dass Lundy^s 

a British 1^3^^ as other than a British victory. 

victory. In a hand-to-hand fight of this kind much depends on 
the subordinate conunanders, and Dnunmond was for- 
tunate in this respect. Harvey, to whose * able and ener- 
getic exertions during this severe contest * he bore full 
testimony, Morrison, and others no doubt contributed 
largely to the stand which was made, and which with less 
efficient officers would probably not have been made. But 
after all it was a soldiers* battle, and, Uke many other 
stricken fidds, Lundy's Lane proved the pricdess stubborn- 
ness and endurance of the British infantry. The troops, we 
read, ' repeatedly, when hard pressed, formed round the 
colours of the 89th regiment, and invariably repulsed the 
attacks made against them,' the Canadian xnilitia standing 
shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers of the line, fighting on 
thdr own soil, to the sound of the waters on their Horse- 
shoe fall. 

The Canadians bore themsdves in the fight manfully 
and well. Drununond wrote warmly of their zeal and 
loyalty and their * conspicuous gallantry '. Immediatdy 
after the battle he disbanded the whole of the sedentary 
militia, and sent them to their farms to look after their 
crops, for starvation in Upper Canada was imminent. 
' The whole produce of the ndghbouring country,' he 

THE WAR OF 1812 185 

vnoie three days before the battle, ' is in the greatest 
danger of being lost '• Keeping the incorporated militia, Dnim- 
and replenishing his small army from the garrisons of the ^^cat 
forts, he moved his head quarters on August i from Niagara ^^^^ 
to a point half-way between Chippawa and Fort Erie, bent 
on dislodging the Americans from Fort Erie and driving 
them across the river. The task was to prove a harder 
one than had been contemplated. On August 2 he ad- 
vanced to the high ground opposite Black Rock, about two Abortive 
miles short of Fort Erie ; and on that night he sent 600 ^^^ 
men under Colonel Tucker across the river to the American Sack 
shore with orders to march under cover of the darkness on Buoao. 
Buffalo and, after taking that place and destroying the 
stores in it, to turn back and attack the American guns 
which were in position at Black Rock. The enterprise 
miscarried. The troops, whose movements had been sus- 
pected by the American officer in command at Black Rock, 
landed below that place on the lower side of a stream called 
the Schojeaquady, or in the accounts of the time the Con* 
jocta or Conquichity Creek, which it was necessary to cross 
in order to march on either Black Rock or Buffalo. The 
Americans had broken the bridge and entrenched them- 
selves behind timber on the Black Rock side. Tucker 
found himself unable to ford the stream, his men became un* 
steady and fell into confusion, and here crossed the Niagara 
river with some thirty casualties, having achieved nothing. 

On August 4 Brigadier-Genertl Gaines arrived at Fort The rfege 
Erie and took over the command of the American army £^|^ 
from Ripley, Brown being still invalided by his wounds. 
On the 5th Chauncey's fleet appeared at the mouth of the 
Niagara river, and intercepted and drove ashore a British 
brig. Chauncey left three of his vessels to watch four 
little British ships which were lying m the river, detached 
by Yeo from his squadron to co-operate with Drummond's 
army; and with the rest of his squadron he sailed off again 
down Lake Ontario to blockade Kingston harbour. Drum- 
mond*s force meanwhile was joined by the Watteville regi- 
ment and by the 4xst, which was moved up to the front 

i86 THE WAR OF 1812 

from the forts, being replaced in garrison by what remained 
of the 89th with the exception of the light company of that 
regiment, and Drummond began drawing his lines against 
Fort Erie. Captain Dobbs, of the Royal Navy, was the 
American senior naval officer of the British vessels which lay ofi Fort 
^^^^ George, and had already won Drummond's confidence by 
taken, active and willing service. He came i^> to the scene of 
action with a party of 70 sailors and marines, the object 
being to attack tliree American schooners which were 
anchored ofi Fort Erie, and materially contributed to its 
defaice. The gig of Dobbs's own ship, the Charwell, was 
carried by sailors from Queenston to Frenchman's Creek 
above the falls, and, five other boats having been procured, 
a further portage was made for eight miles through the 
woods from Drunmiond's position to Lake Erie, the Cana- 
dian militia undertaking the transport of the boats. 
Launching them on Lake Erie, Dobbs, on the night of 
August 12, attacked the three American ships. As in the 
memorable case when Wolfe's flotilla dropped down the 
St. Lawrence prior to the ascent of the Heights of Abra« 
ham, the British boats were in the darkness taken by the 
enemy for provision boats. Two of the American vessels 
were boarded and captured in a few minutes ; the third 
remained untaken, owing to the cables of the attacking 
boats being cut, with the result that they drifted down 
stream. Following on this success, Drummond imme- 
diately opened fire on the fort from his batteries, and or* 
dered a general assault on the early morning of August 15. 
Position The old British Fort Erie stood just where the Niagara 
Erie^flAd ^^^^ flows out of Lake Erie, at about 100 yards from the 
its de- shore. It was a small and weak fort as long as it remained 
in British hands and, as has been seen, offered little or no 
resistance to Brown's invading army. The Americans, as 
soon as they came into possession, set their engineers to 
work, and constructed far more formidable fortifications. 
Enlarging and strengthening the original fort they carried 
earthworks to the water's edge, and by the water they 
erected a stone building, in which they mounted guns; 

THE WAR OF i8ia 187 

calling it the Douglas battery. To the south and in the 
rear of the main fort they carried earthworks parallel with 
the water for nearly half a mile, as far as a sandy mound 
called Snake Hill, which stood where the shore of the open 
lake turned off the west ; and on Snake Hill they plaiced 
another battery called Towson*s redoubt, after the artillery 
officer in command, Captain Towson, who had handled his 
guns with marked ability at Chippawa and Lundy*s Lane. 
This battery, again, was connected with the lake shore by 
a line of palisades, and ditches and abattis fronted the 
whole enclosure from one end to the other. Drummond Dram- 
determined on a night attack in three colunms at three ^^1^^ 
separate points. It was a dangerous decision, for the de- jjgt^ ^ 
fenders probably outnumbered his own men^, and, as three 
Prevost pointed out to him after the event, in night attacks co*««ni. 
* chance and not skiU too frequently decide the contest \ 
The right column, which was the main column, was to 
attack the battery at Snake Hill, breaking into the lines 
between that battery and the lake, at the extreme south-* 
western end of the fortifications. This colunm, which was 
entrusted to Colonel Fisher of the Watteville regiment, 
included most of that regiment, the 8th, the light com- 
panies of the 89th and the looth, and a few men from the 
artillery and cavalry, the whole numbering about 1,300 
men. The centre, which was led by Colonel Drummond 
of Keltie, commanding the Z04th regiment, consisted of 
the flank companies of that regiment and of the 41st, with 
marines, sailors, and a small party of artillerymen. It 
numbered from 200 to 250 men, and its objective was the 
old fort. The left colunm, which was to be directed 
against the Douglas battery, was commanded by Colonel 
Hercules Scott, and was composed mainly of his own r^- 
ment, the 103rd. The numbers of this column amounted 
to about 650. Drummond was thus putting into the fitt- 
ing line about two-thirds of his army, holding in reserve 

^ This seems to have been the case, thoogh in Drammoad's order lor 
the attack it is stated that ' tlie enemy's force does not exceed i.soo fit 
fordnty*. - ^ 

188 THE WAR OF 1812 

the Rojrals, the Glengarries, and the incorporated militia* 
The centre and left columns were not to advance mitil 
Fisher's men were in action and had, as it was hoped» 
penetrated the American lines. That colunm set out in 
the afternoon of the 14th, and marched through the woods 
before dark, halting at nightfoll at a point in the vicinity 
of Snake Hill. About two o'clock in the morning they 
made their attempt. Drummond had advised that, in 
order to secure secrecy, the flints should be taken out of 
the firelocks, except in the case of a reserve of steady sol 
diers, and that the men should rely on the bayonet. They 
were therefore unable to return the American fire, and 
were on equal terms only in hand-to-hand fighting. The 
scaling ladders, too, which they brought with them, proved 
too short to enable them to mount the works at the battery. 
* At half-past two o'clock,' the American General Gaines 
subsequently reported, * the right column of the enemy 
approached, and though enveloped in darkness black as 
his designs and principles, was distinctly heard on the left 
and promptly marked by our musketry and artillery.* 
There was, in short, no surprise. The leading men of the 
attacking column, men of the light companies of the 8th 
and Watteville regiments, made their way inside the en* 
trenchments between the Snake Hill battc^ and the lake» 
some few by breaking through the palisades, the majority 
by wading through the water at the end of the lines, but 
they were not supported, and were compelled to fall back* 
The main body, attacking under heavy fire, was thrown into 
confusion, and the Watteville regiment, in precipitate 
retreat, carried with it the 8th raiment, the company of 
the 89th being the only men who stood their ground. The 
firing at this end of the line having being heard by the 
other colunms, they in turn moved forward to attack. 
The left column, advancing on the Douglas battery, was 
driven back by very heavy artillery fire, and having lost 
their leader, Colond Scott, who was mortally wounded, 
and a large proportion of their numbers, joined the centre 
column, which was fiercely attacking the main fort. Three 

THE WAR OF 1812 189 

times this column was rq>iilsed, A fourth attempt proved 
momentarily successful, and the assailants gained a footing 
in one of the stone bastions, though at the cost of many 
lives, including that of Colonel Drummond. The Ameri-< 
cans used every effort to dislodge them, but in vain, until 
a store of ammunition, which was close to the spot, was 
fired either by accident or of set purpose, resulting in an 
explosion which literally blew to pieces the bastion and 
the fighting men who were holding it. This was the end. 
The remains of the columns were drawn off, and made 
their way back to the camp, supported by the Royals, 
whom General Drummond sent out to cover the retreat. 

It had been a most disastrous night or morning for the I>i8a9- 
British side. Two out of the three commanders of the^oin^of 
three columns had been killed, and the casualties amounted the attack 

and Qfsavy 

to over 900. The zosrd regiment alone lost 370, and was, British 
as an officer of the British army wrote, reduced to a mere ^^••^ 
skeleton* This same correspondent commented on the 
loss of prestige by the Watteville regiment, previously held 
in high estimation. * It marched,* he wrote, * with the 
greatest steadiness and order till within about 300 }rard3 
of the point of attack, when suddenly the Dutdunen 
caught a panic which no exertions of the officers could 
remove.* Drummond himself attributed the failure of 
the operation to * the misconduct of this foreign corps \ 
and desertions from the regiment seem subsequently to 
have been frequent ; but the regiment, which Wellington 
had sent over from Cadiz in the preceding year ^, seems to 
have been as good as others, and if in this one night attack 
it was stampeded, the incident was one which might 
equally have occurred to British soldiers. The fact that 
the men were foreigners may well have accounted for their 
being made scap^oats for the ill-success of the enterprise, 
and Prevost's verdict can be accepted that *Too much 

^ Armstrong* the American Secretary at War, wrote to General 
Wilkinson in September, 1813: ' De Watteville's regiment was made np 
in Spain, is composed of Poles, Germans. Spaniards, and Portuguese, 
and completdy disaffected.' But this account of the regiment from 
the enemy's side must be taken cum grano* 

190 THE WAR OF i8ia 

ibiras required frokn De Watteville's regiment so situated 
and deprived, as I am told they were, of their flints *. 

In spite of what had happened, Drummond held his 
ground before Fort Erie, and constructed batteries nearer 
to the fort than before. His losses were partly made good 
by the arrival on August 24 of the 82nd raiment, 
and on September 2 of the 6th, both regiments from the 
Dram- Peninsular army. But he was in pressing need of stores, 
want of guns and ammunition, and wrote to Yeo, uiging him to 
help from bring up his squadron at the earliest possible moment. 
Yeo, however, remained inactive at Kingston, awaiting 
the building and equipment of a new ship. Both he and 
Chauncey naturally determined their movements very 
laigely by the fact whether at any given time they could 
put on the lake a superior force to the enemy ; but there 
seems to have been ground for the criticism that they were 
more intent on the chances of naval combat than on the 
all-important duty of transport for the armies. * It is by 
the squadron alone that relief can reach us,' wrote Drum- 
mond to Prevost. The high road to Upper Canada was 
not on land but on the water. 

It should be noted that at this stage of the war the 
British naval forces on the lakes had been removed from 
the direct control of the Governor-General. In August, 
1813, Lord Bathurst had writtoi to Prevost to tell him 
that arrangements were being made for two parties of 300 
seamen in each to reinforce the British marine in Canada, 
should their services be required ; and on the following 
January 20, 1814, he wrote again that * it has been de- 
termined still farther to extend the scale of naval exer- 
tions ; and, feeling that to impose upon you the conduct 
of naval operations so much more extended than heretofore 
would be to increase unnecessarily the responsibility of 
your situation, I have thought it expedient with a view to 
your convenience and to the advantage of the PubUc 
service to submit to the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty the necessity of taking charge of all the naval 
establishments on the lakes, and placing the fleets and 

THE WAR OF 1812 191 

dock)rards there on a similar footing with H.M.S. fleets and 
dockyards in other parts of the world '• The Admiralty, 
he added, agreed in this view and were taking steps to 
carry it out, with the result, it must be presumed, that Yeo 
was placed in a more independent position as regards the 
dvil and miUtary authorities than had previously been the 

There was some skirmishing between outposts of the two 
armies in the latter part of August and the early days of 
September, in the course of which Willcocks, the Canadian 
renegade, was killed ; but nothing of importance happened 
for a month after the fight of August 15. At the begin- 
ning of September Brown resumed command of the Ameri- 
can force, and wrote urgently for reinforcements to General 
Izard, who was marching up west from Lake Champlain. 
Meanwhile he was joined by a large number of militia and 
volunteers — as before under General Porter's command. 
The season was wet and unhealthy, and sickness and want 
of provisions induced Drummond to contemplate raising 
the si^e of Fort Erie and retreating on Chippawa, when 
on September 17 Brown ordered a sortie from the fort 
against the British batteries, and a severe fight took Sortie 
place. The batteries were in the middle of the woods, eSc.^^ 
about a mile and a half nearer the fort than the main 
encampment, and about 500 yards distant from the 
American lines. They were three in number, and on the 
day in question were manned by the Watteville regiment 
and some men of the 8th. Early in the afternoon the 
Americans attacked in two colunms. General Porter led 
his men round the British right through the woods and, 
when close to the battery on that side, attacked it in flank 
and rear, being supported by the second colmnn under 
Miller, which advanced towards the centre battery, and 
then wheeling to the left combined with Porter in isolating 
and overwhelming the battery on that side, and the men 
who held it. The movement was successful, the battery 
was taken and the guns destroyed ; an adjoining block- 
bouse was also taken ; and the victorious Americans then 







15a THE WAR OF i8m 

attacked the centre battery, which was also sapported by 

a blockhouse. This position in turn was taken, and an 

advance was being made against the third remaining bat* 

tery, when the British reserves came up from the camp, 

and, driving the whole American force out with the bayonet, 

followed them up almost to the fort, and re-established the 

line. The British losses numbered about 600, the Ameri^ 

cans also lost heavily. General Ripley being wounded. 

Two or three days later Drummond, who had now been 

Dram- joined by the 97th regiment, broke up his encampment, 

nimthe ^^^ ^^ the evening of September 21 began to retreat. 

^^ ^ ^ ^^ ^4^ ^^ ^^ ^ ^^^^ quarters at the Falls of 
Niagara, but his troops were distributed along the line 
of the river, from within three miles of Fort Erie to Lake 
Ontario, the main point of concentration for the advance 
force being Chippawa, and the course of the Chippawa 
river and of its tributary, Lyon's Creek, being patrolled and 
guarded for several miles inland, as a precaution against 
any cross-country movement by the enemy against the 
British communications. On October 6 Drummond wrote 
to Prevost that a laige encampment had been sighted 
on the American side of the Niagara river, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Lewiston over against Queenston. This indi- 
General cated the arrival of General Izard's army, which had come 
joins up from Lake Champlain to Sackett's Harbour, and from 
d^ thence by land and water to the Niagara frontier. Izard's 
over com- first intention had been to besiege Fort Niagara, which fort, 
the^^- ^cco^<lin§ to Drummond's reports, was not in a condition 
cans. to hold out against a heavy bombardment, the defences 
apparently having been sapped by the constant rains. 
After conferring, however, at Lewiston, with Generals 
Brown and Porter, Izard determined to postpone attack- 
ing the forts until he had tried conclusions with Drum- 
mond's army, and his troops were accordingly marched up 
the river, to be carried across and join Brown's force. 
Brown handing over the command to Izard. The Ameri- 
can army now greatly outnumbered the British, and 
Drummond called out the whole of the militia of the sur- 

THE WAR OF i8ia tgj 

Mimdiiig ccrantiy to aM)perate in the defence of the lines on 
the Chippawariver. Fortunately Yeo, having completed his 
new ship, f dt himself strong enough to venture out on the 
lake, and the difficulties which had existed as to supplying 
Drummond with provisions were temporarily removed. 
An appeal from Drummond, however, for the services of 
some marines who were serving on board Yeo*s ships was 
refused on the ground that a naval engagement might be 

Having carried his men over the Niagara river near 
Black Rock on the loth and nth of October, Izard en- 
camped two miles above Fort Erie, and on the morning of 
the 13th he marched down stream with over 6,000 men. 
On the night of the 14th he encamped a Uttle more than Inrd 
two miles short of the British position at Chippawa. J|^^^ 
On the xsth he made a reconnaissance and ascertained ^n^^- 
that the British entrenchments Mrere strongly held : he 
learnt, too, that Chauncey was again shut up in Sackett*s 
Harbour, and wrote that, if he found himself unable to force 
and win a general action, he would bring the campaign to 
a dose and distribute his troops in winter quarters. He 
made, however, one attempt to turn the British right by 
sending a brigade to Lyon's Creek, where at a place called 
Cook's Mills, about twdve miles inland from Chippawa, SUnni^ 
there was, on October 19, a heavy skirmish, in which v«i«^ 

on the British side the Glengarries did good work. On 
the day after the fight the American force fell back, 
and on the 21st, finding that Drummond was not to be 
moved from his entrenchments at Chippawa, Izard with^ 
drew his whole army up-stream, and encamped oppo- 
site Black Rock, preparatory to sending his troops into 
winter quarters. A Uttle later he came to the condusion 
that no advantage was to be gained by holding Fort Erie, 
his own strength being reduced by sending to Sackett's 
Harbour Gencsral Brown with the regular troops under his 
immediate command, and by the disbandment of the 
miUtia, whereas Drummond's army, supported by Yeo, 
was likdy to grow both actually and rdativdy stronger. 


X94 THE WAR OF z8ia 

lard Accordingly the wbdke American army was carried back 
pl^J^^]^ to its own side of the river, and on November 5 the f orti- 
and with- fications at Fort Erie were blown up, and the jdace was 
"^"""^tha l«ft desolate. 

Niagara Both armies had been hampered by sickness and bad 
^^' weather, and both generals had plaj^ a waiting game, 
trying to draw the other on in the hope of finding an oppor- 
tmiity to strike a decisive blow, but the opportunity never 
came. Warned by the losses which he had suffered before 
Fort Erie, convinced that, as actually happened, the 
End of Americans would abandon the fort, Drummond, though 
^^ urged l^ Prevost to make another general attack on the 
fr^*^!? '^' ^^^ thouc^ Yeo's vessels had brou^^t him up rdn- 
forcements from the 90th regiment, and relieved him of 
his sick and ineffective soldiers, refused to run any risk, 
and the sequel justified his caution. With the abandon- 
ment of Fort Erie the war ended on the Niagara frontier, 
the whole Canadian side of the river being cleared of the 
invaders who had so long invested it. Drummond him- 
self was in bad health, suffering from an internal injury, 
and late in October had appUed foe leave to return to 
England; but he retained his command till the fighting was 
over, a brave and vigilant defender of the Canadian border, 
ixard's Isard, during his short term of command, had been con- 
&eatment spicuously careful to prevent any wanton outrages on the 
1^^^ part of his troops. * I cause all that we have occasion to 
dians. take to be paid for,' he wrote to the Secretary of War, 
* and spare no pains to protect the wretched people from 
being plundered.' When his advance corps retreated from 
Cook's Mills, the miUs were left intact, though, as Drum- 
mond wrote, the Americans would have been justified in 
destroying them on public grounds. * I must do him the 
justice to acknowledge,' wrote Drummond, * that, as far 
as I have observed, he has been studiously cautious in 
' abstaining from his burning and plundering system, pro- 
bably admonished by the retaUation inflicted at Washing- 
ton and on the coast.' The conduct of other American 
leaders had not been equally above reproach. Early in 

THE WAR OF i8ia 195 

September, Colonel Talbot, the owner of a settlement on other 
Lake Erie, called after him Port Talbot, reported to the ^T^^ 
Loyal and Patriotic Society, which had been formed at the 
end of 1812 for the rdief of the sufferers from the war 
in Upper Canada, that on August 16, 1814, a body of 
upwards of 100 men, Lidians, and Americans disguised as 
Indians, surprised the settlement and robbed fifty heads 
of families of their horses, clothing, and furniture. In the 
middle of September the settlement was again raided, mills 
burnt, flour destroyed, and sheep lolled* In October a 
plundering expedition on a larger scale took place. On 
the a2nd of that month some 700 mounted men of Ken- 
tucky and Ohio set out from Detroit, under the command 
of Brigadier-General MacArthur, who had been one of the 
leading men in Hull's army at the beginsiog of the war. 
The object of the expedition, as given in MacArthur's Mac- 
rep(M:t, was to ensure the safety of Detroit in the coming ^^^' 
winter by wasting the resources of the adjoining Canadian 
territory. With this view, MacArthur aimed at destroying 
the milk at the head of Lake Ontario and in the vicinity of 
the Grand river, and he contemplated an attack on Bur-^ 
lington itself. His enterprise, no doubt, was further in- 
tended to divert some of Drummond's troops from the 
Niagara frontier. In order to conceal his movements, he 
marched up the American side of Lake St. Clair and the 
St. Clair river. Then crossing that river into Canada, he 
advanced east by south to the Thames, which he struck 
at Moraviantown on October 30. Crossing the Thames, 
he rode still east until he reached the settlement of 
Oxford, 150 miles from Detroit; and on November 5 
he was at Burford, where he learnt that the Canadian 
militia were collecting at Malcolm's Mills, ten miles 
distant. The Grand river was now in his front, and it 
was in flood ; he heard, too, that the American army at 
Fort Erie had abandoned that place and recrossed the 
Niagara. General de Watteville had been sent down by 
Drummond to Burlington, and regulars, including the 
103rd rq^iment, were on the march to meet and, ii 


196 THE WAR OF 1812 

intercept the invaders. MacArthnr accordingly aban* 
doned his intention of attacking Burlington, and after a 
skirmish with the militia at Malcolm's lIQlSy in which, 
according to his own accoont, he took a large number of 
prisoners, he retreated south of his outward march by 
way of the road known as Talbot Street, and along the 
line of the Thames, reaching Detroit again on November 17. 
It was a daring raid, conceived in the spirit in which, in 
the great American Civil War, Sheridan and his horsemen 
laid waste the Shenandoah valley. MacArthur stated in his 
report : * Of private property, no more was destroyed 
than was absolutely necessary for the suppcHrt of the 
troops, for which r^[ular payments or receipts were 
given ' ; but he added, * It is much to be r^[retted that 
there were some partial abuses produced by the unf or-* 
tunate examples presented by the Indians, whose customs 
in war compel them to plunder after victory.* These 
* partial abuses ' were represented in stronger light in a 
general order issued by Prevost on December i, which 
spoke of *the horde of mounted Kentuckians' whose 
course was ' marked by wanton plunder, devastation, and 
indiscriminate pillage '. The raid left a sore memory in 
Canada, but how far MacArthur's proceedings exceeded 
the rules of legitimate warfare it is not possible to deter^ 
mine from the conflicting accounts. 
The Before November brought an end to the campaign, and, 

bv^ffOE- as it proved, an end to the war in Upper Canada, an expedi- 
peditioo. tion had been undertaken in Lower Canada, led by Sir 
George Prevost himself, which proved a disastrous failure 
and permanently discredited the military reputation of the 
Governor-General. He had received instructions from 
home ^ that, when the reinforcements which were being 

^ In his report of the expedition Prevost acknowledged a dispatch 
of June 3, which had given him instmctions ; no copy or draft of this 
dispatch can be foond among the Colonial Office records, but it is quoted 
in the pamphlet published in defence of Prevost by his family in 1823, 
entitled Some Account of the Public Life of the late Lieutenant-General 
Sir G. Preoost, Bart,, ftc, and also in Christie's History of Lower Canada, 
voL ii, p. 248, note. 

THE WAR OF 1812 197 

sent reached him, he was to take the offensive against the 
Americans and attack their territory. On July 12 he 
reported that the troops were beginning to come in, but 
that, until complete ascendancy on Lakes Ontario and 
Champlain had been obtained, he must confine himself to 
<lef ensive measures, and this he expected would continue 
until September. On August 5 he wrote that the last 
two brigades of troops from Bordeaux were approaching 
Quebec, but that it would be impossible to concentrate the 
whole force in the neighbourhood of Montreal before the 
end of the month* The delay, however, he thought, was 
not a serious matter, as the fleets on the lakes would not 
be strong enough ' to co-operate with the divisions of the 
army assembling for the destruction of Sackett*s Harbour 
and the occupation of Plattsburg ' before the middle of 
September. Prevost held the view that the co-operation 
of an adequate squadron on Lake Ontario or Lake Cham- 
plain, as the case might be, was absolutely essential to the 
success of any forward movement. Without the aid and 
protection of the fleets, he wrote, * nothing could be under- Prevost't 
taken affording a reasonable hope of substantial advan- ^^^"^"^ 
tage.' His extreme caution did not commend itself to the 
Home govemmento^fiich had also taken strong exception 
to his efforts tQTdbpen peace negotiations with the Ameri- 
cans ; and in a dispatch dated August 22, which, how- ^ w 
ever, was not received until long after the Plattsburg expe- 
dition had ended in failure. Lord Bathurst told him plainly Criticised 
that he was expected to take action in view of the powerful ^^^ 
reinforcements which had been sent to him, and in view of 
the tajct that the best way to secure naval ascendancy on 
the lakes was to attack the enemy's naval establishments. 
The dispatch ran : * If you shall allow the present cam- 
paign todosewithout having undertakenoffensivemeasures 
against the enemy, you will very jvriously disappoint the 
expectations of the Prince Reg^ and the country.* 

Of the 16,000 veterans who were sent from the Penin- 
sular army, two or three regiments were, as has been seen, 
dispatched to the Niagara frontier to reinforce Drummond, 


THE WAR OF x8ia 

of the 
for an 
on the 
line of 

Kempt's brigade was sent to Kingston, to hold that jdace 
and watch Sackett's Harbour. The remainder of the troops 
were encamped over against Montreal, between the St. 
Lawrence and the RicheUeu, from La Prairie to Chambly . 
They formed a division of three brigades under the imme- 
diate command of General de Rottenburg, and this was the 
force which, in obedience to orders, Prevost was to lead as 
an army of invasion into the enemy's country along the 
line of Lake Champlain. From the dispatch which has 
been quoted above, the alternatives seem to have been an 
attack on Sackett's Harbour or an attack on Plattsbmig. 
Throughout August and September Yeo was shut up in 
Kingston harbour. At the beginning of September Izard, 
with most of the regular American troops at Plattsburg, 
began his march to Sackett's Harbour and Niagara. There 
was therefore in September a better chance of striking a 
decisive blow at Plattsburg than at Sackett's Harbour, the 
garrison of which latter place would have been reinforced 
by Izard's men and supported by Chauncey's fleet, at that 
time superior in strength to Yeo's squadrcm ^. 

Plattsburg stands on the western side of Lake Cham- 
plain. Prevost had been anxious not to cany war along 
the eastern shores of the lake, because on that side was the 
state of Vermont, well disposed to Great Britain. Through 
Vermont Canada received, during the war, fresh meat and 
much of its com. In one dispatch Prevost wrote that the 
whole of the cattle for the use of the troops, and very large 
supphes of specie, came in from Vermont ; in another, 
that two-thirds of the army were, at the time of writing, 

^ That an attempt on Sacketf s Harboor at this stage of the war 
woald have been a formidable nndertaking is shown by the following 
extract from a letter from Bdlajor-General Sir James Kempt, who 
was sent to command at Kingston, to Sir G. Prevost, dated 
September i8, 1814. It is printed as Appendix No. 2S to Some Account 
of the Public Life ofthelaie Lieuienanf-General Sir G. Prevost, Bart., &c. : 
' It appears to me that an operation of this magnitude and pn^ble 
dnration should not be undertaken without the most ample means and 
at the very best season of the year ; that not less than 8,000 infantry, 
with a very efficient corps of artillery and engineers, should be employed 
on this service . . . and that above all we should have the decided supe- 
riority on the Lake before the service is undertaken.' 

THE WAR OF i8i2 199 

eating beef supplied by American contractors and drawn 
principally from the states of Vermont and New York; 
Along the western shore of Lake Champlain, therefore, 
was the preferable line of invasion» and Plattsburg was 
the first objective. The army was the finest and strongest 
body of men that any British general had hitherto com- 
manded in Canada during the war. They numbered from 
ro,ooo to 11,000 men, most of them seasoned by years of 
fighting under Wellington. There was some justification 
for the words with which the American ccmmiander 
opposed to Prevost began his subsequent report of the 
expedition. * The Governor-General of the Canadas, Sir 
Geoige Prevost, having collected all the disposable force 
in Lower Canada with a view of conquering the country 
as far as Crown Point and Ticonderago, entered the terri* 
tories of the United States.* It looked as though the old 
fighting ground was to be fighting ground again, and the 
earlier successes of Burgoyne's campaign to be repeated. 
There was Uttle to stop Prevost*s advance. Intent upon SnuJl 
ensuring the safety of Sackett's Harbour, the American io^ce at 

government had ordered away from Plattsburg under ^^^ 
Izard between 3,000 and 4,000 regulars, leaving one of his 
brigadiers, General Macomb, to conmiand a garrison of 
convalescents and recruits, the total effective force of regu- 
lar soldiers not exceeding 1,500 men. They were supple- 
mented, it is true, by hurriedly calling out the New York 
militia en tnasse ; and the result of very leisurely move- 
ment on the part of the invaders was to give time for these 
men, together with volunteers from Vermont, to come up 
to Plattsburg. In the end, therefore, Macomb appears to 
have had some 4,000 men to set against the British force ^, 
while continuous work by day and night had completed 
and strengthened the American defence works, which stood 

^ In his general order to the troops after the British retreat Bfacomb 
stated that his whole force did not exceed 1,500 men, of whom 1,500 
were regulars, but in his dispatch he reported that 700 militia had come 
in by September 4, and that later militia and volunteers were pouring 
in. It would seem, therefore, that his irregular troops largely 
exceeded 1,000. 

/' .^ 

800 THE WAR OF iSzi 

on high ground on the southern side of the Saranac river, 
and included three forts and two blockhouses. Yet, even 
with the advantage of position and of fortifications, it was 
an impossible task for a mixed body of half -disciplined 
men to stop the march of a well-equipped veteran force far 
exceeding them in numbers, if the veterans were properly 
led. Before the event the case of the Americans must 
assuredly have seemed desperate. 

The American army, before it was broken up, had occu« 
pied lines a considerable distance north of Hattsburg and 
close to the international boundary, at the village of Cham« 
plain, which was a Uttle north of the Chazy river. Platts- 
burg was some twenty-five miles south of the boundary 
line, on an inlet of Lake Qiamplain, at the point where the 
Saranac river runs into the lake. The village apparently 
lined both banks of the Saranac, for Prevost addressed his 
official account of the expedition from Plattsburg \ and 
reported in it that his troops entered the place on 
September 6, whereas the American position which those 
troops were not allowed to attack was on the opposite, 
the southern side of the stream. A little more than a 
year ago, as has been told. Colonel Murray, with the 
naval commanders, Everard and Pring, the latter of whom 
was still serving with the British flotilla on the RicheUeu 
river and Lake Champlain, had raided the place without 
opposition, burning the barracks and arsenal, and destroy- 
ing or carrying off the stores. The chances of successful 
defence seemed hardly better now. 
Prevost It was September i when Prevost led his force across 
to^m- ^^ boundary line into American territory. On the 3rd 
bnrg. i^e took possession of the former American encampment. 
Here he left his heavy artillery and part of his force as a 
reserve. The remainder, numbering about 7,000 men and 
called in his report the left division, advanced on the 4th 
to the village of Chazy, and on the 5th to within eight 

> Though, however, this dispatch was dated Plattsburg, September 1 1 , 
there is reason to think that it was written in Canada some time 

THE WAR OF i8m 2or 

of FLattsborg. From this point the troops moved 
forward on the following day in two columns along two 
separate roads, one by the lake shore, the other more 
inland. Hitherto there had been no opposition, but 
Macomb now sent out some troops to harrass and obstruct 
the advance. The column on the road by the lake was for 
a short time held in check, the Americans having taken up 
a strong position behind a stream called Dead Creek, the 
bridge over which had been broken down ; but the inland 
column, brushing aside all opposition, marched steadily 
on, and on that evening the whole force encamped on the 
northern side of the Saranac river, the Americans having 
fallen back to their lines on the southern side and broken 
the bridges^. 

It seems almost incredible that Prevost should not at He delays 
once have attacked. Every day brought more men to the ^^g^^ 
American side, and every day added strength to their ^^ting 
defences. It is true that, in attacking, the British troops fl^iu^ 
might have come under fire from the American squadron, 
which was l3ring off Plattsburg ; and it is also true that 
they would have attacked without their own heavy artillery 
which, considering the very few miles in all covered by the 
expedition, might well have been brought up already, but 
had been left behind. Still it is impossible to beUeve that 
the 7,000 picked men who were halted on the north bank 
of the Saranac, on September 6, would not have made 
short work of Macomb's force and their entrenchments, 
if set to the task on the following day ; and no one who 
reads the history can doubt that, had Brock or Drummond 
been in Prevost's place, there would have been a tale to tell 
of prompt movement and success. The course of the war 

^ Macomb's report bears strong evidence to the excellence ol the 
British troops. Of the inland odnmn he writes, ' The militia skir- 
mished with his (the British) advanced parties, and except a few brave 
men, fell back most precipitately in the greatest disorder. Notwith* 
standing the British troops did not deign to fire on them except by 
their flankers and advanced patrols ' ; and again, of the whole army, ' so 
nndaonted was the enemy that he never d^)loyed in his whole march, 
always pressing on in oolnmn*' 

ao2 THE WAR OF x8i2 

had shown that Prevost was over-cautioas, and co-opera- 
tion between the two arms of the service, the land and 
the lake f orces, obviously desirable both in principle and 
in practice, seems to have become with him a superstition. 
Accordingly he waited face to face with the growing 
American force and the growing American entrenchments 
from the 6th to the xith of September, contenting himself 
with bringing up his heavy guns and constructing bat* 
The He had started on the ezpediticm in advance of the fleet 

^S^^ on whose co-operati(m he placed so much store, presumaUy 
because he wished to take immediate advantage of the 
departure of Izard and his troops. Arrived at Plattsburg, 
and determined not to attack the American position with- 
out the aid of the ships, he was naturally anxious for them 
to be brought up at the earliest possible moment. They 
consisted of one new vessel, the Confiance^ which was much 
larger than the rest and mounted 36 guns, of the brig 
Linnet, of the two sloops which had been taken from the 
Americans in the previous year and had been twice re- 
named \ and of ten or twelve gunboats. The Confiance 
was just off the stocks. On August 27 Prevost re- 
ported to Lord Bathurst that she had been launched at 
the Isle aux Noix, and might be ready to take the lake on 
September 15, four days after she was actually taken into 
action. In tiie same dispatch he added, with characteris- 
tic caution, that the Americans had built a similar vessel 
at Vergennes, thus retaining the naval superiority on 
Lake Champlain and hampering the advance of the land 
Captain forces into the state of New York. Captain Downie had 
P;°!![^^^ been sent down from Lake Ontario by Yeo to take over 
command of the flotilla from another officer, and did not 
arrive at Montreal until Prevost was beginning or had 
already begun his march. The gunboats were sent on in 
advance of the larger vessels to protect the left flank of the 
army on its way to Plattsburg, and waited for the rest 
of the squadron off Chazy. On September 7, the day 

* See above, p. xja 

THE WAR OF 1812 203 

after he reached Flattsburg, Prevost wrote to Downie Prevost 
describing the American flotilla in Plattsburg bay» and ^§^^ 
adding that, if Downie felt strong enough to meet them, to imme« 
the occasion was favourable for an attack. Downie i^^^. 
answered on the same day from the Richelieu river over 
against Lacolle, that the moment the Confiance was ready 
he would be able to fight, but that she would not be ready 
for a day or two at least. Further letters passed day by 
day, Prevost urging in no unreasonable terms the necessity 
for immediate action, Downie promising to fi^^t as soon 
as, but not before, his big ship was ready ; and it should be 
remembered by those who study the correspondence that 
similar pressure was put by Drummond and Prevost on 
Yeo to make a movement on Lake Ontario in aid of the . 
land forces, and that in Yeo's case, too, there was a dis- 
inclination to risk any movement until his new strong 
vessel was in order. On September 9, being then off 
Chazy, Downie informed Prevost that he would sail at 
midnight in order to round the point into Plattsburg bay 
about dawn, and immediately attack the American squa- 
dron, if anchored so as to give a chance of attacking with 
success. He wrote that he relied on Prevost for any assis- 
tance in his power, and he added that his own comj^ement 
of men on Ihe ships was so short that he had applied for 
a company of the 39th regiment to make up the number. 
The movement was delayed, presumably because the 
equipment of the ships was still incomplete, and on the 
morning of the loth, when the attack should have taken 
place, Prevost wrote to Downie that the troops had been in 
readiness since six o'dock to storm the American works ^ 

^ This correspondenca wiU be foond printed as Appendix 30 to the 
pamphlet already mentioned, of which the full title is Sams AccoutU 
of the PtMic Lif§ of the hie Lieutemmt-General Sir George Preoost, Bart., 
particuimriy of his services in the Canadas, including a reply to the 
strictures on his miiitary character contained in an article in the Quarterly 
Review for October, iSaa. London, 1833. It has been very nnlairiy 
construed against Prevost, and the last words of Prevost* s last letter 
to Downie, ' I ascribe the disappointment I have experienced to the 
unfortunate change of wind, and I shidl rejoice to learn from yoo 

204 THE WAR OF i8i2 

when ihe naval action had b^gun, but that he had been 
disappointed. On the following morning, however, Dow- 
nie carried out his plan. * On the morning of the nth/ 
ran Prevost's dispatch, 'our flotilla was seen over the 
isthmus which joins Cumberiand Head with the mainland, 
steering for Plattsburg bay.' 

Plattsburg bay looks east and south-east over Lake 
Champlain. Its entrance is between the peninsula of 
Cumberland Head running down to the south-east on the 
northern side, and, on the southern side, shoals with a 
small island, known as Crab Island, where the American 
commodore Macdonough had established his hospital. 

inPUttih ^^ ^^^^ ^ ^^^^ before eight o'clock in the morning when 
burg bay. Downie's squadron rounded Cumberiand Head and, form- 
ing line of battle, sailed for the entrance of the bay, Downie 
leading the van in the half-finished Confiance, manned, to 
quote Captain Pring's report, by * an unorganised crew ' 
' totally unknown either to the officers or to each other.' 
Commodore Macdonough, who conunanded the American 
ships, for some days apprised of Downie's coming, had 
prepared to receive him. His line was drawn up covering 
Plattsburg, within and across the entrance of the bay. It 
was apparently beyond the reach of e£Eective fire from 
Plattsburg ^, but the southern end of the line was, it would 
seem, to some extent covered by a small battery on Crab 
Island. The larger vessels of the squadron were anchored 
with their bows pointing north. At the northern end of 
the line was the brig Eagle, corresponding to the Linnet, 
next to which was the flag-^p Saratoga, answering to but 
not as large as the Confiance. The squadron contained 
also the schooner Ticonderoga and the cutter Preble, equi- 
valent to the two sloops on the British side, the Chubb and 
the Finch, and there were ten galleys or gunboats. The 

that my eacpectations have beea I t u sU a tod by no other cause.' 
have been absurdly taken to be an innuendo against Downie's personal 

^ This was Pre v osfs account, and he was corroborated by both 
American oommanders, BCacdonongh and Macomb. His critic^ including 
Yeo, maintained the contrary. 

THE WAR OF 1812 205 

one flotilla was in fact a counterpart of the other, so nicely 
balanced were the chances on tiie water in this war. As 
Downie advanced, the Americans opened fire, principally 
on the Confiance, and with mnch effect, the British ships 
not returning the fire until they were in position. The 
British conunander's object was to bring the Confiance to 
dose quarters with the Saratoga, in the words of Captain 
Pring's report, to lay his own ship * athwart hawse of the 
enemy's ', and most coolly and gallantly he set himself to 
the task, but a ba£9ing wind and the American gunnery, 
by which the Confiance lost two anchors, made it necessary 
to take up a position further away and less advantageous 
than had been proposed. The two ships then proceeded 
to pound each other to pieces, while the Linnet under Cap« 
tain Pring, who was second in command to Downie, sup« 
ported by the sloop Chubb, attacked the American brig 
Eagle, and the other British sloop, the Finch, with most of 
the gunboats, was directed against the two smaller Ameri* 
can vessels and the bulk of the American gunboats at the 
southern end of the line. The fight lasted forrather over two 
hours, and almost from the first ill-fortune attended the 
British squadron. Owing apparently to the misconduct 
of the officer in charge, the majority of the British gun- 
boats did not come into action at all. Early in the engage- 
ment one of the sloops, the Chubb, drifted into the Ameri- 
can line and was forced to surrender ^ ; a Uttle later, the 
other sloop, the Finch, struck on a reef near Crab Island ; 
while the worst misfortune of all was that Captain Downie Death oi 
was killed before the fight was far advanced. The Linnet ]^^ 
drove the rival American brig, the Eagle, out of her place, ^^^^^ 
and the guns of the Confiance battered the Saratoga ; but British 
eventually the latter ship was swung round and opened a •qi»<iron- 
new broadside upon the Confiance, which was unaUe to 
reply, and struck her coloius ; and the Linnet, after pro- 

1 The Admiralty coort-inartial on this fight, held on Angnst 28, 18x5, 
found that 'the ChiM was not properly carried into action nor anchored 
so as to do the most effectoal service, by which neglect she drifted into 
the line of the enemy '• Her commander was severely reprimanded* 

2o6 THE WAR OF z8ia 

longing the fight for a short time against the combined 
American ships, was also compdled to surrender. Com- 
modore Macdonough had won a complete and notable 
victory, but in the end either squadron was a collection of 
shattered wrecks, with the excepti(m of the recreant British 
gunboats, which might at least have attempted to save the 
helfdess vessels on their side by towing them out of action. 
Prevott As soon as the naval fight began, Prevost appears to 
2^12^^ have opened fire from his batteries upon the American 
on tiw entrenchments, and to have ordered his troops to advance. 
entrench- The better part of two brigades, provided with scaling 
mtnu, ladders, was sent through the woods to force a ford of the 
Saranac about three miles above the American position, 
and then storm the works ; a third brigade was to co- 
operate by crossing lower down, at the bridge in the village, 
or where the bridge had been, afad making a frontal attack. 
It is not easy to understand from the conflicting accounts 
what actually happened. The American generals reported 
that the cannonade lasted all day till the evening, that 
three attempts were made by the British army at the com- 
mencement of the cannonade to pass the river, but that 
they were driven back, although a considerable body of the 
troops had actually crossed the stream at the ford. Pre- 
vost's own account was that the passage of the Saranac 
was forced at the ford, and that the troops had reached 
the heights on which the American works stood, but that 
by that time the naval combat had been decided in favour 
bntrecaHa of the Americans, and he consequently withdrew the 
the txoopt jjQopg Qjj jjj^ ground that, without command of the lake, 

possession of the enemy's fortifications would not have 
compensated for the loss which would have been entailed 
in storming them. It is stated that delay was caused 
through the troops losing the way to the ford, a story 
difiicult to credit, since the ford was but three miles 
distant, the movement was made in broad daylight, and 
there had been an interval of several days' inaction, during 
which it must be supposed that the ground had been recon- 
noitred. All that is dear is that, before the fight in the 

THE WAR OF i8ia 207 

bay was over, the American fortifications had not been 
attacked, and that, though a porticm of the British force 
had crossed the river, they were recalled when the Con^ 
fiance and Linnet lowered their colours, and were not 
allowed to storm the position. That night Prevost fell 
back, leaving behind him the few wounded who could not 
be moved and a considerable quantity of stores. The 
next day he continued his retreat into Canada, losing a and 
laige number of men by desertions ; and the Plattsburg '**"***■• 
expedition was at an end. 

In a private dispatch to Lord Bathurst, written on 
September 21, Ptevost amplified the reasons for the course Pnvosf • 
which he had adopted. Reiterating what he had so^|^^ 
often written, ' that no offensive operations could be car- conduct, 
ried on within the enemy's territory for the destruction of 
his naval establishments without naval support,' he wrote 
that he had relied on the co-operation of Downie's squadron 
and had made his arrangements to assault the enemy's 
works directly it should appear. The naval disaster had 
frustrated his plans, and to attack the fortifications after it 
had happened would have been most imprudent. Success 
would not have been worth the sacrifice involved ; failure 
would have resulted in a most difficult and dangerous 
position ; for, he wrote, * from the state of the roads, 
each day's delay at Plattsburg rendered my retreat more 
difficult. The enemy's militia was rising en masse around 
me, desertion increasing, and our supply of provisions 
scanty.' It would almost seem as though he had Bur- 
goyne and Saratoga in mind, remembering how the loss 
of boats on the Hudson and the loss of precious time in 
retreating had involved the loss of the army. Yet he was 
but twenty-five miles from his own frontier, he had a strong 
and highly disciplined army against an enemy weak in 
numbers, weakerstillinknowledgeof professional warfare; 
and he had no longer, as when he retreated from Sackett's 
Harbour, to count as it were every soldier in view of the 
scantiness of the defenders of Canada. At the same time 
it is right to record that he had high authority for the 


THE WAR OF i8ia 

The Duke 
htf ftcticot 

by the 

course which he took in retreating from Flattsborg. The 
Duke of Wellingtcm, in sending the WatteviUe regiment 
from the Peninsula to Canada, had written in February, 
1813, that he trusted Prevost would * not be induced by 
any hopes of trifling advantages to depart from a strong 
defensive system. He may depend upon it that he will 
not be strong enough, either in men or means, to establish 
himsdf in any conquest he mig^t make ' ; and on 
December 22, 1814, after the result of the Flattsburg expe* 
dition was known, he wrote expressing his high approval 
of the conduct of the war in North America, and referred 
to the Flattsburg expedition in the following words : 
* Whether Sir George Prevost was ri^t or wrong in his 
decision at Lake Champlain is more than I can tell, though 
joi this I am certain, he must equally have returned to 
Kingston ^ after the fleet was beaten, and I am inclined to 
think he was right. I have told the ministers repeatedly 
that a naval superiority cm the lakes is a sine qud nan of 
success in war on the frontier of Canada, even if our object 
should be wholly defensive/ Prevost might also, by way 
of justification, have quoted the words of the dispatch of 
June 3, which, in instructing him to take the offensive 
against American territory, bid him guard against what* 
ever * might commit the safety of the force jdaced under 
yofar command \ 

Notwithstanding, for the retreat from Plattsbuig and 
still more for the whole conduct of the expedition, Prevost 
was and is blamed to the present day. Men remembered 
that he had in similar fashion drawn off the troops from 
before Sackett's Harbour ; and, undoubted as were his 
merits as a dvil governor ; however prudently and watch- 
fully he had maintained the defence of Caxiada through 
these tr3dng years, ministering as far as his resources al* 
lowed to this point and to that, no success in the field of 
any kind had been credited to him which his friends could 
set off against these two mortifying episodes. The naval 
men not unnaturally found their def encef or the overwhelm* 

^ The Duke of Wdlingtoa wrote Kiagstoii by mistake te MoatreaL 

THE WAR OF 1812 209 

ing of the flotilla and for Downie's death in attacking 
Prevost. Robertson, the lieutenant of the Confiance^ who 
commanded the ship after Downie's death, reported that 
the crews had been led to expect that the American works 
would be stormed at the commencement of the naval 
action, and had been unwilling to continue the fight when 
the army did not co-operate. Captain Pring, the senior 
surviving officer of the flotilla, in his official rq)ort of the 
action to Sir James Yeo, referred to the earnest solicitation 
of Prevost for the co-operation of the squadron, and to the 
understanding that the works should be stormed by the 
troops at the same moment that the naval action began. 
In a separate letter to Yeo, Pring again urged that Downie 
made his attack on the faith of a promise that the land 
forces should attack simultaneously ; he wrote that it had 
been expected by the British sailors that the enemy's gun* 
boats would be driven from the shelter of the forts when 
those forts were taken ; and he contended that, if the forts 
had been stormed, even after the naval action was over, 
the British flotilla could have been saved. Yeo, in sending 
on Pring's report to the Admiralty, expressed his opinion 
that Downie had been urged into action before his ship was 
fit for fighting. He added that he considered that there Yeo's 
was no necessity for the British squadron to have sailed ^SSS, 
into Plattsburg bay and there fought at a disadvantage ; P^^vost. 
and that, had they been successful, the success would not 
have assisted the troops in storming the batteries, whereas, 
had the batteries been first stormed, the American squadron 
would have been obliged to leave the bay, and the British 
fleet would have been given a fair chance. A few days later, 
after Pring had arrived on parole at Kingston and shown 
him the correspondence between Prevost and Downie, 
Yeo forwarded that correspondence to the Admiralty in 
a letter still more strongly worded than the last. He 
spoke of Downie as having been goaded on to his fate by 
Prevost, who seemed to have assumed the direction of the 
naval force ; he repeated once more that it was only on 
the assurance that the army would attack the enemy's 

210 THE WAR OF 1812 

as soon as ever the naval engagement b^an, 
that Downie was persuaded to make his attempt ; that, 
bad the anny attacked, the American squadron must have 
quitted their anchorage, especially the gunboats that lay 
dose to the shore ; and that, had the batteries been stormed 
even after the termination of the naval acti<m, the British 
squadron must have been recovered, and the American 
squadron might have been captured also, for the American 
vessels were so disabled as to be incapable of taking posses- 
sion of the Ctrnfiance and the Linnet for fully three hours 
after the fight was over. 
Recall of . The government decided that tiiese charges must be 
to an^m Communicated to Prevost, and that he should be brought 
Yfo's home to answer them. Lord Bathurst wrote to him 
^^ accordingly on November 26, but the dispatch seems 
either to have miscarried or not to have been ad- 
dressed to him direct, for, on the following March 5, 
Pre vost wrote to Bathurst to the effect that he had received 
through a letter to a junior officer. Sir George Murray,^ 
the first intimation of the course which had been taken 
and of the fact that his commission as Governor had been 
revoked. The Legislature of Lower Canada was then 
sitting at Quebec. He dosed it in a speech announcing 

^ PtevoBt's words in his letter to Lord Bathurst of Ifarch 5 are—' He 
(Murray) has commanicated to me a letter from your lordship addressed 
to him, bat of which I am the subject '. Major-Ge&cral Sir George 
Mtirray, the distinguished officer who had been the Duke of Wdlingtoa's, 
Quartermaster-General in the Peninsula, was sent out at the end of 
^81 1» or early in 18x5. He arrived at Quebec on ICarch a, i8i5« 
by way of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and left for England 
again on June 10, on hearing of Napoleon's escape from Elba. The 
notice of him in the DicHonary of National Biography says that he was 
sent out to govern the Canadas; but this is not correct, as it was decided, 
when Prevost was recalled, that Gordon Drummond should take Pre- 
vosf s place. Murray went out in a military capacity, being given the 
local rank of Lieutenant-GeneraL When Drummond took the place 
of Prevost as Administrator-in-chief, Murray took command of the 
forces in Upper Canada, and r eported to Lord Bathurst on April 35 
that, as senior officer of the forces in Upper Canada, he had taken the 
oaths to administer the government of the province with the title of 
provisiooal Lieutenant-Governor. 

THE WAR OF i8m an 

tiiat he had received the Prince Regent's conmiands to 
return to England to repel accusations affecting his mili- 
tary character, which had been preferred by the late 
naval Conunander-in-chief on the lakes in Canada. On 
April 3 he left Quebec, receiving oa the eve of his 
departure addresses, mainly signed by French Canadians, 
which showed warm appreciation of his just and con- 
ciliatory rule. As the St. Lawrence navigation was not 
yet open, he took the toilsome overland route to St. John 
in New Brunswick, and, embarking at St. John, arrived 
at Portsmouth on May ii. At the end of that month 
he was told, in answer to an inquiry, that his con- 
duct would be investigated by court-martial at a future 
date, which could not then be fixed. Meanwhile on 
August 28 following, the naval court-martial held on 
Pring, Robertson, and the other surviving officers of 
Downie's squadron, gave its sentence. These officers 
were all, except the heutenant of the Chubby most honour- 
ably acquitted ; and the court, while of opinion that the lading 
British attack would have been more effective, if part of ^a^ 
the gunboats had not withdrawn from action, and the^^^'^'^- 
winds had not prevented others of the vessels from taking on the 
up their appointed stations, found that the disaster ' was ^^*' 
principally caused by the British squadron having been diaaster. 
urged into battie previous to its bemg in a proper state to 
meet the enemy, by the promised co-operation of the land 
forces not being carried into effect, and by the pressing 
letters of their commander-in-chief, whereby it appears 
that he had, on September 10, 1814, only waited for 
the naval attack to storm the enemy's works ; that the 
signal of the approach on the following day was made by 
the scaling of the guns, as settied between Captain Downie 
and Major Coore \ and the promised co-operation com- 
municated to the other officers and crews of the British 
squadron before the commencement of the action '. A week 
later, on September 5, Yeo, having formulated his charges 

' Major Coore wMPtevost'saide-de^amp, and had been teat lyy him 


212 . THE WAR OF i8ia 

for the purpose of the court-martial onPtevost^sent them in 
to the Admiralty . They were four in number: that Prevost 
had induced Downie to attack by leading him to expect 
the co-operation of the land forces, and had not given that 
co-operation ; that he had not stormed the Amaican 
works on shore at the same time that the naval action 
began, as he had given Downie to expect ; that he had 
disr^[arded the signal for co-operation, which had pre* 
viously been agreed upon ; that he had not made a land 
attack either during or after the naval action, whereas, if he 
had done so, the squadron might have been saved. The 
court-martial was directed to be held in the following 
January, but the date was subsequently postponed until 
February 5 on account of Prevost's health. Prevost 
Death of did not live to be tried, but died a month before the trial 
PrevcMt. sIiqqI^ i^yg b^gu jj^^^ QQ January 5, 1816. He vrais 

only forty-eight years of age when he died, but his cares 
and anxieties in Canada must have told upon his strength, 
which was said to have been further undermined by the 
fatigues of his last journey from Quebec to New Brunswick. 
The blow of being summoned home to answer charges 
against his military reputation was aggravated by the long 
and somewhat unfair delays in holding the inquiry, against 
which after arrival in England he vainly protested : and 
he had to leave to his widow and family the task of trjnng 
to do justice to his memory. They spared no pains to do 
so. The brother of the dead man asked that the inquiry 
might still be held ; and, when the legal authorities de- 
cided that such a course could not properly be taken, the 
Efforts to widow petitioned for some mark of Royal favour, in 
[h^^^e- ^^^^^ ^^ obliterate the charges which she was not given 
ptttatioa. an opportunity of disproving, and to exhibit her husband's 
* unspotted fame, a good soldier's best possession and most 
valuable legacy ' ^. Eventually, in 1817, an addition was 
made by Royal Grant to the family arms, and in the in- 
scription on the monument which Lady Prevost erected 

^ See Mr, Brymner'a report on Canadian Archives for 1896, pp zxvi« 

THE WAR OF 1812 213 

to her htisband in Winchester cathedral, it is recounted 
thsLt * His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, to evince in 
an especial manner the sense he entertained of his di^ 
tinguished conduct and services, during a long period of 
constant active employment in stations of great trust, 
both nulitary and dvil, was pleased to ordain, as a lasting 
memorial of His Majesty's Ro3ral favour, that the names of 
the countries, where his courage and abilities had been 
most signally displa}^, the West Indies and Canada, 
should be inscribed on the banners of the supporters 
granted to be borne by his family and descendants '. 

Sir Geoige Prevost did good work for England in diffi* Hiscbaiw 
cult and dangerous times ; and he did good work for ^^^^^ 
Canada in that, amid the throes of national crisis, he held 
the confidence of the French Canadians. His instructions, 
his temperament, and the exigencies of the situation made 
him cautious to a fault. To defend rather than to invade, 
and not to attack unless the fleet could support the army, 
were, in the special circumstances of time and place, 
excellent principles for general guidance. But Prevost 
appUed them in season and out of season, until he lost the 
power of initiative. As a leader in the field he was wanting 
in nerve ; he had none of that instinct which grips the 
occasion, strikes quick and hard, and extorts success. 
Outside the battie-field his merits were not few nor small, 
and he deserves to be remembered for good as well as for 
the Plattsbui:g expedition. 

Contemporaneously with that expediticm a much more British ex< 
eflfective and a completely successful invasion of American |^e 
territory took place in the old Acadian borderland on the ggg^ <^ 
coast of Maine. It was oiganieed and carried out in the 
latter part of August and the beginning of September by 
lieutenant-General Sir John Cope Sherbrooke, Governor 
of Nova Scotia. It had been preceded I^ taking possession Moose 
in July of Moose Island, in Passamaquoddy bay. This {^^ 
island, the ownership of which was finally confirmed^ to 

^ By the award of the CooimiseUmen appointed under the 4th article 
of the Treaty of Ghent The award was dated November 24, 1817, 

214 THE WAR OF i8ia 

the United States in 1817, was described, in Colonel 
Pilkington's report to Sir John Sherbrooke, as about four 
miles in length and two in breadth, in a high state of culti- 
vation, witib an estimated populati(m of 1,500, and a 
militia numbering 250. The island is now connected by 
a bridge with the mainland. The principal settlement 
upon it in 1814, as now, was Eastport upon its south- 
eastern side, and a fort named Fort Sullivan commanded 
the entrance to the anchorage. Pilkington, with a de- 
tachment of artillery, left HaUfax on July 5 and on the 
evening of the 7th met at Shdbume, on the south-west 
coast of Nova Scotia, H.M.S. RamiUies^ under Sir Thomas 
Hardy, with two transports canying the Z02nd regiment. 
Early on the 8th the expedition sailed, and on the after- 
noon of the nth the ships anchored o£E Eastport. The 
American officer in charge of the fort was summoned to 
surrender. When he refused, the boats already full of 
troops pulled for land ; but, before they reached the shore, 
the American colours on the fort were lowered, and the 
garrison surrendered as prisoners of war. Possession was 
taken of the fort with the guns and stores, anid the adjoin- 
ing islands in the bay were also occupied. 

Sir John Sherbrooke's expedition was directed against 
the mainland coast between the New Brunswick frontier 
and the Penobscot river. He sailed from Halifax on 
August 26, with ten transports, canying the better 
part of 2,000 men, and escorted by a squadron of four 
ships of war under Rear-Admiral Griffith, which were 
joined by five other ships on the 31st K From one of these 
later arrivals it was ascertained that the Adams, an Ameri- 
can frigate, was in the Penobscot river, and Sherbrooke 
sher- and Griffith accordingly determined to make straight for 
^^^^ the mouth of that river, instead of first taking posses- 
the Pen- sion of Machias, which Ues higher up the coast towards 
New Brunswick. They arrived off the Penobscot at 
day-light on the following morning, September i. The 

^ Sir John Sherbrcx^'s dispatch gives the 30th, bat Admixal Griffith's, 
which is more explicit, gives the 31st. 


THE WAR OF 1812 215 

Adams, on August 1% had in the midst of a fog 
struck on a rock on the coast of Maine, near the estuary 
of the Penobscot, and, having been with great difficulty 
floated again at high tide, had been brought by her com- 
mander into the Penobscot, and, for greater safety as 
well as for repairs, had been taken up as far as Hampden, 
a village which stood on the western bank of the river, 
twenty-seven miles above Castine. Castine, called after 
the Baron St. Castin of Acadian story, was and is near the 
mouth of the river on its eastern bank, the fort standing 
on a peninsula. It was summoned to surrender, the sum- 
mons was rejected, and a few shots were fired ; but almost 
immediately afterwards the fort was evacuated and blown and takes 
up, and the British troops occupied Castine without oppo-^^^*^^' 
sition. The next step to be taken was to capture or 
destroy the Adams ; and with this object in view, Sher- 
brooke sent on the same day a regiment to hold a place 
named Belfast, which was slightly higher up stream than 
Castine on the opposite bank, and through which ran the 
high road from Hampden to Boston. Having secured Saocessfai 
this point, the general and admiral, working in close Smseat 
harmony, sent a strong detachment of 600 picked men ^ ^^ 
on board two or three of Griffith's lighter vessels up the cot 
river to Hampden. Like their superior officers, the colonel 
in command of the troops, Colonel John, and the captain 
in charge of the ships. Captain Barrie, worked together 
admirably. They started at six o'clock in the evening on 
the same zst of September ; and by nightfall on the fol- 
lowing day, after a Uttle outpost skirmishing, the troops 
were landed and encamped within three miles of Hampden. 
At daybreak on the 3rd the artillery was landed, and 
an advance was made on Hampden, gunboats moving up 
the river in line with the soldiers on shore, thus keeping 
their right secure, while the ships followed in reserve a 
little b^iind. It was a foggy morning, and the American 
position could not be reconnoitred until the skirmishers 
were actually; engaged. It was then found that the 
Americans were drawn up in line in front of and covering 

2^x6 THE WAR OF i8z2 

Hampden, their left resting on a high hill, the guns an 
which commanded both the road and the river; their right, 
also <m high ground, outflanking the British hne, with guns 
posted so as to command a bridge over which the attacking 
force would be obliged to advance. Behind this position, 
a Uttle higher up the river, the Adams lay off a wharf, oa 
which some more guns had been placed commanding the 
river, narrow at this point and running between high, weUr 
wooded banks. Notwithstanding the strength of the 
position there was little fighting. The American right, 
furthest removed from the river, was first carried ; and 
soon the Americans fell back at all points before the r^go* 
lars chaiging on land and the gunboats firing on the river. 
They set fire to the Adafns, effectually destroying her, 
abandoned the guns, and retreated to a place called Bangor, 
a little higher up than Hampden, on the same side of the 
river. The British forces followed on land and water, and 
at Bangor there was an unconditional surrender, the 
miUtia becoming civilians again, and the officer in com^ 
mand taking his parole. On that same evening John and 
Barrie wrote from Bangor reporting their success^ but 
meanwhile Sherbrooke, anxious for news and wishing to 
be within reach in the event of any reverse, marched on 
the early morning of the 4th with 700 men to Buckstoi^ 
eighteen miles above Castine, and cm the same side, the 
eastern side of the river. Here he learnt that all had gone 
well above ; and, the object of the enterprise having been 
fully attained, he returned to Castine, where the Hampden 
expedition, with captured guns and diips, rejoined him on 
the morning of the 9th. 

On the same morning Sherbrooke and Griffith sent 
Colonel Pilkington and Captain Hyde Parker on another 
joint expedition, to take possession of Machias. On the 
Machias evening of the loth the troops landed within a few miles 
occupied. ^£ ^^ place, and marching through the night appeared 
at daybreak on the xith in the rear of the fort, called Fort 
O'Brien, which commanded the river. The fort was 
evacuated as the British troops advanced, and, with the 

THE WAR OF 1812 217 

settlement of Macfaias which it guarded, was immediately 
occupied by PiUdngton. He prepared to push on inland 
to dear the surrounding country, as the banks of the 
Penobscot had been deared, but received a letter from 
the commanding officers of the county of Washington ^, as 
the border district of which Machias was the chief settle- 
ment was called, whereby they agreed on behalf of their 
militia that no arms should be borne in the district against 
the British government for the rest of the war, provided 
that that government protected the inhabitants in their 
private property and their usual occupations. Thedvilians 
offered the same undertaking as the military men. It 
was accepted, and PiUdngton congratulated Shefbrooke 
on the importance of the new territory which had thus 
been added to the dominion of the King, writing that ' it 
embraces about 100 miles of seacoast and indudes that 
intermediate tract of country which separates the province 
of New Brunswick from Lower Canada'. It was notAnnexa- 
merdy the county of Washington that for the time being s'SSt^ 
became a Briti^ possession. Castine was garrisoned brooke 
and hdd until the end of the war, and on September 21 territory 
Sherbrooke and Griffith issued a prodamation at Halifax bjtweea 
for the provisional government of 'all the Eastern Paiob»- 
side of the Penobscot river and all the country l)dng be- ^^^ 
tween the same river and the boundary line of the Province Brnaft- 

of New Brunswick, induding loog Island and all the other ^'"^^ 
islands near and contiguous to the shores thereof * '. It 
would have conduced to the peace and well-being both of 
the British Empire and of the United States, if this acquisi- 
tion by Great Britain had been permanently recognized in 
the peace which was already being negotiated. A boundary 
line far more equitable and far more in accordance with the 
dictates of history and geography than the existing frontier 
would have been established, and all the dangerous inter* 

* The oonnty of Wathingtoii was in tiie diftrict of Ifaiiie. which at 
this time was part of the state of Massachusetts. Maine was 
as a sqMtiate state of the Union on Maxch 3, i8aa 

* See Slaii Pap0r$, voL I» pt. II» p. 1369. 

2i8 THE WAR OF i8i3 

national ill-feeling which subsequently gathered round the 
Maine boundary question would have been avoided. 

Sherbrooke and Griffith had not found serious diffi- 
culties to contoid with in their enterprise, but what work 
they had to do they did thoroughly well, and the prompt- 
ness with which each step was followed up, together with 
the absolute harmony between soldiers and sailors, stands 
out in marked contrast to the unsatisfactory record of the 
Plattsburg expedition. Meanwhile soldiers and sailors 
were also co-operating in invasion of American territory 
further down tiie Atlantic coast of the United States. Qa 
Naval en- the ocean and in neutral waters, in isolated combats such 
^^^ as have already been noticed, the Americans more than 
high seas, hdd their own. At the end of March, 18x4, the British 
frigate Phctbe and sloop Cherub^ under the command of 
Captain Hillyar, overpowered and captured the American 
frigate Essex off Valparaiso. The Essex^ commanded by 
Captain David Porter, had made a memorable cruise. 
Putting to sea at the end of October, i8ia, eariy in 1813 
she had gone round Cape Horn into the Pacific, and had 
there captured a number of British whalers, before she was 
forced to succumb to superior strength. At the end of 
April, 1814, the British brig Epervicr^ on her way home 
from Jamaica, was taken by the American sloop Peacock. 
At the end of June, the American sloop Wasp encountered 
the British sloop Reindeer in the En^^ish Channel. After 
a desperate fight the Reindeer ^ in the words of the American 
commander, 'literally cut to pieces in a line with her ports,' 
surrendered and, as soon as her crew had been taken on 
board the Wasp^ was burnt. The Wasp thoi put into the 
French port of UOrioit to refit, and, coming out again, 
on the night of September i, sank another British 
ship, the brig Avon. The sea-fights woit on into 1815, 
after peace had been signed. On January 15, 1815, 
the President, one of the large American frigates whidi 
proved so formidable during the war, was taken by 
a British squadron which was cruising off New York 
harbour. On February 20, another of these frigates. 





THE WAR OF 1813 319 

the Constitution^ took two British ships, the Cyane and 
Levant^ not far from Madeira. On March 23, off the 
island of Tristan da Cunha, the American sloop Hornet 
fought and captured the British brig Penguin^ which was 
sunk after the action ; and finally, on June 30, in the 
Straits of Sunda, the East India Company's cruiser Nau* 
tilus was fired upon and compelled to strike her colours 
to the American sloop Peacock, although the British com- 
mander informed his antagonist that peace had been 
ratified. But daring and skilful as were the American 
sailors, harrying British vessds from the English Channel 
to the Straits of Sunda, Valparaiso, and Tristan da Cunha, 
the American marine was far too weak to protect the shores 
of the United States, which, now that Great Britain was set 
free from the incubus of war with Napoleon, were exposed 
to organized invasion by forces adequate for the purpose. 

The campaign of 1814-1815 on the American coast-line, The 
including the battle of Bladensburg, the taking of Washing- ^^^ 
ton, and the British defeat at New Orleans, was of vital coast 
importance to Canada, as relieving the pressure which had unitad 
been brought to bear upon her for two years past, and as states, 
hastening the oid of the war by carrying it into the in- 
vaders' country. As in 1813, ^^ shores and inlets of 
Chesapeake bay were visited and harried by British 

In order to protect the settlements to some extent, a flotilla ^^^* 
of gunboats was improvised by the Americans and placed ctu ^ 

under the command of a brave Irishman, Barney. Coming P^^ 
down from Baltimore towards the mouth of the bay these 
boats were, at the beginning of June, 1814, driven into the 
Patuxent river by the British warship Dragon, under the 
command of Captain Barrie, who subsequoitly, as has been 
told, was in charge of the successful expedition up the 
Penobscot. Barney's boats ran into St. Leonard's Creek, 
a tributary of the Patuxent, and were there blockaded by 
two frigates lying at the mouth of the creek, while Barrie 
in turn took his gunboats up the Patuxent, scouring the 
banks as far as Lower Marlborough, about twenty-eight 
miles from Washington. Eventually a combined attack 


220 THE WAR OF 1812 

by Barney's boats and a battery on shore dislodged the 
frigates, and Barney, gaining access to the main stream 
of the Patuxent, took his flotilla high up the river. This 
was towards the end of Jmie. Barney was mmiolested 
until August 22, when Admiral Cockbum came up 
the river with the boats and tenders of the British fleet, 
strongly manned with sailors and marines, to make an end 
of the American flotilla. On rounding a point called Pig 
Point, with a village upon it, which was on the eastern 
bank of the river over against Upper Mariborou^ on the 
opposite side, Cockbum sighted Barney's boats in the 
reach of the river above the point ; but they were all 
already abandoned and in process of being blown up. 
Sixteen were destroyed in this way, the sevoiteenth, to- 
gether with some merchant vessds which the flotilla was 
protecting, fell into British hands. Meanwhile Barney 
and his men had joined the force which was ccdlecting for 
the defence of Washington. 
The ex- Cockbum reported that, as he moved up the Patuxent 
^^rt^ river from Benedict, where he had parted with his senior 
^^*^^* officer. Sir Alexander Cochrane, his boats were kept as 
nearly as possible abreast with General Ross's army, which 
was advancing up the western bank. In accordance with 
the decision of the British government to supplemoit the 
forces which they were sending to Canada, by dispatching 
a brigade to co-operate with Cochrane and Cockbum on 
the Atlantic coast of the United States, Major-General 
General Robert Ross set sail from the Gironde with three regiments 
R^^ of the line and a company of artillery on June 1, 
He reached Bermuda on Jidy 24, and there his force 
was augmented by a fourth regiment of infantry and 
a strong battalion of marines, bringing up the number 
of moi to about 4,500 in all, organized in three brigades. 
At Bermuda he met Admiral Cochrane, and on board his 
flagship, the Tannaniy sailed in advance of the troops for 
Chesapeake bay, where, on August 14, off the mouth 
of the Potomac river, he joined Rear- Admiral Cockbum, 
who had in the meantime been hunting out the creeks 

THE WAR OF 1812 221 

of that river. Three days later the transports arrived 
from Bermuda. Ross who was forty-eight years of age 
at this t]me» was a soldier of tried distinction and of high 
personal character. He had seen service in Holland and 
Egypt, at the battle of Maida» at Corunna, at Vittoria, in 
the battles of the Pyrenees, at the Nivelle and Orthes, 
having been badly wounded in the last-named fight. He 
had served under the foremost British captains of his time, 
including Abercromby, Moore, and Wellington. As a regi* 
mental officer he had commanded the 20th raiment, and 
after ^^ttoria he had been made a Major-General. A gallant 
soldier, he seems also to have been a most lovable man. 
After his death before Baltimore, an address was moved 
and carried unanimously in the House of Commons on 
November 14, 1814, to erect a monument to his memory 
in St. Paul's Cathedral ^, and two members of the House, 
who had known him personally, testified that 'he 
possessed the happy taloit of conciliating by his disposition 
and instructing by his example', and that 'there never 
lived a man who deserved more or who had received more 
of the confidence and affection of those who served under 

. * The ioBcriptkn npon tha monnment, which is over tiie door leading 
tothecrypt, is as follows: ' Erected at the public expense to the memory 
of Major-General Robert Ross, who, having undertaken and ezecated 
an enterprise against the city of Washington, Capital of the United 
States of America, which was crowned with complete soccess, was killed 
shortly afterwards, while directing a soccessfol attack npon a superior 
force, near the city of Baltimore, on the lath day of September, 1814.' 
A good jndge of war and of generals. Sir Harry Smith, who went oat 
with Ross as brigade-major and acted as depnty adjutant-general at 
Bladensbnrg, and in the advance on and retirement from Washington, 
while doing full justice to Ross'sgallantry and nobility of character, seems 
not to have formed a high opinion of the genemlship which he displayed. 
He criticised in his autobiography the battie of Bladensbnrg, the retreat 
from Washington, and the subsequent attempt on Baltimore (when 
he was not present himself). He wrote that Ross ' was very cautions 
in responsilnlity — awfully so, and lacked that dashing enterprise so 
essential to carry a place by a coup de main'. At the same time his 
criticisms in detiUl were rather directed against the want of the opposite 
qualities, and he summed up that Ross ' in the continuance of command 
would have become a general of great ability*. lA^iiobiography of Sir 
Hmny SmUk, X90i» voL i» chap, jol} 

222 THE WAR OF 1812 

him*. His mission was, in the words of Vansittart, the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was the spokesman of 
the Government on this occasion, ' to retaliate upon the 
Americans for the outrages which they had committed on 
the frontiers/ and with this object in view he and his troops 
came to the roidezvous in Chesapeake bay. 

An attack on Washington had no doubt been contem- 
plated, should opportunity arise; but, from Ross's own 
dispatch, written after the event, it appears that the first 
dbject of his advance up the Patuxent river was to co- 
operate with Cockbum in destroying Barney's flotilla. 
Immediatdy after the troops arrived, the fleet moved into 
the mouth of the Patuxent, and here, on August 18, 
Admiral Admiral Cochrane addressed a letter to Monroe, the 
^^l American Secretary of State, informing him that, having 
letter to been called upon by the Governor-General of the Cana- 
^^^^ das to retaliate against the inhabitants of the United 
States ' for the wanton destruction committed by their 
army in Upper Canada, it has become imperiously my 
duty, conformably with the nature of the Governor- 
General's application, to issue to the naval iorce under my 
command an order to destroy and lay waste such towns 
and districts upon the coast as may be found assailable'. 
This notice, the wholesale terms of which were with reason 
subjected to subsequoit criticism, had been called forth 
by more than one appeal from the Governor-General. 
Prevost had written in June after the raiding of Port 
Dover, and in July after the burning of St. David's, and 
had referred to the conduct of the Americans in these and 
similar cases, *as calling loudly for a severe retribution 
which I trust, when opportunities offer, you will not fail to 
inflict.' Prevost's character, and the policy which he had 
pursued throughout the war of neglecting no occasion to 
conciliate rather than to provoke the enemies of Canada, 
lent strength to his protests, and the British leaders had 
now both the force and the opportunity, rightly or wrongly, 
to exact retribution. 
The city of Washington lies in the forks of the Potomac, 

THE WAR OF 1812 223 

which river flows with a curving south-easterly course into Ross ad- 
Chesapeake bay. Parallel to the Potomac, and to the east 1^^^ 
of that river, the Patuxent, ' serpentine and wooded/ as ton from 
it is described in Sir Harry Smitii's autobiography, runs thepLtux- 
into the bay. Up this latter stream it was determined to ^^ 
operate, the immediate object being, as already stated, the 
destruction of Barney's boats, but Washington being also 
more easily assailable from this side than by the direct 
route up the Potomac, because a cross-country march from 
the east of no great distance would bring the invaders on 
to the eastern branch of the Potomac, some miles above 
Washington, where the stream was small and narrow and, 
if the bridges were broken, could be crossed without much 
difficulty. Accordingly, while some ships of the squadron 
were sent up the Potomac to attack or threatoi the forts 
on that river below Washington, the main expedition made 
for Benedict, a settlement on the western shore of the 
Patuxent, about fifty miles south-east of Washington. 
There the troops were disembarked, and, parting with 
Cochrane, Ross led his men, in poor condition after their 
long vo3rage for a march in the heat of August, up the 
western bank of the river, while Cockbum accompanied 
him on the river in the boats belonging to the squadron. 
Starting on the 20th, Ross reached a place called Notting- 
ham on the 2ist, and on the 22nd oicamped at Upper 
Marlborough, situated on a tributary or western branch 
of the Patuxent, about four miles from the main river 
and about sixteen miles due east of Washington. An 
American force, commanded by General Winder, who 
earlier in the war had been taken prisoner at Stoney Creek, 
was in evidence during the march, but fell back towards, 
and covering, Washington. On the 23rd Cockbum, at 
whose suggestion the attack on Washington was made, 
having seen the last of Barney's boats, joined Ross with 
sailors and marines ; and on that evening the combined 
force, moving due west, encamped about five miles out ^^ 
from Upper Marlborough, in the direction of Washington, l^^^ 
Early on the 24th, Ross continued his march, taking the bug. 

124 THE WAR OF 1812 

road to the north-west instead of due west towards Wash- 
ington, and at noon reached Bladensboig, a village on the 
eastern bank of the eastern branch of the Potomac, twelve 
miles distant from the British oicampmoit of the night 
before, and about five miles north-east of Washington. 
Thebattie At Bladensbuif^ various roads converged. One of them, 
dc^onr. ^ ^^^'^ running north-east and south-west, connected 
Baltimore and Washington. It crossed the river in front 
of Bladensbuif^ by a bridge which was standing intact to 
keep open communication with Baltimore : for, with the 
exception of a detachment which was stationed at Bladens- 
burg, the Americans concentrated at Washington itself, 
where the bridges over the eastern branch of the Potomac 
had been brokoi, expecting a direct attack in that quarter 
by Ross's army, and did not move up to Bladensburg until 
they were assured that he was marching on that jdace. 
The road, after crossing the bridge, ran up high ground 
opposite Bladensburg, and a little further on was carried 
The over a ravine. On the high ground between the ravine 
^^^^ and the river, and also on the further side of the ravine, 
suid nnm- the Americans, under the eye of President Madison and 
his ministers, were drawn up in two lines, mainly to the 
north of the road, on which their right rested, and which 
was fully commanded by some of their artillery thrown 
forward in advance, and by a house which was fortified for 
the occasion. Ross estimated their numbers at 8,000 to 
9,000 men with 300 or 400 cavalry ; Cockbum at 8,000 
men. Goieral Winder, in his report, did not place the 
total higher than 5,000, but the numbers seem to have 
been from 6,500 to 7,000 men, most of than raw militia 
hastily collected and not placed in position imtil the enemy 
was in sight. The most valuable part of the force, as the 
event proved, were Barney's seamen, who manned the guns 
and steadily held their ground, while the infantry, who 
Ross's at- should have supported them, broke and fled. Ross at- 
tacked at one o'clock in the day with 1,500 men in two 
brigades, not waiting for the rest of his troops to come up. 
They crossed the bridge as best they could, and the left. 

THE WAR OF i8i2 22$ 

which was the light brigade, under Colonel Thornton, 
made a direct attack along the road, canying the house and 
pressing back the enemy on to the high ground behind the 
ravine. Here the American artillery hdd their own, 
Thornton attempting to outflank the position, until the 
right column, under Colonel Brooke, having broken and 
driven in the American left, came up in support of their 
cpmrades, and the whole American line was swept away. Defeat of 
Barney having fought his guns, ten of which were ^^ ^* 
taken, until all the infantry supports had disappeared, was 
compelled to retire, and, being wounded, was taken 
prisoner. On the British side Colonel Thornton was 
badly wounded and had to be left behind at Bladensbuig 
when the British troops retired from Washington. The 
fight only lasted for about an hour, and no military science 
was called into play, Ross accurately gauged the position, 
and with a small body of trained though tired men rushed 
it, rocket-fire supplementing the bayonet. The British 
losses were rather under 300, larger than would have been 
the case had time been taken to march round instead of 
making a frontal attack ; but time was of the essence of the 
enterprise ; it was a bold and somewhat hazardous dash 
in the heart of the enemy's country. 

After a short rest the general moved on towards Wash- ^^^P^' 
Ington, and reached the dty about eight o'clock in the ^^aSng* 
evening, by which time it was dark. Going on into the ^^^ 
outskirts of the town in advance of their troops, Ross and 
Cockbum were fired on from the Capitol and two ad j oining 
houses. The troops were then brought up and the houses 
and Capitol were taken and burnt ; the President's house I^^ 
was also burnt, and all the various public buildings. The Doiidingt 
Americans themselves, as the British troops entered Wash- ^'^"^^ 
ington, set fire to the navy yard and two ships lying off it. 
The burning of the stores and arsenal in this quarter was 
completed by Cockbum's seamen on the following day, the 
25th. ' In short, sir,' ran Cockbum's report to Cochrane, * I 
donotbelievea vestige of public property, or a store of any 
kind, which could be converted to the use of the govern- 

locm: waa O 


126 THE WAR OF i8ia 

ment, escaped destniction.* At the same time, by the ad- 
mission of the Americans themselves, the troops were kept 
carefully in hand^private property was rigorooslyrespected, 
and sudi looting as took place was the work of town loaf ers, 
alwa}^ ready on occasions of this kind to make free with 
their neighbours' property. On that same night, the night 
Rossre- of the 25th, Ross evacuated Washington and began his 
^ retreat throuf^ Bladensbuig, where he left the badly 
wounded of his force. The Americans, purposely led to 
believe that he would march on Baltimore, left him to 
return unmolested to Upper Marlborough, which jdace 
he reached on the evening of the 26th. On the evening 
of the 29th he arrived at Benedict, from which point he 
had started, and the army was re-embarked on the follow- 
ing day. 

At the time that Ross was retreating from Washington, 
the ships which had been sent up the Potomac and which 
British were commanded by Captain Gordon, attacked and took 
on the the fort against which they had been directed, Fort Wash- 
Potomac, ington, on the eastern bsmk of the river, about fourteen 
miles below Washington itself. Passing on up the river, 
Gordon hdd up to ransom the town of Alexandria, on the 
opposite bank of the river, and six or seven miles nearer 
the capital. Some ships and stores were ddivered up and 
carried off or destroyed, and, in spite of efforts which were 
made to intercept him on his return down the river, Gordon 
reached the bay again in safety in the early days of Sep« 
tember. Less successful was a similar diversion whidi 
was made at the same time on the opposite side of the 
^^ '^ Patuxent, by sending a frigate up Chesapeake bay itself, 
Chesa- above Baltimore. This ship, the Menelaus^ was com- 
^^ manded by Sir Peter Parker, new, it would seem, to the 
work. Landing on the night of August 30 with a detach- 
ment to attack a small force of American militia en- 
camped in the woods, Parker was ambushed and lost his 
life, while his men, after suffering somewhat heavily, made 
their way back to their ship. 
Sir Harry Smith who was sent home by Ross with the 

THE WAR OF i8ia 227 

dispatches reporting the fight at BladensBorg and the 
capture of Washington, and who returned to take part in 
the New Orleans expedition, tells us in his autobiography 
that he had strongly dissuaded Ross against an attmipt 
on Baltimore, which the latter was urged by the admirals Rom ad- 
to make ; that Ross had promised not to make it, but that bSS^ ^ 
he was overpersuaded or overruled, and, says Smith, more. 
* lost his gallant life from not following the dictates of hb 
own good sense and ability.' ^ Smith's arguments, among 
others, were that the Americans would be concentrated 
at Baltimore, and that the water approaches to Baltimore 
would be obstructed. Both these argumoits proved to be 
founded on fact. According to Sir Alexander Cochrane's 
official report, as the approaching equinoctial gales ren* 
dered it unsafe for the fleet to leave Chesapeake bay 
immediately after the return of the troops from Wash- 
ington, he and Ross resolved to make a demonstration 
against Baltimore, ' which might be converted into a real 
attack should circumstances appear to justify it.' The 
squadron therefore sailed up llie bay and anchored on 
September 11 off the mouth of the Patapsco River, 
which is the water-way to Baltimore harbour. The lighter 
vessels entered the river and landed the troops on its 
eastern bank a little higher up than North Point, which 
is the Old of the peninsula, along which, on this side of the 
river, was the land route to Baltimore, that dty being only 
thirteen miles distant from the place where the troops were 
disembarked. The landing took place on the early morn- 
ing of the I2th, and the force, over 3,000 in number, in- 
cluding a brigade of seamen and a number of marines, and 
accompanied as before by Admiral Cockbum, dislodged the 
Americans from oitrendiments which they were throwing 
up across the neck of the peninsula three miles further on. 
Continuing their march for about two miles, the advance 
guard of the army, with whom were Ross and Cockbum» 
became engaged with American skirmishers in dosely 
wooded country, and Ross, riding back to bring up 

^ AuMnography of Sir Harry Smiik» 1901, vol. U p. aax. 


228 THE WAR OF 1812 

Deatiioi supportjSf was mortaSfy wounded. Cdondi Brooke now 
^^^*^ took command, and pushed the Americans back to a point 
within five miles of Baltimore, where the Americans, 
according to Brooke about 6,000 in number, but probably 
not exceeding 4,500, were drawn up in a strong position, 
under cover of a wood, and lining a paling which crossed 
Defeat the main road. Brooke lost no time in makmg disposi- 
^^^^ tions for attack. It was in the main a frontal attack, but, 
cans. on the British right, the 4th regiment of the line made a 
detour and broke in, before the movement was discovered, 
upon the American left, stampeding a regiment directly 
opposed to them and throwing the whole line into con- 
fusion. After less than fifteen minutes* fighting according 
to Brooke's account, after one hour and twenty minutes 
according to the American general's report, the field was 
carried, and the Americans were broken and dispersed, 
leaving all their wounded and two guns behind them, 
Brooke encamped that night on the scene of the fight, 
and at daybreak on the next morning, the 13th, advanced 
i^e to within one and a half or two miles of Baltimore on its 
Baltimore eastern side. Here he reconnoitred the defences of the 
^^dtiieP ^^ ^^^ prepared for a night attack. Meanwhile, how- 
Britiah ever, Cochrane, who had been moving up the river with 
^?^ his light vessels, found the mouth of the harbour barred 
drawn to by sunkoi ships, guarded within by gunboats, and flanked 
the8hq;». ^^ either shore by batteries and fortifications. Naval 
co-operation was therefore impossible, and rather than 
incur the risk of a land attack unsupported by the ships, 
Brooke drew off his men very early on the morning of the 
14th for about three miles to the spot where the fight had 
taken place, and, after a halt of some hours, retreated for 
another three miles and a half, and encamped for the night. 
By his leisurely retreat he invited a forward movement on 
the part of the Americans, but they made no serious at- 
tempt at pursuit, and on the 15th the troops were marched 
back to the point where they had landed and replaced on 
board the ships* Brooke reported that he carried off 200 
prisoners, ^ being persons of the best families in the city,' 

THE WAR OF 1812 229 

but the expedition had not been a success. A considerable 
amount of damage had been caused, a greater amount of 
apprehension had been aroused, but Baltimore had not 
been taken, and the loss of Ross was irreparable. This 
enterprise concluded the serious operations in Chesapeake Cancin- 
bay. Cochrane sailed ofE to Halifax, Cockbum to Ber-^^*^* 
muda, preparations being in hand for the invasion of the turns in 
Southern states. Rear- Admiral Malcolm waited for ape^* 
while with the troop-ships and looked into the Potomac. W- 
In the middle of October he too went off with the troops 
to Jamaica, which had been appointed as a rendezvous ; 
and Captain Barrie, the able commander of the Dragon, 
newly arrived from the Poiobscot expedition, took charge 
in Chesapeake bay until late in December, when he was 
ordered south, leaving two or three ships behind to be in 
evidence in the bay. 

The capture of Washington was the central point in these Com- 
operations. The burning of the public buildings, much ^^tto 
criticized at the time and ever since, requires a brief notice ^^^ 
in this book because it has a direct bearing upon the colo- tmbiic 
nial history of Great Britain. That the action of t^^^^j^^ 
British government and their agents in the matter should ingtoo. 
be condemned by the Americans was only natural. Whoi 
Monroe wrote to Cochrane that ' we must go back to dis- 
tant and barbarous ages to find a parallel for the acts of 
which I complain ' ; when President Madison issued a pro- 
clamation declaring that the proceedings exhibited * a deli- 
berate disregard of the principles of humanity and the 
rules of civilized warfare' ; they were using language dic- 
tated alike by the bitterness and resentmoit which the 
proceedings called forth, and by the necessities of State 
policy. Equally, when Mr. Whitbread, on the following 
8th of November, in the Debate on the Address in the 
British House of Commons, denounced what had been 
done as * a transaction so discordant to every example of 
the civilized world, so abhorrent to every principle of In- 
timate warfare, so inconsistent with the free and generous 
nation whose officers were the perpetrators of it, and so 

230 THE WAR OF 1812 

detested and abhorred by all who respected the character 
of their country and the dvil rights of the world ' ; when 
he exclaimed that 'we had d<me what the Goths refused to 
do at Rome'; he was using the language of those members 
of a Parliamentary Opposition who can find nothing too 
bad to say of their own country so long as it is governed by 
their political opponents. But when we read in Sir Harry 
Smith's autobiography^ that 'fresh from the Duke's 
humane warfare in the south of France we were horrified 
at the order to bum the elegant Houses of Parliament 
and the President's house ' ; when he writes of burning 
the 'Capitol and other buildings with the ruthless fire* 
brand of the Red Savages of the woods ' ; or again, when 
a modem British historian gives as his verdict that ' few 
more shameful acts are recorded in our history, and it was 
the more shameful in that it was done under strict orders 
from the government at home ' ' ; it is worth while to try 
to make the transaction intelligible, whether it should be 
condemned or whether it shotdd not. 

The burning of the public buildings at Washington was 
no wanton outrage. It was dcme deliberatdy under defi- 
nite instractions, as an act of retaliation or retribution, 
and it was accompanied by rigid regard on the part of the 
army of occupation for the rights of private property. 
Was it a justifiable act ? and if so, was it in any sense 
politic or expedient ? The British government hdd that 
there had been a series of excesses in Canada on the part 
of the Americans, for which retribution ought to be ex- 
acted. To this Mr. Whitbread's rejoinder was that ' No 
atrocity on the part of our enemies could justify this coun- 
try in retaliating by the commission of similar crimes ' ; 
while Monroe contended in his letter to Sir Alexander 
Cochrane that there had been outrages on the British side 
and that, if any actions had been committed by the 
American army which were not justified by the necessities 
of war, the ^nerican government had disavowed them 

* Vol. i, pp. S00-20X. 

* Qnm's Skari History of ik$ English People, thaip. x^ 9Kt 4. 

THE WAR OF i8i« 23* 

and the officers immediately responsible for them had in 
some cases been pmiished. It is noteworthy, however, 
that Monroe, while specifying the burning of Newark and 
St. David's, and while referring to the armed occupation 
of capitals on the continent of Europe, made no reference 
to the destruction of the public buildings at York. Yet, as 
the Qiancellor of the Exchequer pointed out in reply to 
Mr. Whitbread, here the Americans ' had destroyed a capi- 
tal, for be it remembered that York was the capital of 
Upper Canada. Although a small town it was a capital, 
and, among other public and private buildings, the House 
of Assembly and the house of the governor had been burnt 
to the ground '• The burning of the public buildings at 
Washington was therefore a direct reprisal in kind. The 
village of Newark, it must be remembered, had also in its 
turn been once the seat of the Legislature of Upper Canada ; 
its burning had been difficult or impossible to justify as 
a military necessity ; and though the proceeding had been 
disavowed by the American government, it was not the 
last act of the kind during the war. There seems there* 
fore, prim& fade, to have been good excuse or justification 
for the deliberate action taken atWashingt(m,and the argu- 
ments to the contrary must rest <m the evidence as to how 
far the prior acts of the Americans had been either provoked 
by outrages on the British side or already adequately 
punished by British reprisals, and also on an estimate as 
to the greater vandalhm implied in burning the larger 
town and richer buildings. 

Assuming, however, that the destruction of Washington 
can be justified, it does not follow that it was politic and 
expedient. At first sight it would seem to have been a 
singularly unwise act. Then, as now, England with her 
world-wide interests could least among peoples afford to 
offend or appear to offend against the conscience or the 
susceptibilities of civilized nations. Moreover, at the time 
when Washington was occupied and the buildings were 
burnt, peace negotiations were being activdy carried on, 
and the destruction of the capital of one of the contending 

pWO^^pg^Bl^^p^^^^^^uiB III atfi 

S32 THE WAR OF i8i4 

parties by the other can hardly have been ccmsidared likely 
to conduce to reconciliation. Most of all, the strength of 
England in this war consisted laigely in the division of 
opinion in the United States, and if there was one act more 
than another which was likely to heal the differences, and 
to rally the Northern states to the side of the war, it might 
have been supposed that the destruction of the Federal 
capital would have that effect. But there is more to be 
said for the policy of this high-handed action of the British 
government than at first appears. Sir Harry Smith sug- 
gests that the complete destruction of Washington had been 
contemplated with a view to the removal of the capital 
further north, among the states more friendly to England. 
This suggestion can be passed by ; and no great stress 
need be laid on the statement made by Goulbum, one of 
the British n^otiators of the Treaty of Ghent, that it was 
the capture of Washington which enabled the British repre- 
sentatives to carry through one of the debatable articles of 
the treaty — ^the provision for the protection of the Indians ; 
nor again, on the statement made by Lord Liverpool, that 
the English gained more credit among the Americans by 
their respect for private property at Washington than they 
lost by the destruction of the public works and buildings. 
The real ground upon which both the expediency and the 
justice of the action can be defended is to be found else- 
where. We must go back again to the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer's words, and his reminder of the burning of 
York. * Be it remembered that York was the capital of 
Upper Canada. Although a small town it was a capital.* 
It was not in England itself that the acts had been com- 
mitted for which the burning of the public buildings at 
Washington was avowedly a reprisal. It was in a British 
colony, and that colony one of the youngest of all, settled 
by men who had already suffered for lo3^ty to Great 
Britain. It was then: settlements which had been burnt, 
it was their little capital whose buildings had been de- 
stroyed. In exacting retribution in kind the British 
govenmient were not paying off a score of their own. 

THE WAR OF i8ia 233 

except so far as the^ identified themselves with their 
colonists ; they were illustrating in practical and emphatic 
fashion that for eveiy injury done to her colonies reprisal 
wotdd be meted out in full measure by the mother-country. 
The colonial history of Great Britain records that the rights 
and wrongs of the colonies have not always been fully 
weighed, when war and peace with some foreign nation 
have been in the balance. This at any rate was one in- 
stance to the contrary. York might be a tiny capital, the 
British settlers in Upper Canada mig^t be few in number, 
it might be expedient to be generous and forbearing in 
dealings with the United States, in order to cultivate their 
good graces for the time to come ; but, whether the burning 
of the Washington buildings was right or wrong, whether it 
was politic or whether it was not. Lord Liverpool's govern- 
ment, in taking the responsibility for it, consciously or 
unconsciously, acted on a sound, wholesome, and not un- 
generous instinct that the wrongs of the colonies should 
be requited upon the wrongdoers not less but more than if 
they had been directly inflicted upon the motherland 

The last episode in the war of 1812 was a British expe- The New 
dition against the Southern states. Here the in vaders ^^i^! 
were confronted by the best leader who came to the front ti<n* 
on the American side during the war, Andrew Jackson. Andrew 
Florida at the time belonged to Spain, but its neutrality ^"^ *™* 
was indifferently respected on either side. From the time 
when the Americans had bought Louisiana from Spain 
there had been a boundary dispute between the two 

Powers. It was daimed by the Americans that Louisiana 9p^* 
included on the east all or part of West Florida ; and Florida, 
eventually, in 1812, they appropriated the debatable ter- 
ritory as far east as the Perdido river, annexing the dis- 
trict between the Pearl river and the Perdido, including 
Mobile bay, to Mississippi territory. In the following 
year, 1813, General Wilkinson, then commanding at New 
Orleans, established a military post at Fort Bowyer on the 
eastern side of the entrance to Mobile bay. Pensacola 

234 THE WAR OF iSiz 

in West Florida, just bqrond the Perdido river, was still 
held by Spain ; and here, in 1814, the En^^ish put in an 
appearance, apparently as friends and allies of Spain, for 
on August 29, 1814, a British officer, Major NichoUs 
by name, issued from that place an outrageous mani- 
festo against the American government addressed to the 
northern and western inhabitants of the United States. 
In this document Nichdls described himself as at the head 
of a large body of Indians commanded by British officers 
and supported by a British and Spanish squadron. There 
were four small British ships at the time lying ofi 
Pensacola; and about a fortnight later, on September 
15, these vessels, carrying NichoDs with some marines 
Abortive and Indians, appeared before Fort Bowyer and made an 
attempt sittempt on the fort. The attack was a complete failure, 
^^^ uid one of the ships was lost. In turn Jackson, who had 
^'^"^^^' taken Wilkinson's place, came up to Mobile, collected a 
force and marched on Pensacola. He appeared before 
the place on the evening of November 6, and on the 
following day, after a show of fighting, occupied the town. 
NichoUs, who was holding a fort called the Barancas, some 
miles below Pensacola and nearer the sea, blew it up and 
retreated with such force as he had under his command ; 
and Jackson, having thus cleared West Florida of his 
enemies, returned to defend New Orleans. 

The British troops and ships destined to attack that 
place had for the most part gathered at Jamaica. Sir 
Alexander Cochrane, as before, commanded the ships. 
Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law of the Duke of Wel- 
lington, a distinguished Peninsular officer, was appointed 
to command the army in succession to General Ross, but 
did not reach the scene of action before New Orleans 
until the initial operations were over. On December 8 
Cochrane, in his flagship the Tonnant, anchored off the 
Chandeleur islands between the mouths of the Mississippi 
and Mobile bay, south and east of the shortest water-way 
to New Orleans. That water-way, too shallow then as 
now for sea-going ships, is by Lake Boigne and Lake 

THE WAR OF 1812 235 

Pontchartrainy which with the connecting channels run 
nearly east and west, forming an acute angle with the 
course of the Mississippi below New Orleans. New Orleans 
Ues between Lake Pontchartrain <m the north and the Mis- Orleans, 
sissippi <m the south, for the Mississippi here runs in a 
curving course from west to east, veiy roughly parallel to 
the lakes. About seven miles in a direct Une across coun- 
try below the city» though fai more by the course of the 
winding stream, the river turns to the south-east to flow 
direct into the Gulf of Mexico ; and some little distance 
above this turn, following the left or eastern bank of the 
river, is the scene of the battle of New Orleans. The 
British commanders decided to attempt a landing within 
measurable distance of the dty by the way of Lake 
Borgne ; and, in order to effect this object, it was neces- 
sary to gain command of that lake and its approaches by 
first disposing of a small flotilla of American gunboats The 

which was on guard. The Tannant and the heavier vessels no^H^ 
of the British squadron were, as already stated, anchored ?^^^ 
off the Chandeleur islands, the lighter ships were anchored altered, 
further north near the entrance to Lake Borgne, among 
the islets which line the mainland coast from Mobile bay 
to that lake. From this latter anchorage, <m the night 
of December 12, over forty boats, formed in three 
divisions, and carrying upwards of x,ooo sailors and 
marines, started to try conclusions with the American 
gunboats. The latter, five in number, retreated up the 
lake, intending to gain, if hard pressed, the shelter of a 
small fort called Petite Coquille, which had been con- 
structed on the channd from Lake Pontchartrain into 
Lake Borgne, known as the Rigdets. Want of wind and 
a strong ebb tide prevented them from reaching the upper 
end of the lake ; and, after rowing for thirty-six hours, the 
British boats came up with them on the morning of the 
14th, anchored in Une off the Isles aux Malheureux, about 
half-way up the lake ^. Having previously intercepted an 

^ This is the account given by the commander of tiie American gun- 
boats in his subsequent report; he says that the gunboats wsce moored 

236 THE WAR OF 1812 ^ 

American sloop which was endeavouring to join her friends, 
the British boats, rowing against a strong current and 
under heavy fire, at length came to dose quarters about 
noon. There was a short but sharp fight, the Americans 
defending themselves bravely and inflicting a loss on their 
enemies of at least 100 men in killed and wounded ; but 
numbers prevailed, the American commodore's vessel was 
boarded and overpowered, and, her guns being turned 
upon her consorts, the whole little flotilla was captured. 

Lake Borgne being thus cleared, Cochrane and General 

Keane, who commanded the land forces in Pakenham's 

The absence, made arrangements for landing the troops. Be- 

trocms tween the i6th and the 22nd the greater part of the force 

^ WH ^'^^^ carried to the head of Lake Borgne, and temporarily 

of the disembarked at the Isle aux Poix, a swampy islet at the 

^2^^^ mouth of the Pearl river, which runs into the Rigolets. 

gain ' It was decided not to attempt to force the passage of the 

to N^^ Rigolets and proceed by Lake Pontchartrain, but to trans* 

Orleans port the army across Lake Borgne and up the Bayou 

easteni Catalan or Bienvenu, a creek which runs into the lake at 

Sf^iS^ its upper end, and on its southern side — ^the side towards 

sisappi. the Ifississippi. The head of the creek, which had been 

duly reconnoitred, was within a mile and a half of the high 

road to New Orleans, which ran along the left or eastern 

bank of the Mississippi within a mile of that river, the dty 

of New Orleans by the road being at this point six to seven 

miles distant. This road was to be gained as a necessary 

preliminary to a further advance. On the morning of the 

22nd, the troops were embarked at the mouth of the Pearl 

river, the advance guard, consisting of rather over 1,600 

men, being placed in boats, and the second division, num* 

bering about 2,400 men, in vessels as large as could be 

brought into the lake. The latter all, or nearly all, grounded 

in succession on the way across the lake, before they were 

' in the west end of Malheoreox island's passage '. The commander of 
the British boats BByt that ^bi&y were anchored off St. Joseph's Island, 
which is much nearer the entrance to Lake Borgne from the sea. General 
Jackson, on the other hand, reported that the gunboats were lost ' near 
the Pass of tiie Rigolets ', ie. at the upper end of the lake. 

THE WAR OF 1812 237 

within ten miles of the mouth of the creek; and the 
advance guard pushed on alone and at midnight reached 
the mouth of the creek, where an American picket was 
surprised and cut off. The boats moved up the creek, and 
the men were landed at its head at daybreak on the 23rd. 
This advance corps, with which were General Keane and 
Rear-Admiral Malcohn, was the light brigade, commanded 
by Colonel Thornton, the gallant officer who had led them 
at Bladensbuig, where he had been badly wounded. In two 
hours* time after they were landed, the engineers opened 
a track towards the Mississippi through what General 
Keane describes in his dispatch as * several fields of reeds, 
intersected by deep muddy ditches, bordered by a low 
swampy wood*. It was a belt of marsh land, laigdy over^ 
grown with cypress wood. Advancing by this line,«Thom- 
ton and his men gained the high road, intercepting and 
capturing a company of American militia which was posted 
at a plantation adjoining the road, and took up a position 
between the road and the river, the right resting on the 
road, the left upon the river. 

After the many hours* row across the lake, followed by jadnoo 
the march through the swamp, the troops rested, while ^^^^' 
the boats which had brought them went back to fetch the beatenoff. 
remainder of the force from the grounded vessels. Mean* 
while, Jackson at New Orleans, about two o'clock in the day, 
had heard of what had tak^ place, and wisdy determined to 
strike at once. Collecting, according to his account, about 
1,500 men, but apparently a rather larger number, and 
supported by an armed schooner, the Coro/tiia, which with 
two gunboats dropped down the Mississippi and anchored 
abreast of the British position, he neared the encampment 
about seven o'clock in the evening, and made his disposi^ 
tions to attack. At eight o'clock the British troops, most 
of them sleeping off their fatigue, found themsdves under 
a hot fire from the schooner. They took what cover they 
cotdd, and were forthwith attacked by Jackson. A fog 
came on. According to the American general's report, it 
saved the British force from being annihilated. According 

238 THE WAR OF z8i2 

to General Keane ^ it enabled the Americans to decoy one 
or more of the British regiments into their midst, with the 
result that there was at one time a confused melteof hand* 
to-hand fighting. The Americans made, it would seem, 
several attacks, more especially against the British ri^^t 
flank which, until supports came up, was in danger of being 
turned, and against the centre. Eventually, about mid- 
night, Jackson drew ofi his men, and early on the next 
morning took up a position nearer to New Orleans. Keane 
also moved forward for a short distance. The Americans 
had beenrq>ulsed,but had inflicted a considerable loss upon 
Keane*s small army, for the British kflled, wounded, and 
missing amounted to 277 out of a force which at the end 
of the fighting seems to have numbered in all a little over 
2,000 men. The American casualties were returned at 
SirE. 213. Two days later, on Christmas day, Sir Edward 

j^^' Psdcenham arrived and took over the conmiand from 
arrives Keane, the British force now numbering 5,000 men. 
^^QQu^ On the 27th Pakenham's guns succeeded, by firing hot 
^^^ shot, in destro3ring the Carolina, but another armed ship, 
lorces. which Served the Americans on the Mississippi, made good 
her escape, and continued to molest the British encamp- 
ment. Early on the 28th Pakenham made a reconnais* 
sance in force against Jackson*s position, but effected 
nothing. Heavier guns were brought up, batteries were 
constructed in advance of the British position, so far as it 
was possible to construct such works upon a morass, and 
on January i the artillery opened fire upon Jackson's 
lines, the troops being formed in two colunms to attack in 
the event of the gun-fire proving effectual. It was aU to 
no purpose. The guns were overpowered by Jackson's 
artillery and by a battery which the American commodore 
had erected on the other side of the river, here hardly 800 
jrards wide. The troops were accordingly brought back 
into their encampment, and when night came on the guns 

' From General Keane's dispatch he seems himself not to have been 
on the spot in the earlier stages of the fight, bnt to have taken oodounaad 
later in the engagement. 

THE WAR OF 1812 235 

were also withdrawn. The difficulties of the situation for 
the attacking force became painfully apparent. Jackson 
must be driven from his position if New Orleans was to be 
reached ; but that position was well nigh impregnable and 
every day added to its strength. 

Sir John Lambert had for some time been expected with General 
a fresh brigade, and on January 6 he arrived with^]^]^[^ 
two fine regiments of the line. Pakenham then proceeded ^<*^' 
to put into execution a plan which he had formed for dis- ^ve. 
lodging Jackson — ^the only possible plan under the drcum^ 
stances. It was to combine a frontal night attack upon 
the main American position with an attack upon the bat- 
teries on the opposite bank of the river. Could those lUeif 
batteries be taken, the guns which mauled the British ^^'^ 
troops in flank whenever they moved forward, could be action— 
used against Jackson and his men, and in turn make their aimuita- 
lines untenable. It will be remembered that the English ^^?!^ 
had no hold on the Mississippi. Some small ships from sidesof 
Cochrane's squadron had been sent round to the mouth of ^^ 
the river, to make their way up stream as far as possible, 
and thereby create a diversion ; but they were not in 
evidence until January g, after the fighting was 
over, and then they were still in the lower reaches of the 
river, where they bombarded a fort named Fort St. Philip 
at the Plaquemine bend, about forty miles from the sea. 
The bombardment went on until January 17 without 
producing any efiEect, and then the vessels were with- 
drawn. Pakenham found himself under the necessity 
of bringing the boats, which had transported the troops 
over Lake Borgne, to the Mississippi, in order to ferry the 
force intended to attack the batteries on the ri^t bank 
across the river. The channel of the Mississippi was at 
a higher level than Lake Borgne and its creeks or bayous ; 
and, when the river was full, if its banks were cut, the water 
flowed into small canals or laige ditches which had been 
carried by the plantation owners across the intervening 
land, and were used, among other purposes, for saw mills. 
One of these canals ran from the head of the Bienvenu 

24a THE WAR OF 1812 

creek towards the river just behind the British encamp- 
ment, and along the line by which the troops had come. 
This canal was cleared and deepened, and extended right 
up to the bank of the river ; and, the boats having been 
dragged into it, the canal was dammed behind them, so as 
to make a lock which would be filled when the river bank 
was cut, thereby enabling the boats to go out into the 
Mississippi. The bank was to be cut, and the boats were 
to carry the troops detailed for the purpose over the river 
on the night of the 7th ; and, before day broke on the 8tfa, 
there was to be a simultaneous attack on the American 
positions on both banks. Pakenham had under his com- 
mand, all told, between 8,000 and 9,000 men. Of these, 
6,000 formed the force destined to attack Jackson's lines 
Dispoei- on the left bank of the Mississippi. They were disposed 
BrU^^^^ in three columns, under Colcmd Rennie, General Keane, 
^ and General Gibbs, to attack the extreme right on the 
river bank, the right centre, and the left of the enemy, 
while General Lambert's brigade was hdd in reserve.^ 
The main attack was to be made by Gibbs and his men on 
the American left, and the whole movement was to be sup- 
ported by artillery moved up during the night and posted 
within 800 yards of the American lines. To Colonel 
Thornton was entrusted the charge of attacking the bat- 
teries on the right bank, and about 1,500 men, it would 
seem, had been placed for the purpose under his command. 
The success of the difficult combined movement depended 
upon the two attacks being made simultaneously, and 
before the dear lig^t of day exposed the troops, as they 
advanced over the bare flat, to the combined fire of the 
strength Nature and considerable military skill had united to 
Jackson's °^^ Jackson's position one of the greatest strength for 
position, defence purposes. He had diosen a spot where the space 

^ This is the disposition of tiie troops given in Sir Harry Smith's 
autobiography. General Lambert's dispatch does not mention Colonel 
Kenny's, or Rennie's column, as it was part of the brigade under 
General Keane's command, 

THE WAR OF x8i2 241 

between the river and the C3^ress swamp was contracted to 
1,000 yards. Here he had formed his lines. He had 
thrown up earthworks both in front of and behind one of 
the canals already mentioned, this particular canal having 
been previously disused, but now for the purpose in hand 
cleared and filled again with water by cutting the river 
bank. Far into the swamp he had carried his defences ; 
there was no possibility of turning his line in this direction. 
The river protected his other flank, and not only the river 
but the batteries upon the further side, which completely 
enfiladed the position. On his own side of the river guns 
were disposed along the whole Une of the entrenchments. 
Nor was this all. Had he been forced back from the 
ground which he had thus chosen and fortified, he had 
thrown up two other lines of defences in his rear, one a 
mile and a half, the other over two miles nearer the city. 
Clearly he meant to fight every inch of the ground— 
a skilled soldier and a brave, stubborn man. Strong again 
was the position on the right bank, but not so strong as 
were Jackson's own lines. Here nearly all the guns were 
concentrated on the edge of the river and directed against 
the enemy on the other side of the Mississippi, leaving the 
inland line of defences on the right bank inadequately 
provided with artillery. This end of the Une, moreover, 
was hardly carried up to the wood and swamp which, as 
on the other bank, flanked the position ; and therefore 
there was a possibility of the assailants turning the line at 
this point — ^the point furthest removed from the river. 
Jackson had in the last few da}^ received reinforcements 
of over 2,000 men from Kentucky ; but ihey were raw 
levies, ill equipped and badly armed. Even with this 
addition his total forces seem hardly to have exceeded 
6,000 men ^, of whom between 1,500 and 2,000 were even- 
tually detached to defend the right bank ; but the Ameri- 

* The American nnmben are difficult to make oot with any 
accoracy. Sir Harry Smith spoke of them as vastly superior to those 
of the British troops, bnt this seems dearly to have been an 

UlCAt : WAft K 

24a THE WAR OF i8ia . 

can anny had a good commander, and an admirable posi- 
tion; and before the attack was ddivered they were 
apprised of what was coming. 

Pakenham had doubted whether the dam which his 
engineers had constructed was of sufficient strength to 
Delay in hold the water, and his doubts were justified. When the 
Log to^ bank of the Mississippi was cut, after nightfall on the 7th, 
mhtbank the water pouring in broke the dam, and some time was 
rivtfr spent in repairing it. Meanwhile the river was falling, 
and the supply of water became inadequate. Precious 
hours were tilius lost ; and, after some of the boats had 
been at length dragged into the river and filled with troops, 
the strong current prolonged the crossing, so that day had 
broken before a part only of Thornton's men were landed 
Thornton on the other side. They numbered 600. Thornton, seeing 
^^1^^ that the main attack on the left bank had already b^gun, 
position led his force on at once, two or three armed boats keq>ing 
right^ pace with him <m the river. Driving in an advanced 
^^^'^ picket, he reconnoitred the American position at a distance 
of 700 yards, recognized its weak point, and sent a detach* 
ment to turn its right. Here some of the newly arrived 
Kentuckians were posted ; and though, as the English 
advanced, the American guns on the river bank, which had 
hitherto been directing their fire on Pakenham's army, 
were turned round to check Thornton and his men, the 
American right on this side made no stand, but broke and 
fled. Thornton then ordered a general attack with his 
whole small force and took the position, though in doing 
so he himself was disabled by wounds. This part of the 
movement had been a complete success, but it was all to 
no purpose. The surprise had failed, the combination 
had failed, and the main British army had been cut to 
Complete Pakenham had hdd his troops in hand till the day was 
ttS^M^ breaking; then, fearing to lose what Uttle cover the mom- 
attack on ing mists might give, he ordered the whole line f orwanL 
banMHth La<lders and fascines had been prepared for crossing the 
heavy I068 ditch ; the 44th regiment was to bring them up, but by 

THE WAR OF 1812 243 

some neglect or misonderstanding they were left behind, to the 
and were fetched too late. The advancing columns, while ^^^^ 
still more than 200 yards from the American entrench- 
ments, were clearly exposed to view; and then from 
behind the ditch and earthworks there came what Sir 
Harry Smith, the man of many fights, has described as 
* the most murderous and destructive fire of all arms ever 
poured upon colunm '. To encourage his men, who began Death of 
to falter, Pakenham galloped up to the head of the^jj^. 
colimms, and was killed. General Gibbs was mortally ham. 
wounded, and died next day. GeQeral Keane was badly 
wounded ; Colonel Rennie was killed. Many of the soldiers 
reached the works, and scrambled into the ditch, to be 
shot down, drowned, wounded, or taken prisoners. Two 
companies of the 21st r^[iment and many of the riflemen 
gained a footing within the entrenchments, but, unsup^ 
ported and overpowered, were compelled to surrender* 
All was confusion and useless bloodshed, until Lambert^ 
bringing up the reserve, did what could be done to steady 
and re-form the broken throng of retreating men, and held 
his ground at a little distance from the scene of the attack, 
until the situation could be rightly judged. It was still 
not ten o'clock in the morning. About that time, hearing Lambert 
of Thornton's success, he sent the commanding artillery ^adP 
officer across the river to report whether the captured posi- Thorn- 
tion could be held, and that officer gave as his opinion that troops 
it could be held with security only by 2,000 men. Lambert 5S j^^ 
accordingly decided to abandon it, and on the same day, of the 
under cover of fog, brought back Thornton's troops to the ^^^* 
left bank of the river, just as the Americans on the right 
bank, whom Jackson had reinforced, were preparing to 
make an effort to regain what they had lost. On that 
night, the night of the 8th, all that remained of the army and 
was replaced in its old encampment. On the following the expe- 
day, Lambert decided to abandon any farther attempt on <iitloD« 
New Orleans, but kept his ground until the night of the 
i8th, when the troops were brought back to the lower end 
of the Bienvenu creek ; and unmolested by the enemy, 


244 "HIE WAR OF i8i2 

between the 27th and the 30th, they were all, with the 
exception of a few too badly wounded to be moved, 

In this disastrous engagement the British casualties 
were fully 2,000, the American losses were trifling ^. To 
RevMw of some small extent the fight recalls Abercromby's headlong 
and of the ^^d hopeless attempt to dislodge Montcalm from Fort 
pi^^^^ Ticonderoga in 1758. A nearer parallel is found in our 
t^ * own day in the battle of Biagersfontein. It was said that 
in the attack some of the British troops were found want- 
ing, but Jackson bore witness to the firmness of the ad- 
vance and the determination with which the attack was 
pressed. Taken as a whole, the British infantry did all 
that men could do, but were asked to do more than human 
nature could carry through. The delay in the attack and 
the want of support from the opposite bank, made the 
attempt impossible. Lambert's subsequent withdrawal of 
Thornton's men from the position which they had gained 
was criticized, and the criticism received some support 
from the testimony which Jackson bore to the importance 
of the position. In his report of the day's proceedings to 
the American Secretary of War, after mentioning the re- 
crossing of the British troops who had taken and occupied 
the American lines on the right bank, he added : ^ I need 
not tell you with how much eagerness I immediately re- 
gained possession of the position he had thus happily 
quitted.' Yet there can be little doubt that Lambert 
showed sound judgment in bringing back these men, and 
equally sound judgment in abandoning the whole expe- 
dition, for there was not one position only to be carried, 
not one more fight only to be won, before the British army 
could reach New Orleans. We may well take Sir Harry 
Smith's verdict that the plan of the expedition was faulty 
from the beginning, and that the army should never have 
been placed in the position in which it was when Paken- 

^ The American returns of the fight as printed in books on the war 
are confasing. Apparently they lost on this particular day sixty or 
seventy men. 

THE WAR OF i8ia ^45 

ham took up the command, seeing that the Americans^ 
not the English, had command of the Mississippi. We 
may take the same good authority, too, for the view that 
when Keane had taken up his ground by the Mississippi 
and beaten off Jackson, he should without loss of time, and 
in spite of risks, have advanced at once before his enemies 
had time to develop their defences. When Pakenham 
came, there was no alternative but either to retreat alto- 
gether or to make the attempt which failed so disastrously. 
He made it with what precautions he could ; those precau- 
tions miscarried, and with many of the men who followed 
him he met a soldier's death. But there is another point 
of view also to be considered, and the due to it is given in 
an interview which Sir Harry Smith tells us that he had 
with Jackson's Adjutant-General after the battle. The 
American officer had a drawn sword and no scabbard, and 
the reason he gave was, * Because I reckon a scabbard of 
no use so long as one of you Britishers is on our soil. We 
don't wish to shoot you, but we must if you molest our 
property. We have thrown away the scabbard.' The 
Americans had learnt in Canada what was the price of 
invasion, the English learnt the same lesson before New 
Orleans. At Bladensbuig the men who fought in defence 
of their capital had no leader worthy the name. New 
Orleans was defended by a determined soldier, and under 
his leadership patriotism was a formidable force. 

This great disaster to the British cause, great in propor- 
tion to the other encounters in this war, and very consider- 
able in itself, was followed by a small success. Intending 
to operate against Mobile, Lambert and Cochrane decided, 
as a necessary preliminary, to take Fort Bowyer, the Lambert 
American post at the entrance of Mobile bay, which ^^J^^ 
had, as already told, in the previous September beaten 
off a small na^ attack. On the morning of February 8, 
a brigade was landed within three miles of the fort, and 
advancing to within nearly 300 yards of the defences, 
cooped up the Americans within them. A battering train 
was landed, lines were pushed forward dose to the fort» 

246 THE WAR OF iSiz 

and m the morning of the nth the guns were in position 
and ready to open fire. Before firing b^gan, Lambert 
sent his military secretary, the future Sir Harry Smith, 
to the fort to demand immediate surrender, and after a 
short demur terms of capitulation were signed, under 
which a British guard took possession of the gate of the 
fort at three o'clock on the same day, and at noon on the 
following day the American garrison, numbering rather 
over 360 men, marched out as prisoners of war. General 
Winchester, commanding at Mobile, had sent a detachment 
down the bay to try and draw off the besi^;ing force, but 
they did not arrive in the neighbourhood of the fort imtil 
twenty-four hours after the surrender had taken place. 
The main body of the British army had already been 
landed on the Isle Dauphin, off the entrance of Mobile 
bay, and as on February 14, three days after the surrender 
of Fort Bowyer, news was received that the Treaty of 
Ghent had been signed, hostilities were suspended, and 
the troops remained on the island until at the beginning 
of March they learnt that the Peace had been ratified by 
the President of the United States, when they were again 
embarked and sent home. The treaty had been signed 
on December 24, 1814, °^oi^ than a fortnight before the 
battle of New Orleans was fought. It was ratified by 
President Madison on the following February 18. 
Opera- While these operations were being carried out in the 
^J*^^ Gulf of Mexico, there had been some trifling warfare on 
of the coast of Geoigia. Captain Barrie, under Admiral 

^^*^^ Cockbtun's orders, came down with some ships from 
Chesapeake bay and reached Cumberland Island, off the 
southern coast of the state, on January 10. That island 
was made the rendezvous. On the 13th Barrie took a 
small fort at Point Petre conmianding the entrance to 
St. Maxy's river, the border river between Georgia and 
Florida, and on the following day sent a force up the river 
which did some damage. On the 15th Admiral Cockbum 
arrived, and the force waited at Cumberland Island for 
troops which were expected to join the expedition under 

THE WAR OF i8i2 247 

the command of General Ifanley Power. Upon their arrival 
an attempt was to be made on Savannah, These troops 
never came, having been diverted to reinforce Lambert's 
command, and nothing was done heyoad a second and an 
abortive little raid up St. Mary's river on February 22, 
which, with the exception of bdated actions on the, high Eodof 
seas, was the last act of the war. 

Thb Treaty of Ghent and General Summary 

The Treaty of Ghent was the result of prolonged nego- 
tiations. As soon as war broke out between Great Britain 
RuMian and the United States, the Emperor of Rudda interested 
^^^^^ himself in endeavouring to restore peace, and in March, 
refused by 1813, he formally offered to act as an intermediary between 
BrSiio. ^^^ two nations. His offer was accepted by the American 
government, and in May, 1813, conunissioners to act for 
the United States left that country for St. Petersburg. 
The British government, on the other hand, refused Rus- 
sian mediation, for there was no sign that Madison and his 
advisers were prepared to recede from the position which 
they had taken up in declaring war, and no doubt many 
in England shared the view of the Duke of Wdlingtcni, 
who, in a private letter dated May 23, 1813, wrote: 
*The object of this offer must be to create a division 
between us and the Russians^.* In the following Sep- 
tember, however, the British minister at St. Petersburg 
was instructed to inform the Russian government that 
The Great Britain would be prepared to negotiate directly with 
^tfn- *^® United States— London, or Gottenburg in Sweden, 
ment offer being Suggested as a suitable place for the conference ; 
^^1^ and in November Lord Castlereagh conmiunicated the offer 
directly direct to Mouroe, the American Secretary of State, assuring 
United him that the British government would earnestly desire 
States. iQ bring the negotiations to a favourable issue ^ upon prin- 
ciples of a perfect reciprocity not inconsistent with the 
established maxims of public law, and with the maritime 
The offer rights of the British Empire'. The invitation was ac- 
«»«P*«i* cepted in January, 1814, by the American government, 
who chose Gottenbuig as the place of meeting, and 

* WeiHngion's D$ipateke9 (Garwood), 1838 ed., voL x, p. 395. 

THE WAR OF 1812 24^ 

expressed in their turn a sincere desire to terminate the 
war *on conditions of reciprocity consistent with the 
rights of both parties as sovereign and independent 
nations, and calculated not only to establish present har- 
mony, but to provide as far as possible against future 
collisions which might interrupt it '. Subsequently Ghent The Coo- 
was substituted for Gottenbuig as the place of meeting, ^^\t 
and there, on August 8, 1814, the negotiations began, the Ghent. 
American commissioners being now five in number, while 
Great Britain was represented by three. 

When in the previous year the American government 
accepted the Russian offer of mediation, and peace envoys 
were in consequence sent to St- Petersburg, their instruc-Or^ 
tions were to the effect that the principal causes of the war tjons 
were impressment of American seamen, and illegal block- ^^^. 
ades, * as exemplified more particularly in the Orders in oommis- 
Council.' A provision against impressment was to be a ^^^^^ 
sine qud nan, and if the American commissioners could 
not obtain it, they were to break off negotiations and 
return home : but they were instructed that it would be 
sufficient if the stipulation was limited to the duration of 
the existing war with Napoleon, inasmuch as it was pre- 
sumed that, if Great Britain compromised or abandoned 
her claims for the time being, she would not again revive 
them in the event of future wars. The commissicniers 
were also to endeavour to obtain a satisfactory definition 
of neutral rights, with special reference to blockade ; but, 
seeing that the British Orders in Council had long been 
repealed, this point was not to be made an indispensable 
condition of peace. These instructions were given in 
April, 1813. After another year of war between the two 
countries, when the British position had been materially 
improved by the conclusion of the war with Napoleon, and 
the restoration of peace on the continent of Europe had for 
the time removed the grounds upon which the Americans 
had gone to war, the American government still further 
receded from the position which they had originally Revised 
taken up. On June 25, 18x4, the commissioners were ^jj j^^' 

150 THE WAR OF i8xd 


empowered from Washington to propose an artide rde* 

gating the subject of impressment to a future treaty, and 

two days later — letters from the commissioners having 

been received at Washington in the meantime — they 

were authorised to omit any stipulation on the subject of 

impressment, if such omission was indispensable to obtain* 

ingpeace. Thus the American plenipotentiaries went into 

the negotiations at Ghent with powers to ignore all the 

alleged causes of war. 

Points The British commissioners at the first conference raised 

^^^0 four points. The first was impressment, mentioned on the 

British presumption that the American envoys would wish the 

siooers : question to be brought up» aqd not as a subject which the 

(i)impress- British government were anxious to discuss. The second 

(U) indn- ^^^^^ ^^ indusion of the Indian allies of Great Britain in 

sion any treaty which might be framed, and the settlement of 

Indians & definite boundary for their territory. A satisfactory 

j^ ^ arrangement under this head was made a sine quA non on 

be signed ; the British side. The third was a revision of the boundary 

(ui) revi- between Canada and the United States. In bringing for- 

boundary^ vs^ this Subject the British commissioners disclaimed 

be^ any intention to acquire additional territory, their object 

and the being to prevent future disputes. The fourth point was 

Stetor ^^^ ^ ^^ '<>^™ o^ ^^ intimation that the privil^es 

(iv) fish- hitherto conceded to the United States of fishing in British 

ing rights, waters and landing and dr3dng fish on British shores could 

not be continued without an equivalent being given on the 

P^n^ other side. The American rejoinder was that they had no 

by the instructions to treat on the subject of the Indians or on 

^1^^^ that of the fisheries, and in their turn they put forward as 

sioners. suitable subjects of discussion, a definition of blockade and 

of neutral and belligerent rights, and daims of indemnity 

in certain cases of seizure. 

All other points dropped into the background in the 
course of the negotiations except the two questions of 
spedfically induding the Indians in the provisions of peace, 
and rectifying the boundary between Canada and the 
United States. The American conunissioners, who, like 

THE WAR OF i8i2 251 

American nq[otiators on other occasions both before and 
since, showed marked ability and astuteness, invited their 
opponents to define the proposals more dosdy; and, 
translating them into claims for limitation of American 
sovereignty and cessi<Mi of American soil, fought them 
hard and with success. It stands to the credit of Great 
Britain that her government would not make peace on 
any other terms than that the treaty of peace should 
include an article safeguarding, or attempting to safq[uard, Thearticie 
the interests of the Indians who had adhered to the British ^^^ 
cause. They did not repeat the &ult which the British Indians, 
negotiators of the peace of 1783 had committed, of omit* 
ting all mention of the natives in the treaty stipulations, 
and they were bold enou^ to assert of Great Britain that 
* it is utterly inconsistent with her practice and her prin- 
dples ever to abandon in her negotiations for peace those 
who have co-operated with her in war' — an assertion 
which did not hold good then, and in the light of subse- 
quent history would hardly hold good now. The terms in 
which they argued the case, coupled with the fact that this 
one stipulation alone was made indispensable on their side, 
contrasted favourably with the somewhat contemptuous 
comments made by the American representatives on a 
proposal, as they described it, to preserve a perpetual 
desert for savages. There could be no question as to 
which government was more sympathetic to the coloured 
men. In its original form the British contention was that 
within boundaries to be defined the Indians should retain 
an independent existence, guaranteed alike by the United 
States and by Great Britain, forming a kind of buffer state 
between the United States and Canada ; and it was pro- 
posed that the American plenipotentiaries should sign a 
provisional article on that basis. At an early stage the 
Englishmen expressed their readiness to accept in the main 
as the boundary of the Indian territory the limits which 
had been assigned to the Indians by the treaty of Green- 
ville, concluded in 1795 between the American government 
and the tribes with which they had been at war. Both 

252 THE WAR OF 1812 

sides appealed to that treaty. The British commis^onas 
contended that it recognized the territorial rights of the 
Indians. The Americans contended that, in placing the 
Indian tribes whose homes were outside Canada under the 
sole protection of the government of the United States, it 
vested in that government the sovereignty of the soil. 
Eventually a compromise was proposed on the British side, 
by which both parties were to agree upon the ratification 
of the treaty to restore to the Indian tribes and nations 
with which they had been at war *all the possessions, 
rights and privileges ' which they had enjoyed or been 
entitled to before the war began. An article framed on 
these lines was presented as an ultimatum and was ac- 
cepted. The British contention had so far prevailed that 
the Indians were included in the treaty ; but the American 
commissioners secured the chief point which they had in 
view, that the treaty should not in terms derogate from 
the sovereignty which they rightly or wrongly claimed 
over the Indian tribes living on the American side of the 
boundaxy line of 1783. 
Proposals The revision of that boundary line was the other main 
revisioa Subject of discussion. Pressed to specify their claims, the 
hrm^dflrv ^^^^ commissioners put forward three requirements, 
line!^^^ The first was that, as an alternative to a modification of 
the existing boundary on the Great Lakes, the United 
British States government should cease to keep any naval force or 
to have establishment on those lakes or to maintain any fortified 
command positions on or near their shores, with the result that the 
lakes for control of the lakes for war purposes would remain with 
^^21^ Great Britain. It was on the face of it a daim whidi 
needed justification, and the British representatives were 
singularly outspoken in supporting it. They laid down 
that the war on the part of the United States had not been 
one of self-defence, but * a part of a S3^tem of conquest 
and aggrandisement '. Military conunand of the lakes 
would give the Americans tiie means of beginning 
another war in the heart of Canada, and, as the weaker 
Power at any given time on the American omtinent, the 

THE WAR OF 1812 253 

less capable of acting on the offensive, and the more 
exposed to sudden invasion. Great Britain was justified 
in demanding military command of the lakes as a necessary 
security for her possessions in Canada. Had the Americans 
been successful in the war, the Englishmen argued, it was 
beyond question that the victors would have demanded 
the cession to the United States of large parts if not of the 
whole of Canada. As it was, British troops held posts in 
United States territory south of the water-line ; it was not 
therefore unreasonable either to treat on the UH PossideUs 
principle or, in the alternative, to require such security 
against invasion as would be given by excluding American 
armaments from the lakes. Such was the British conten* 
tion, but it was not made, like the stipulation with regard 
to the Indians, an indispensable condition of peace. The 
American conunissioners could set against Forts Niagara 
and Michillimackinac, occupied by British garrisons. Am- 
herstbuig and the Canadian side of the Detroit river under 
American control. They refused to treat on the UH Pos- 
sidetis principle or on any basis which involved cession of 
American territory, and, except for an article which pro* 
vided for accuratdy delimiting the line along the water-way 
which had been prescribed by the 1783 treaty, the new 
treaty was silent on this particular issue. Subsequently, 
however, in April, 1817, a reciprocal arrangement was 
concluded l^ which bolli governments practically agreed 
to have no armed naval forces on the lakes. 

The second British requirement in connexion with the The 
boundary line was that the north-western boundary from ^^^ 
Lake Superior to the Mississippi should be adjusted, the boundary. 
British treaty right of free navigation of the Mississippi to 
be continued. The seventh article of the Peace referred 
this matter to an international commission, to be supple- 
mented if necessary by arbitration. 

The third claim put forward was for a revision of the The 
north-eastern boundary in such a way as to secure direct ^j^^ 
communication between Quebec and Halifax. To this the boundary. 
American commissioners entirely demurred, on the ground 

454 THE WAR OF i8ia 

that it would involve a cession of v^t th^ hdd to be 
American territory ; and though, while the negotiations 
were proceeding, the successful British expedition to 
Castine had taken place, and all the district east of the 
Penobscot had come under British control, the daim was 
in the end not insisted upon, possibly, among other reasons, 
because the state of Massachusetts was concerned — the 
state which beyond all others had shown friendly feding 
to Great Britain. Article V of the treaty provided that 
commissioners should be appointed to define the north- 
eastern boundary from the source of the St. Croix river, 
and that, if they disagreed, the matter should be referred 
to arbitration. 
General Taken as a whole, the Treaty of Ghent replaced the con- 
^wt of ^gj^^]^ parties in the position in which th^ stood at the 

Treaty, beginning of the war. It provided for mutual restitution 
of what had been taken .by force of arms. Four articles 
of the treaty dealt with outstanding difficulties caused by 
the wording of the Peace of 1783, referring them to joint 
commissions and, if necessary, to arbitration. They were 
the ownership of islands in Passamaquoddy bay and the 
Bay of Fundy, the north-eastern boundary, die boundary 
along the St. Lawrence and the lakes, and the north-w e stern 
boundary. These articles were followed by the article 
which safeguarded the Indians; and one more article 
enlisted both Powers against the slave trade. It was a 
peace which settled nothing condusivdy, though it gave 
an opening for settlement of some outstanding points of 
difference. The rights of fishing in British waters, which 
the Americans had enjoyed prior to the war, and which the 
British commissioners had declared to be cancelled by the 
war, were dealt with in the subsequent Convention of 1818. 
Greatly in The treaty was beyond question a triumph for American 
the^er. diplomacy. They had received back iai more than they 
icana. g^ve ; they had successfully withstood nearly all the 
British claims. Though consenting to a provision on the 
subject of the Indians, they had eliminated from it nearly 
all its sting and force ; and, unaided by the battle of New 

THE WAR OF 1812 255 

Orleans which was yet to come, they had brought theit 
country unscathed out of a most dangerous position in 
which it had been placed by a policy which had aimed at 
conquest and had ended in failure. 

Among the many wars in which Great Britain has taken General 
part in the course of her history, the war of 1812 has never S^J*^ 
held a high place. It has been little studied in this coun- 
try even by the few, and the many are ignorant or obUvious 
that there ever was such a war ; or, if they know of it, 
know of it only because of the fight between the Shannon 
and the Chesapeake, or the battle of New Orleans. The 
reason is not far to seek. It was a war between kindred 
peoples, which brought no immediate profit and little 
credit to either, and which apparently had no result what- 
ever — for the combatants ended as they had b^gun— 
beyond increased bitterness between the two sections of 
the British race. Moreover it was a comparatively small 
war, waged while Great Britain was in the midst of an 
incomparably greater struggle ; and its incidents were to 
Engli^mien completely overshadowed by the &r more 
^orious record of the Peninsula and Waterloo. The last 
thing in the world that the British government and the 
British people desired in the midst of their sore trial and 
distress was this additional war with the United States of 
America. They were loath to enter into it. They were 
glad to be quit of it ; and they willingly tried to forget it, 
not least because, while it lasted, the British navy — 
Nelson's own navy— had distinctly lost reputation. . 

The Americans too had little cause to be proud of . 
the war and every reason to be glad that it was ended. 
Chivalry can hardly be looked for between nations. They ; 
make war and peace on business lines, and this was the 
case with the Americans, or ratherwith the war party in 
the United States, in the instance in point. They had 
grounds, more or less substantial, for declaring war. They 
expected to gain by it, and, therefore, they went to war. 
Still the historical fact remains that they forced war upon 

256 THE WAR OF i8w 

the country which had been their own motheriand, at ibt 
darkest time of her history, when she was fighting to the 
death for the national liberties which the Americans them- 
selves professed to value so dearly. Had they succeeded, 
success would have been their apology ; but, in spite of the 
skill and bravery of American sailors, in spite of Andrew 
Jackson's victory at New Orleans, the war of 1812 was to 
theAmericans little else than a fiasco. Setting out with high 
hopes and confident expectation of conquest, they ended 
with relief that their own territory was not less than when 
they began, and that their nation was still one ; and to 
make peace they passed over in silence all the claims 
which had been put forward to justify declaring war. An 
ungenerous policy had conspicuously failed, and the mis- 
chief of it was that the sense of failure tended to increase 
the rancour felt against Great Britain in the minds of those 
who had advocated and promoted the war. 

Neither then to Great Britain nor to the United States 
was this war of a kind to invite commemoration and re- 
membrance as a grateful national theme. Nor was it 
illuminated by brilliant strategy on land or water. It did 
not make great military or naval reputations. It did not 
give scope for creative statesmanship. When the news 
of the peace came to the British army off Mobile bay, 
* we were all happy enough,' writes Sir Harry Smith, * for 
we Peninsular soldiers saw that neither fame nor any mili- 
tary distinction could be acquired in this species of miUto- 
nautico-guerilla-plundering warfare.' ^ The name of 
Isaac Brock stands out on the British side as that of a man 
who, in the very few weeks during which the war coincided 
with his life, gave signs of military genius and of heroism, 
while Gordon Drummond and Ross were good soldiers of 
the second class. On the American side far the best 
known name is that of Andrew Jackson, but his military 
reputation rests mainly on his skilful defence of New 
Orleans, and he cannot be given a place among the great 
soldiers of history. 

> Sir Hany Smith's Autobiography, voL i. p. 2su 

THE WAR OF i8w 257 

At first sight the judgment which it seems right to pass 
upon the war is that it was a pointless, fruitless, mischie- 
vous and inglorious episode in the history of the two 
nations, with hardly any redeeming feature. We are 
inclined to endorse the words used of it in the Annual 
Register for 1814 : ' The unhappy war with the United 
States of America, an q>ithet it peculiarly deserves, as 
having no great object on either side, the attainment of 
which can in the least compensate its evils.' ^ But the 
more the subject is studied, the more it will appear that 
from the point of view of military history the record of the 
war of 18x2 is full of interest and instruction ; and that 
from the point of view of colonial history it was not 
a barren war, but, on the contrary, one fruitful of issues 
of vital importance. 

In no war were the merits and defects of dtiien soldiers 
more clearly to be seen, or the pricdess value in the eaxly 
stages of such a war of a nudens of trained men. No other 
war was so amphibious in character, for in no other part 
, of the world is such water communication to be found 
I as in the land which was the main scene of the fighting. 
The war of 1812 proved, as the Boer war has again in our 
own time shown, the extraordinary difficulty of conquering 
a large territory, even if most sparsdy defended ; and it 
proved to demonstration the value of sea power. If in the 
single ship engagements the English often took the second 
place, none the less they were masters of the sea, and this 
one fact alone made the success of the American plan of 
campaign absolutdy impossible. 

This last point can better be considered in estimating 
the place which the war of 1812 holds in colonial history ; 
and the place which the war holds in colonial history can 
be rightly estimated only if it is carefully borne in mind 
that on the British side there were two partners concerned, 
an old country and a jroung country, Great Britain and 
Canada. To Great Britain the war was at the moment — 
though the ultimate issues were &r wider— little more than 

* P* S7^ cbH^ xvi, bfiginning. 



958 THE WAR OF x8x2 

a new burden, an additional danger, involving greater 
expenditure, loss of property, damage to trade. To 
Canada it was far more than this. From the first it was 
a life^md-death struggle, a fight for liberty, for hearth 
and home, for all that a people small or great holds dear. 

The war party in the United States — ^the anti-English 
party, to whom the men of llassachusetts were so stroo^y 
opposed— had a definite programme, illustrated in speedies 
and proclamations, and, as the British commissioners at 
Ghent roundly declared, notorious to the whole woild, 
though not explicitly avowed by the government. That 
programme was to conquer and to annex Canada. It was 
intelligible, it was natural, it was in a sense the corollary of 
the American War of Independence. The out-and-out haters 
of England and the English, as the traditional oppressors of 
the old American colonies, wanted to round off what they 
hdd to be an unfinished work, and to eliminate the Briti^ 
factor from the mainland of North America. Remem- 
bering the help which France had given them in achievii^ 
their independence, they were not, as the New Englanders, 
reluctant to range themselves on the same side as the 
French in enmity to England, and they bore in mind that 
the large majority of the C^anadians were of French 
descent, seemingly ill-disposed to the administrati<Hi of 
Great Britain. They had not, however, reflected on the 
want of principle which their policy implied, nor had they 
counted the cost. Their aim was forcibly to annex 
Canada to the United States. Their battle-ground was 
mainly Upper Canada, and Upper Canada was settled by 
the Lojralists, who had practically been driven out of the 
United States and had f oimd this new home. In the name 
of liberty and indq)endence the Americans were making 
an attempt to deprive men of their liberty, to follow 
them up in their place of exile. They failed in their object, 
and one reason for the failure was that their final cause 
of action was demonstrably bad. # 

But they &iled, too, because they attempted an 
impossibility. As Sir James Craig had said, Canada was 

THE WAi^^OF i8ia 259 

not conquered as long as Qaebec was not taken. Even in 
the War of Independence Quebec could not be taken ; and 
at this later date, with larger resources in Canada, and with 
the growing possibility of sending relief in winter time over- 
land from Halifetx, its capture by a people whose sea power 
was wholly inadequate for the purpose was absolutely 
hopeless. So events proved. Quebec throughout the war 
was as safe as if it had been on another continent ; and 
Montreal, which had been occupied by American troops at 
the outset of the War of Independence, in the later war, 
though threatened, was safe as well. Further west the new 
province, which had latdy been called into eadstence, was 
attacked and raided at this point and at that, but even 
this remoter region was not swept by the enemy, and, 
when the end of the war came, they had hardly any footing 
upon it. 

It was this failure of men who had once been citizens 
of the British Empire to subdue other British colonists 
lining their frontier and facing their settlements, that 
makes this war one of first-rate importance to those who 
study colonial history. The war was the national war of 
Canada* It did more than any other event or series 
of events could have done to reconcile the two rival 
races within Canada to each other. It was at once 
the supplement and the corrective of the American 
War of Independence. It did more than any other event 
could have done to demonstrate that colonial liberty 
and colonial patriotism did not leave the British Empire 
when the United States left it. The same spirit which 
had inspired and carried to success the American War 
of Independence was now enlisted on the side of Great 
Britain, and the successful defence of Canada by regiments 
from Great Britain and Canadian colonists combined, 
meant that a new British Empfre was coming into being 
pari passu with the growth of a young nation within 
its limits. The war of 1812 determined that North 
America should not exclusively belong to the American 

Republic, that Great Britain should keep her place on the 


a6o THE WAR OF x8xa 

continent, bat that she should keep it thraogfa this new 
commonity already on the hi|^-n»d to legislative inde- 

The British Empire owes a debt which can never be 
overestimated to this somewhat depreciated war of 1812. 
Canada as a whole recognizes in it the war which to all time 
endorses her status as a nation ; bat with Upper Canada 
inevitably the memories of the war are most dosdy 
intertwined. After the end of the war, on June 13, 
18x5, five daiys before Waterloo, Lord Bathurst wrote a 
dispatch to Sir Gordon Drummond, conveying the Prince 
Regent's acknowledgments to Drommond himsdf and to 
the army which he commanded in Canada. The dispatch 
concluded with the following words, as graceful as they 
were true : * Nor is His Royal Highness insensible to the 
merits of the inhabitants of Upper Canada, or to the great 
assistance which the militia of the province afforded during 
the whole of the war. His Royal Highnfss trusts that you 
will express to them in adequate terms the high sense 
which he entertains of their services as having mainly con- 
tributed to the immediate preservation of the province 
and its future security.' Kingston, York, Builington 
Heights, the banks of the Niagara river and the Thames, 
the settlements between Hamilton and Niagara, aU under 
new names or under old are associated with the war. 
Every dwelling-place, every family in the peninsula 
between Lakes Erie and Ontario and on the Canadian 
shores of the lakes was scarred with the war. Every inci- 
dent was burnt into the memories, every good fighting 
man's name was a household word. For here the Loyal- 
ists and their descendants lived : here they fought for 
their own, and they kept their own ; and their witness to- 
day, delightful to all who have the good fortune to visit 
it, is the little capital which was twice taken and raided 
-^the great, bright dty of Toronto. 


Abercrambyt Gtnoral^ I45» ^^i* 

Adamsp the, 43, 214-16. 
Albany, 7, 9, 24, 39, 42. 
Aleri^ the, 6±, 

Alexandria, battle oi, 10, 14$. 
Alexandria (U.S.), 226. 
Americans, the, 15, 16, 32, 36, 

40, 46, 5^ Sa» S^-^* 73» 8i» 
^7-90. g2-7, 166, 170, 171, 
194, 200, 225, 22S, 23S, ftc 

Amherst, General, 127. 

Amherstbuig, 8, 9, 28, 30-4, 36, 
37, 70-2, 75, 1x3-15, 118. 
ii9n., 253. 

Ancaster, 122, 173. 

Argusp the, 149. 

Armstrong, 126-8, 131, I44« x66, 

An (Blaise river, 70, 71* 

An Raisin river, 28, 32, 33, 38, 

72,74,75,80, 118. 180. 
Aux Canards river, 28, 31* 
Avon, the, 218. 

Baltimore, 57, 2x9, 221 and n^ 

Bangor, 2x6. 
Barancas, Fort, 2^4. 
Barclay, Cominodore, 95, xq7, 

113-18, X24, x62. 
Barney, Cominodore^ 2x9, 220, 

Bamharts, X38. 
Barrie, Captain, 2x5, 2x6, 2x9, 

229, 246. 
Basden, Captain, 162. 
Bathnrst, Lord, 6, 9X , X 10, 175 iL, 

190* 197, 202, 207, 210 and 

n., 26a 
Baynes, Colonel, 39, 40, xo8, 

X xo, 167. 
Beaver ^am, 95, xoi-3, X05 

and IL, X07, X75. 
Belfast, 215. 
BelviderOf tiie, 64. 
Benedict, 220, 223, 226. 
Bereslord, Marshal, 68, 165. 
Berkeley, Adxniral, x. 
Beriin Decree, x, 4* 

Bermuda, X49, 153, 154, X65, 

220, 22X, 229. 
Bienvenn Creek, 236, 239, 243. 
Big Salmon river, 164. 
Binhopp, Colon^ Cecil, 57, 59, 

90, loi, X03, xo6. 
Black river, 82. 
Black Rock, 29, 42-4, 57-9, 106, 

XI 3, I47»x85, X93. 
Bladensborg, 219, 221 il, 224-7, 

237. 245. 
Boc^stler, C6k>nel, xo2-5, 
Bordeaux, X65, X97« 
Borgne, Lake, 234-6, 239. 
Boston, 22, 24, 36, 64, 148, X49, 

Boudiette, 85 il, x44. 
Bowyer, Fort, 234, 245, 246. 
Boxefp the, 149. 

Boyd, General, 105, xo6, 139-4X. 
Brant, Joseph, 18, 102, 175 n. 
Bridgwater, battle of. See 

Lundy's Lane. 
British Korth America, 5, ftc 
Brock, Sir Isaac, 2, xo, 12, X3, 

15-19.25. a7» 30. 3^33-6. 38- 

41, 44. 4^-«. 50, 52. 54-6. 6x, 

66t 69-71, 82, 92, XII, xi8, 

125, X45, 162, 201, 256. 
Brockvilie, 82. 
Broke, Captain, 148, X49. 
Broke t the, X30. 
Brool^ Colonel, 225, 228. 
Brown, General Jacob, 109-xi, 

X38, 140, X42, x66, X68-80, 

182, 183, 185, x86, I9I-3- 
Brown's rant, 45, 46, 4^8 and n* 
Brownstown, 28, 32, 72. 
Buckston, 2x6. 
Bufiak), 29^ 37, 39, 42, 43. 56, 

84, 106, X46, X47, x6i, i66, 

x68, xri, 182, 185. 
Bafblo Credc, 44, 147. 
Bnrford, xoj. 
Bnxgoyiie, General, 10, 84ff X99. 

Borlington bay, 34, 95, 1x2, 

Burlington Heights, 8o, 94 il, 

95. 97. 9B» ioo» 102, 107, X22, 



X23» X43f 147. 162, 167, 168, 

17 1-4, 195-0* 36a 
Burlington (U.S.), 150* 131, X6O9 

BiirtonvilIe» X59» x6o. 

ta, the, 43, 44« 

Campbell* Cokmd, i6i. 

Canada, 3. 5, 7, 8, 41, 66, 252-3. 
257-te ei passim. 

Canadian CnaaseniB, 149. 

Canadian Fendbles* 1 1, 139. 

Canadian Loyalists, Sse Loyal- 

C^inadiaii Voltigeuxs, 11, 139, 

Car Brigade, the, 5a 

Carleton, 22. 

Carolina, the, 237, 238. 

Cass, Colonel, 33, 37, ti8. 

Castine, 215-17, 254. 

Castlerea^h, Lord, 39, 41, 248. 

Cataraqm,7,6i. SMlOngston. 

Cayenne, io8. 

Cayuga Creek, 29. 

Cedars, the, 9. 

Chambly, 198. 

Champlain, Lake, 7, 41, 62, 63, 
84.85. 111,127-32, 136, 141, 
142, 158, 160, 191, 192, 197- 
200, 202, 204, 208, ftc. 

Champlain, village of, 63, 130, 
158-60, 167, 200. 

Chanddieur Islands, 234, 235. 

Chandler, General, 97. 

CAarwetf, the, 186. 

Chateauguay, battle of, 132-5, 
137 ai^n., 156. 

Chateauguay river, i3i-3. 

Chatham, x 19, 120 and n., X62, 

Chaunoey, Commodore Isaac, 

61,62,85,89,90,93, 108, 112, 

113, 128, 139, 162, 164, 166, 

167, 171, 172, 174, 185, X90, 

193, 198. 
Chazy river, 200. 
Chazy, village of, 158, 200, 202, 

CAm<6, the, 2 1 8. 
Chesapeake, the, x, 130^ X48 and 

n., 149, 25^. 
Chesapeake bay, 149, 150, 152, 

219, 220, 222, 223, 226, 227, 

229, 246. 

Chicago^ Fort, 38. 

Chippawa, 29, 41, 42, 48 xu, 51, 
57-9. 95» 105, 147. 165, x68- 
72, X78, X82, X83, X85, X87, 

?9i-3- . 
ppawa nver, X7a 172* I74« 

182, 102, 193. 
Chittenden, Bfartin, X50. 
Chxistie, Colonel, 45, 46, x X2. 
Chrystler's Farm, battle oi, X36, 

X38, X40-3, X56, i6z, X75. 
Chubb,ihit, 130, 204, 205 andn., 


Qarke, X24. 

Clay, Gencaral Green, 75-7. 

Qaytcm, 129. 

Cocnrane, Admiral Sir A., X50, 

220, 222, 223, 225, 227-30, 

234, 236, 239, 245. 
Cockburxi, Admiral, X49, X50, 

220, 222-5, 227, 246. 
Canfiance, the, 202-5, 207, 209, 

Coniocta (Conquichity) Creek, 

Conxiecticnt, 22-4. 
ConsUtuHon, the, 64, 65, 2x9. 
Cook's MiUs, X93, 194. 
Coore, Major, 21 x and n. 
Copenhagen, battle of, xo» X9. 
Cornwall, X38, X40. 
Covixigton, General, X4X. 
Crab Uand, 204-5. 
Craig, Sir J., 2, 3, 13-15. 20-2. 

41, 150, 156, 157. ^S^- 
Croghan, Major, 79, 125. 
Crown Point, X99. 
Cumberland Head, X3X, 204. 
Cumberland Island, 246. 
Cyane, the, 2x9. 

Dacres, Captain, 65, 66. 
Dalson's, X20. 
Dead Creek, 20x. 
Dearborn, General, 39, 40, 61, 

63, 84-6, 89, 92, 94, 96, X05, 

X13, 126, 13X, 158. 
DeCamp. SeeDeCovu 
Deeahtr, the, X49. 
De Cou, XOX-3. 
Defiance, Fort, 70. 
De Haren, Major, 10X-4. 
Delawares, the, 26. 
DeMeuron'sregiment,x 55 andn. 
Dennis, X38. 



Dc Iiottenbtif]§^» Gcnoraly 88* 

loj, 123, 145, 145, 167, 198. 
De Salabery, Major, 62, 131, 

J>etx6Lt^ 7, 9, io» 16, 26-8, 30- 
. 40, 43t 61, 70-2, 93, 1 18, 1 19, 

Z22« I25» I26» 142, 152, 161, 

162. 167. 179, 195, 196. 
Detroit^ the, 43, 44, IX4-X7. 
Detroit, Fort, 34, 36, 37. 
Detroit frontier, 30, 31, 33 iL, 

34.?i»96, 115. "8.AC, 
Detroit river, the, 9, 27, 28, 32, 

35.75t77»ii6, 118. 1x9, 124, 

126, 253. 
De Watteville, General, 134, 

155 and iL, 195. 

Dickens, Charles, 19 n* 
Dobbs, Captain, i86. 
Dominica^ the, 149. 
Douglas battery, the, X87, i88. 
Dover, Port, zo^, 161, 222. 
Downie, Captain, 702^s» ^^7» 

Dragon, the, 219, 22S^ 
Druznmond, General Sir Gordon, 

10, 145-7. 158, i6i, X64, 167- 
9. WU 173. J75-95» 197. aox, 

203, 210 IL, 2^6, 260. 

Droinmond, Colonel, of Keltie, 

Dndley, Colonel, 76, 8a 

Eagls, the, 205. 

Eastport, 214. 

Elizabethtown, 82. 

Elliott, Lieutenant, 43, 44, 1x6 

English river, the, X32, X33. 

EnUrpfise, the, 149. 

EpmUr, llie, 2x8. 

Erie, Fort, 29, 37, 41-^ 57-9. 
«4. 90. 95. 102, X13, 1x6, i58, 
X69, X72, X82, X85, x86, i^O-S. 

Erie, Lake, 6-9, x6, 27-9, 34, 35, 

37. 43. 70, 71. 75. 85. 93. 95. 

X07, 1 13-18, X23-5, X42, XS2, 

161, 167, x68, x86, 260. 
Erie, town of, 28, 79, 85. 
Esssx, the, 64, 2x8. 
Eustis, Dr., 30. 
Evans, Major, 8, x8 and il, 45 

and XL, 173. 
Everard, Captain, 130^ 200. 

Pinehp the, x^p, 204, 205. 
Finxiis, Captain, xx6. 
Fisher, Colonel, X87, x88. 
Fitsgibbon, Lieu tenant, 99, X o I - 

5. I75- 
Florida, 233, 246. 

Forster, Captain, 9* 

Forsyth, 82, 84, 87, 94. 

Forty Mile Cieek, 95, 96, 98, 

xoo, X44. 
Four Corxiers, the, X32, X33, X36. 
Four Mile Cxeek, 42, 43, 45, 90^ 

Fox river, X24« 
Finance, x6, X7, 24, 258, ftc. 
Fredericton, 7, xox, x65* 
French Canadians, 3, x6, X7, 20, 

2X, 28, X34, X37, 2XX, 2x3. 

Fkench Cxeek, X29, X3S^ 
Frenchman's Cxedc, 58, x86. 
French MiUs, 62, X42. 
Frenchtown, 28, 72, 73. 
Frolic, the, 65. 
Fkontenac, Count, X05. 
Frontenac, Fort, 7, 6u 5«# 

Fundy, Bay of, 254. 

Gaines, Brigadier-General, 185, 

GanaaMue, 62. 

Garry, Fort, 8, 

Genoral Piks, the, x X2. 

George, Fort,xo,x8, 30, 3i[ and XL, 
36, 37, 40-5, 45. 46, 48 n., 50, 
56, 57. 59. 84-6, 88, 90, 92-6, 
xoa-3, X05, X07, X08, XX3, X26, 
X28, X42-5, 168, X69, X72, X74, 
X76, x86. 

Georgetown, X50« 

Georgia, 246. 

Geo^ian bay, X24« 

Ghent, Treaty of, 213 n., 232, 
246, 248, 250, 254. 

Gibbooi, 20. 

Gibbs, General, 240, 243. 

Gibraltar Point, 86 n. 

Glegg, Captain, 46. 

Glengarry, county of, X3, x6. 

Glengarry Light Infantry,x x-i 5, 
82, 83, 87, 90, 94. "4, 163, 
X64, X75, X78, x8x, x88, X93. 

Goose Creek, X29. 

Gordon, Captaixi, 226. 



G<m» Li0iiteiiaiit-Govenior» x 5» 

Gcttenborg, 2489 245^ 
Gonlbum, 233. 
Grand Island, 29, 57 n. 
Grand, BiademcdBdie, 2a 
Grand river, the, 122, 195. 
Great Britain, 4. 17. ««» ^3* ^7. 

154, 232, 233, 248-52, 255-9, 

Greenbuflh, ^9, 63. 
Grenadier Island, 128. 
Griffin^ the, 2^. 
Griffith, Admiral, 2x4-18. 
Grimsby, 9(. 
GunrrUre^ the, 64-6. 

Habeas Corpiis Act, 16, 33, 
Haldimand, General, x i. 
Halifax, i, 6, xo, 19, 39, 64, 107, 
1x3, X49, 2x4, 2x7, 229, 253, 

Hall, General, X47. 

Hamilton, 95, 97, 139, X40, 26a 

Hampden, 215, 2x6. 

Hampton, X49. 

Hampton, General, x 27-38, 

X41-3, X58, 
Handoock, Major, X59, x6a 
Hanks, Lieutenant, 26. 
Hardj, Sir T., 2Xa. 
Hamson, General, X7, 44, 7X, 

74-81, X x6, X X8-22, X42 and xu, 

143. i5«- 
Hartford Conventioxi, 24. 

Harvey, Colonel, 94, 95, 97-xoo, 
. X39, 140, X43, x68, x84. 
Havre de Grace, x 50. 
Heald, Captain, 38. 
Henry, John, 3, 22, X50, X57. 
Hillyar, Captain, 2x8. 
Holcroft, Captain, 50, 5x. 
Hornet^ ih% X48, 2x9. 
Horse Island, xo8, xo9« 
Hudson river, 30, X62, 207. 
Hudson's Bay Company, 25, 
Hull, Captain, 64. 
Hull, General, 5, 15, x6, 27, 
30-8. 56, 71. 72. 93t "8f ia«t 

„ I79» 195. 

Hunter, General, X2, X3. 

Huron, Lake, 9, X24-6. 

Huron river, 28. 

Indiana, state of, X7, 71, 

Indians, the, X7, 25-7, 3X-3, 
35-^» 50. 51. 7i-«i. 87t 89. 

94, XO2-6, XO9, XX8-2X, X25, 

X33-5* 146, X47. 164, X68-70, 

174. 177 f I95t ^34. 250-52, Ac 

Isles anxMalbeuxeux, 235 aadxu 

Isle aux Noix, 129, X59, x6o. 

Isle anx Pdix, 236. 
Isle Danphin, 246. 

Jackson, General Andrew, 233. 

J234» 235 n.,237-41. 343-5» 256. 
amaica, 2x8, 234. 
ava^ the, 65. 
^ efferson, Ftesident, 3. 
] bhn. Colonel, 2x5. 
' oliet, X24« 
Jordan, xoi. 

Keane, General, 236-8, 243, 245, 
Kempt, General Sir T., X98andiu 
Kentuc^ and the iwaxtuckians, 
70, 8x, X x8, X22, X95, X96, 24X, 
Kerr, Captain, X04. 
King's Mountain, xx8. 
Kingston, 7, 11, X5, 40, 60-2, 
82-6, 88, 89, 95, xoo, X07, 108, 
XXX, XX3, XX4, X23 and xl, 
X26-9tX34, X38, X39, X43. X45. 
158. 163, 166, x68, X73, X75, 
X85, X90,xs>8andiL,2o8andxL, 
209» 260. 

lie, 63. 
Lachine, X7, X32. 
LacoUe, 63, X3X, X58-60, x66, 

Lcunbert, General Sir J«, 239, 

240 and XL, 243-7. 
La Mothe Cadillac, 28. 
La Prairie, 63, 198. 
La Salle, 29, 38, 6x. 
Lausaime, 20 and n* 
Lawrence^ the, i x6. 
Lawrence, Captain, 148, X49. 
Leopard^ the, x, 2. 
Lrnfan^, the, 219. 

IS, Colonel, 72, 73. 
ris. General Morgan, 92. 
Lewiston village and mights, 

29, 42-5, 96, 146, 177, X92. 
Lincoln, General, X9. 
Lintut^ the, 202, 204, 205, 207. 



Lita$ Bat. the, 4, 64. 
liverpocd. Lord* 4, 14, 23, 33 n., 

39> 232, 233. 
London (Canada), 162. 
Long Island, 217. 
Lonff Point. 34, 1x4, 1x5, x6x, 

Lonff Sault Rapids, X38. 

Lord George Gordon nots, 12. 

L'Orient, 2x8. 

Louisiana, 5, 233. 

Lower Canada, 5, 7, xx, x6, 4X, 

6x, X31, X45, X56, X57, X62, 

176, 106, X09, 217, ftc 
Lower Canada, Lq^slature of, 

21, 60, X56-7, 210. 
Lower Marlborough, 219. 
Lower Sandusky, 7X, 75. 
Lo3ral and Patriotic Society, 

Lo3raJist8, the, xs, 33, 6x, 9X-2, 

104-5, I44f 258-60, ftc. 
Lnndy's Lane, X05 il, 165, X72, 

i7S-^t i8x, 187. 
Lundv's Lane, battle of, 177--84. 
Lyon^s Creek, X92, X93. 

MacArthur, Colonel, 33, 35, i x8, 

Macdonells, the, x x-x 5, 34. Su 
Macdonell. Alexander, XX-X4. 
Macdonell.Colonel,34,46-50, 52. 
Macdonell, Colond, 82-4, X29^ 

'34* 135* 
Macdonough, Commodore, X30 

and XL, x6x, 204 and xl, 206. 
MacedamaHf the, 65. 
Machias, 214, 2x6, 2x7. 
Macomb, General, i^ and n., 

20X and XL, 204 and n. 
Madison, President, 3-5, 30, 37, 

40, XX 7, X50-4, 224, 229, 246, 

Malaga, 32, 38, 70, X79, 
Maine, 2x3, 21^, 2x7 xl, 2x8. 
Malcolm, Admiral, 229, 237. 
Malcolm's Mills, X95, X96. 
Bialden, Fort, 28, 3X, 7X, 74, 

xx8, xx9and n* 
Malone, X42. 
Maritime Pkovinces, xoa 
Blarquette, X24« 
Massachusetts, 3, 22, x 5 x, 2x7 IL, 

254, 258. 

Massachusetts, L^fdatove of, 

Mauxnee or Miami river, xo, 27, 

28, 30, 32, 38, 70, 7X, 75, 80, 

McQure, General, 142-6. 
McDoualL Colonel, X24 and n^ 

McKay, X24 and il, X25. 
Meigs, Fort, 27, 70, 75"^- 
Meigs, Governor, xx8, X22. 
M&nslauSt the, 226. 
Merriton, 9S« 
Mexico, Gulf of, 235, 246. 
Miami, Fort, 38. 
Bliami Rapids, 27, 3X, 7X, 72, 

Bliami river. 5m Mauxnee. 

Miamis, the, 26, 38. 

Michigan, Lake, 9, 38. 

Michigan, state of, 30, 36, 38, 

70, xx8, xxo. 
Ifichillimackinac, 7, 9, 25, 26, 

33. 35. 38. 124-0, 253. 
Milan Deoee, 4* 
Miller, Cokmel, X79, x8o, X9X. 
Missassauga, Fort, 30, X72, X74, 

Missassauga Pdint, 92, x68. 
Biissiquoit bay and viUage, X30, 


BfiisBSsippi, the, 26, X05, X24, 

Mississip^ Territory, 233. 

Mobile, 234, 245, 240. 

Mobile bay, 233-5, 245, 246, 256. 

Mohawk counfry, 7. 

Mohawk river, 9, x62. 

Mohawks, the, 49 and il, 55. 

Monk, X56. 

Moxixoe, 40, X50, 222, 229, 248. 

Montcalm, 56, 163, 244. 

Montreal, 3, 7, 9, X7, 36, 39-41. 

62, 63, 88, X07, X22, X23, X26, 

X27, X29, X3X, x^6, X4X, X42. 

152, xc6, X97, X98, 202, 208 XL 
Montreal, island of, X32. 
Moore, Six John, xo, 22 x. 
Moose Island, 2x3. 
Moraviantown, 3X, 120, X22, 

X2t, X40, X43, X62, X95. 
Morrison, Ccdonel, 139-42, X56, 

i75-«. 183, x84. 

Major, 7a