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WAR OF 1812: 















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Entered according to Act of Concrrew, in the year 1549, by 
in the Clerk'i Office of the District Court of the Ea»tern District of Pennsylvania 


Corner of Smh mJ Cbeeont inn. 

No. 99 Cbe» ui Street. 







The war of 1812 furnishes little to gratify the military 
annalist until he approaches its close. The imbecility of the 
Generals and the number of their defeats, naturally dispirit an 
author. He feels the subject continually checking him ; and 
is delighted, when the campaign of 1314 opening, affords him 
something beside disgrace and disaster to record. The un- 
promising nature of the subject has prevented any writer of 
ability from taking it up : and hence a good history of the 
War of 1812 is as yet unknown to the language. 

There is no attempt in the following pages to supply thin 
deficiency. Indeed such an endeavor would be foreign to the 
purpose of this work. The narrative of the war is but sub- 
ordinate to the main design of the volume, and hence the 
author has contented himself with a mere outline sketch, the 
only merit of which, if he has succeeded in his aim, is in be- 
I* 5 



ing authentic and comprehensive. The details of the picture 
are left to be filled up from the Biographies. 

The nature of the theme has forced the author to depart, 
in a measure, from the plan of his work. There are several 
Generals noticed who have no pretensions to be Heroes; but 
the story would be incomplete without them. The author 
lias not hesitated, however, to express his opinion as to the 
merits of each officer; and, so far forth, has carried out his 
original design. Whether his opinions are correct must be 
left for impartial criticism to decide. 



„<*' ^— ■ * 



THE WAR OF 1812. 


BOOK I.— Ohioiw op the Wah, 17 

BOOK II— To the Sphing op the Year 1814, ----- 29 

BOOK III.— To the Close op the Contest, - - - - . 31 


William Hull, -----•••^•73 

James Winchester -•»-•■•»» 81 

Zeuulon Montgomery Pjkp, ....... 97 

Henrt Dearborn, ........ 93 

James Wilkinson, _._.__. ..97 

John Armstrong, .». . - . . . 107 



Gmmi Croqhax, P*o* 1U 

William Hsxnr Harrisox, • - 119 

Richard M. Johxsox, .-•«••-- 133 

Isaac Shelbt, ..-..---- 139 

Jacob Brown, -•• ------ 141 

Kleazer W. RlPLSV, ....••• 159 

James Miller, ••••••••• 167 

Nathax Towsox, - - - - - - - - -171 

Thomas S. Jebsup, ..------ 175 

KiiMi'M) Pendletox Gaines, ..-•-* - 177 

Peteu B. Porter, .------• 183 

Alexander Macomh, ..-.--•- 185 

Samosl Smith, --.---•-• 191 

AxdreiV Jalksox, --------- 197 





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Portrait of Major-General W f infield Scott, Fhowtibfi m*. 

Battle of Plattsburg, Pace »'l 

Battle of the Thames, 136 

Portrait of Major-General Jacob Brown, .._---- 141 

Portrait of Major-General Andrew Jackson, - - 

Bntile of New Orleans, --..--.-•• 206 


View of Plattsburg, - * Tagz 5 

Ornamental Letter, .-.-.--- --.) 

View of Bhulensburg, --.-.------ 

Attack on Fort Oswego, ...-.---.--8 
View of Georgetown, --.----• - • » 

Ornamental Title Page — " History of the War of 1812," - - - - - 11 

Head Piece — Martial Emblems, ..-.-.--- 13 

Ornamental Letter, - - • »-»--»•»- 1" 

Tail Piece, ..._16 

Head Piece — Naval Emblems, - - - - - - - - * -It 

Ornamental Letter, ._.--.»..•• 1/ 

The Chesapeake and Leopard, .----.-*• _ - 25 

Battle of Tippecanoe, ....--.- ---•.''.' 

Ornamental Letter, _>.«--»---- 2'« 

Battle of Queen Mown, .--.-------3" 

2 9 


The Constitution and Guerriere, ........ Pag* 39 

The Capture of the Frolic by the Wasp, ........40 

Battle of Lake Erie, 43 

The Enterprise and the Boxer, ......... 4*3 

Tail Piece, -----....-..50 

View of Baltimore, and Ornamental Letter, ....... 51 

Battle of Lundys Lane, ...........58 

Fort Me Henry, • • - 62 

The Baltic Monument at Baltimoro, . 70 

Ornamental Title Pago— •* The Heroes of tho War of 1813, H .... 71 

Detroit, and Ornamental Letter, ....73 

Mn mimic ru at the Kiver Raisin, .......... bi 

Portrait of Brigadier-General Zebulon Montgomery Pike, and Ornamental Letter, 87 

Death of General Pike, 90 

Tail Piece — Cavalry Exercise, ---......92 

Portrait of Major-Gerteral Henry Dearborn, and Ornamental Letter, - . - 93 
Portrait of Major-General James* Wilkinson, and Ornamental Letter, 97 

Tho Citadel at Kingston, JOO 

Quecnstown, ..-.•••-----.. 105 
Portrait of General John Armstrong, and Ornamental Letter, .... 107 

Portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel George Croghan, and Ornamental Letter, - - 111 
Defence of Fort Stephenson, - - - - - - . - - -116 

Tail Piece, 118 

Portrait of Major-General William Henry Harrison, and Ornamental Letter, - - 119 
General Harrisons Army Crossing Lake Erie, - - - - - - -130 

Tail Piece, 132 

Portrait of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, and Ornamental Letter, ... 133 

Portrait of Governor Isaac Shelby, and Ornamental Letter, ... 139 

General Brown at the Battle of Chippewa, and Ornamental Letter, - - 141 

Buffalo, 148 

Fort Niagara, ...... ..... 154 

Tad Piece, 158 

Portrait of Major-General Eleazer W. Ripley, and Ornamental Letter, - - K>9 

Tail Piece, - - - - - - - - - - • • -166 

Portrait of Brigadier-General James Miller, and Ornamental Letter, - - - 167 
Scott Piloting Miller to Lundy's Lane, ........ 169 

Tail Piece, 170 

Portrait of Brigadier-General Nathan Towson, - .... 171 

Ornamental Letter, ni 

Head Piece — Sword, • - -- • - • - - - • -175 

Ornamental Letter, ....175 

Portrait of Major-General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, • • - . • - 177 
Ornamental Letter, ... ......... 177 

Portrait of Major-General Peter B. Porter, - -- - - - - -183 

Ornamental Letter, ........... 183 

Portrait of Major-General Alexander Macomb, ....... 185 

Ornamental Letter, --.-._..... 185 

Portrait of Major-General Samuel Smith, ........ 191 

Ornamental Letter, ........... 191 

General Jackson at the Battle of Emuckfau, - - - - - - - 197 

Ornamental Letter, -------....197 

Vjew of Nashville, ............ 208 



HE war of is 12 was the sequel to 

he war of independence. It was the 

offspring of an old hatred, nurtured 

into life by the arrogance of England. 

Those who declaim against the war 

;mse begun to punish wrongs perpetrated 

Great Britain, when outrages nearly as 

on the part of France were overlooked, 

do not understand the question they assume to discuss. Nations, as 

well as men, will endure that from a friend which they will never 

submit to from a foe. England had been hated by the people of the 

11 l:i 


United States, since the period of the Revolution; while France, 
notwithstanding all her injustice, still possessed their gratitude and 
sympathy. The wonder is, not that the war took place, but that it did 
not happen before. The acknowledgment of our independence had 
been made with a bad grace by Great Britain in 17S3, and, as if her ill 
humor was never to be appeased, she continued to treat us with an 
insolence that galled our national pride. The war of 1812 was not 
the work of the President, nor even of his party ; but was forced on 
an unwilling cabinet by the popular will. It was a war of the people. 

Dangerous as the war seemed to many at the time, a single gene- 
ration has established its necessity and wisdom. It is true that, at 
the peace of Ghent, no acknowledgment was obtained from England 
of the injustice of her system of impressment, which was the apparent 
cause for embarking in the contest. But nevertheless all the 
substantial benefits were on our side. We had proved that we were 
not a power to be despised, either on land or sea ; and that nothing 
was to be gained, but everything lost, by persisting in the struggle. 
For the first two years of the strife, our armies had been defeated 
almost universally. This so elated the Prince Regent, that the offer 
to compromise our difficulties, which he would have been glad to 
have accepted in the beginning, he now rejected; and having just 
closed the protracted struggle with Napoleon, he resolved to inundate 
this country with the veterans of the Peninsula, and chastise us for 
having declared war against England, when she was surrounded with 
foes. Accordingly the campaign of 1S14 was opened by the appear- 
ance of a most imposing force in America. The British officers 
boasted that they would conquer and hold a portion of our territory 
at least ; and even some of our own citizens, arguing from former 
defeats, despaired of the country. 

Two causes conspired to frustrate the calculations of the enemy, 
and make him eager to secure peace on the terms he had rejected. 
The first was that the nation, now seriously alarmed, began to rally in 
earnest for its defence. That spirit of enthusiasm, which had burned so 
brightly in 1 77G, again blazed up ; and the whole Union was suddenly 
turned into an armed camp, resounding with the din of preparation. 
The second cause was this, the Generals to whom the command 
of our armies had been committed, during the preceding campaigns, 
had been old revolutionary officers, of respectable standing when 
young, but now utterly exhausted by indolence and age. By the 
close of lsi 3. however, the army had been thoroughly purged of 
these imbecile leaders. A new race of Generals, composed of men 
of spirit, genius and enterprise, had arisen. At the head of these 


stood Brown. He was one of those individuals who are born war- 
riors. What he wanted in knowledge, he made up in energy, and the 
latter qualification was, just then, of more importance than the former. 
The nation, at this crisis, required a bold man for its leader, one 
not afraid of hard blows, and who, believing that the American fur- 
nished as good material for a soldier as the Englishman, would never 
decline a combat. Brown was even more than this. He was not 
only willing to meet the British, when his forces were equal to theirs, 
but even when his number were decidedly inferior. He was admirably 
seconded by his subordinates, especially by Scott, who had in a 
measure formed the army, introducing into it the French discipline, 
and changing by constant drilling, raw recruits into good soldiers. 

The result of the battles of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane and Erie, 
was to convince Great Britain that, in the United States, she had 
found an enemy who would grow more formidable every year. As 
there was nothing to be gained by a contest with such a foe, but on 
the contrary, much blood and treasure to be lost, she became suddenly 
as eager for a peace, as, six months before, she had been indifferent 
to it. These victories taught our own people the existence of a latent 
aptitude for war among themselves, of which they had never dreamed. 
That the American furnished the best material for the soldier, 
as robust as others, and more intelligent, was thenceforth no longer 
a heresy to assert. Discipline in the men, and ability in the com- 
mander, was all that was necessary, it was seen, to render victory 
probable, if not certain. 

Since the war of 1812, the United States have held a better position 
among nations than before. Our naval successes over a power that 
was deemed invincible at sea, suddenly awakened the attention of 
Europe to this young giant of the west. The single victory of the 
Constitution over the Guerriere, gained us more respect abroad, 
than could have been attained by a long career of the most brilliant 
successes in the arts of peace. The manner in which that triumph 
was followed up, made a profound impression on the public mind on 
the continent. Since the treaty of Ghent, our flag has been treated 
with marked deference in foreign ports. The dazzling exploits on 
land, with which we closed the contest, had their effect also in revo- 
lutionizing opinions abroad. Prior to the war of 1812, we ranked in 
Europe, as a fourth-rate power only ; but since; then, the position of a 
second-rate one has been freely conceded to us. We have, it is true, 
aspired to be considered one of the first powers in the world ; and 
though this is not pretence in 1848, it was so, perhaps, in 1815. We 
advance, indeed, with steps that find no parallel in history. Within 



the last thirty years, we have passed from youth to manhood, 
as in the thirty preceding years we grew from infancy to adolescence. 
What was exaggeration for our fathers to assert, becomes, therefore, 
less than the truth in us. 

It shall be our purpose to narrate, in a rapid manner, the events 
of the war of 1812, which exercised such an influence on the charac- 
ter, genius and development of this nation. 


^ ^^w ^~o 



HE war of 1812 naturally divides 
itself into three great periods. The 
first embraces the origin of the 
war. This will necessarily con- 
tain a review of the conduct of 
Great Britain towards the United States, 
from the peace of 1783, to the declaration 
of hostilities on the 19th of June, 1812; 
comprise an account of the celebrated 
Berlin and Milan decrees, and of the Bri- 
tish orders in council ; and furnish a narrative of the origin, exercise, 
and perversion of the claim of England to impress seamen. The 
second opens with the surrender of Detroit ; records the failure of 
Harrison's winter and autumnal campaigns in 1812; and explains 
the miscarriages of Dearborn, Wilkinson and Hampton, on the Lakes 
and St. Lawrence, during the spring, summer and autumn of 181:3. 
This was a period of almost universal defeat for the armies of the 
ii* 2 17 


United States. Inefficient Generals and undisciplined troops united 
to cover the nation with disgrace. During this interval the Creek 
war in the south occurred. But for some brilliant successes at sea, 
and for the victory of the Thames in October, 1S13, these first twenty- 
months of the contest would have presented only unmitigated disas- 
ter. The third and last period opened in the spring of 1814, with 
the most gloomy anticipations. The subjugation of Napoleon had 
left England free to employ all her strength against the United States. 
The veteran troops of Wellington were accordingly poured into Ca- 
nada. Boasts of permanently annexing v. portion of New York, or 
of New England, to the British dominions were publicly made by 
the English officers. But suddenly the scene changed. These splen- 
did veterans were defeated in every contest, by our comparatively 
raw troops. Instead of gaining a foothold in the United States the 
enemy was everywhere beaten on his own soil. These results pro- 
ceeded from placing bolder and younger men in command of the 
army ; from disciplining the troops thoroughly ; and from the spirit 
of patriotism which was now fully aroused to meet the impending 
crisis. From this hour the arms of the United States were in the 
ascendant. Success had at first receded from us further and still fur- 
ther, like a wave withdrawing from a beach ; but suddenly the tide 
turned, it rolled in, and towering higher and prouder, broke over us 
in triumphs. 

The peace of 17S3 had been extorted by the necessities rather than 
obtained by the good will of England. Though, by a formal treaty, 
the United States were declared free and independent, they were still 
hated in Great Britain as rebellious colonies. That such was the 
general opinion is manifest from the letters of John Adams, our first 
minister to the court of St. James, and from other authentic cotem- 
porary accounts. Of course there were a few men of sufficiently en- 
larged and comprehensive minds to forget the past, and urge, even 
in parliament, that the trade of America would be more valuable as 
an ally than a dependent. But the number of these was small in- 
deed. The common sentiment in England towards the young repub- 
lic was one of scornful detestation. We were despised as provin- 
cials, we were hated as rebels. In the permanency of our institutions 
there was scarcely a believer in all Britain. This was especially the 
cose prior to the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Both in par- 
liament and out, it was publicly boasted that the Union would soon 
fall to pieces, and that, finding their inability to govern themselves, 
the different states would, one by one, supplicate to be received back 
as colonies. This vain and empty expectation long lingered in the 


popular mind, and was not wholly eradicated until after the war of 

Hence the new republic was treated with arrogant contempt. One 
of the first acts of John Adams, as minister to England, had been to 
propose placing the navigation and trade between the dominions 
of Great Britain and the territories of the United States, on a basis 
of complete reciprocity. By acceding to such a measure England 
might have gained much, and could have lost but little. The propo- 
sal was rejected almost with terms of insult, and Mr. Adams 
told " that no other would be entertained. ,, The consequences were 
that the free negroes of Jamaica, and others of the poorer inhabitants 
of the British West India Islands, were reduced to starvation by be- 
ing deprived of their usual supplies from the United States. This 
policy on the part of England naturally exasperated the Americans, 
and one of the first acts of the Federal government in 17S9, was to 
adopt retaliatory measures. A navigation law was passed, which 
lias since been the foundation of all our treaties of reciprocity with 
England. A tariif was also adopted as another means of retaliation. 
We have lived to see Great Britain become the first to tire of re- 
strictive measures, and, by a repeal on her part, invite a repeal on 

In another way Great Britain exasperated the popular feeling here 
against her, and even forced the American government, once or twice, 
to the verge of war. By the treaty of peace, all military posts held 
by England within the limits of the United States, were to be given 
up ; yet no less than six of this character, Michilimackinac, Detroit, 
Oswegotche, Point an Fer, and Dutchman's Point, were long held in 
defiance of the compact. These posts were made the centres of 
intrigue among the savages of the northwest. Arms were here dis- 
tributed to the Indians, and disturbances on our frontier fomented. 
The war on the Miami, which was brought to a bloody close by 
Wayne's victory, was the result principally of such secret machina- 
tions. In short, England regarded the treaty of 17S3 as a truce, 
rather than a pacification, and long held to the hope of being able 
yet to punish the revolted colonies for their rebellion. In two celebra- 
ted letters written by John Adams from Great Britain, he uses the fol- 
lowing decided language in reference to the secret designs of England : 
" If she can bind Holland in her shackles, and France from internal 
dissensions is unable to interfere, she will make war immediately 
against us." This was in 17S7. Two years before, he had expresed 
the same ideas. " Their present system, as far as I can penetrate it," 
lie wrote, " is to maintain a determined peace with all Europe, in 


order that they may war singly against America, if they should think 
it necessary." A sentiment of such relentless hostility, which no at- 
tempt was made to disguise, but which was even arrogantly paraded 
on every occasion, could not fail to exasperate those feelings of dis- 
like on the part of America, which protracted war had engendered. 
Tins mutual hatred between the two nations arose from the enmity of 
the people rather than of the cabinets. " There is too much reason to 
believe/' wrote our minister, " that if the nation had another hundred 
million to spend, they would soon force the ministry into a war 
against us." On the side of the United States it required all the pru- 
dence of Washington, sustained by his hold on the affections of the 
people, to restrain them from a war with England, after that power 
had refused to surrender the military posts. 

A third element of discord arose when England joined the coali- 
tion against France in 1793. The course which the former had pur- 
sued for the preceding ten years, had, as we have seen, tended to 
alienate the people of America from her, and nourish sentiments of 
hostility in their bosoms. On the other hand, France, with that ad- 
dress for which she is eminent, had labored to heighten the good feel- 
ings already existing between herself and the United States. A treaty 
of alliance and commerce bound the two countries ; but the courteous 
demeanor of France cemented us to her by still stronger ties, those 
of the popular will. When, therefore, the revolution broke out in 
Paris, the enthusiasm of America towards France could scarcely be 
controlled. There can be no doubt that, if the subsequent excesses 
had not alarmed all prudent friends of liberty, the people of this 
country could not have been restrained from engaging in the strug- 
gle between France and England. But the Reign of Terror, backed 
by the insolence of Genet, the minister of the French republic, and 
afterwards by the exactions of the Directory, checked the headlong 
enthusiasm that otherwise would have embroiled us in the terrible 
wars of that period. A course of strict neutrality had been selected 
by Washington, as that which was most proper for the still weak con- 
federacy ; and every day produced events which showed the wis- 
dom of this decision. Neither Great Britain nor France, however, 
was gratified by this neutrality. Each nation wished to embark us 
on their side ; and botli grew arrogant and insulting as they found 
our resolution was not to be broken. Napoieon, on the part of 
France, saw the impolicy of such treatment, and when he became 
First Consul, hastened to abandon it. .But England relaxed nothing, 
or little. Circumstances, moreover, made her conduct practically 
more irritating than that of France ; and hence prolonged and in- 


creased the exasperation felt toward her in America. We allude to 
the restrictions attempted to be placed on our commerce, and to the 
practice of impressing seamen found on board vessels sailing under 
the flag of the United States. 

As a great naval power, the policy of England has been to main- 
tain certain maritime laws, which her jurists claim to be part of the 
code of nations, and enforce in her admiralty courts. One principle 
of these laws is this, that warlike munitions become contraband in war; 
in other words that a neutral vessel cannot carry such into the ene- 
my's ports. Hence, if a vessel, sailing under the flag of the United 
States, should be captured on the high seas, bound for France, dur- 
ing the prevalence of a war between that power and England, and 
be found to be laden with ship-timber, gunpowder, or other manufac- 
tured or unmanufactured articles for warlike purposes, the vessel 
would, by the law of nations, become a prize to the captors. The 
right to condemn a ship carrying such contraband goods, has always 
been recognized by civilized nations, and indeed is founded in com- 
mon justice. But England having supreme control at sea, and 
being tempted by the hope of destroying the sinews of her adversa- 
ry's strength, resolved to stretch this rule so as to embrace provisions, 
as well as munitions of war. She proceeded, however, gradually to 
her point. She first issued an order, on the 8th of June, 1793, for 
capturing and bringing into port " all vessels laden, wholly or in part, 
with corn, flour, or meal, and destined to France, or to other coun- 
tries, if occupied by the anus of that nation." Such vessels indeed 
were not to be condemned, nor their cargoes seized ; but the latter 
were to be purchased on behalf of the English government ; or if 
not. then the vessels, on giving due security, were to be allowed to 
proceed to any neutral port. Of course the price of provisions in 
France and in England was materially dilferent, and a lucrative 
traffic for the United States was, in this way, destroyed. Moreover, 
this proceeding was a comparative novelty in the law of nations, 
and however it might suit the purposes of Great Britain, was a gross 
outrage on America. In November of the same year it was follow- 
ed by a still more glaring infraction of the rights of neutrals, in an 
order, condemning to "capture and adjudication all vessels laden 
with the produce of any French colony, or with supplies for such co- 
lony.'' The fermentation in consequence of this order rose to such 
a height in America that it required all the skill of Washington to 
avert a war. The President, however, determining to preserve 
peace if possible, despatched Jay to London as a Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary, by whose frank explanations redress was obtained in a mea- 


sure for the past, and a treaty negotiated ; not indeed adequate to jus 
tice, but better than could be obtained again, when it expired in 

But the relaxation in the rigor of the order of November, 1793, 
soon proved to be more nominal than real ; and from 1794 until the 
peace of Amiens in 1802, the commerce of the United States conti- 
nued to be the prey of British cruizers and privateers. After the re- 
newal of the war, the fury of the belligerants increased, and with it 
the stringent measures adopted by Napoleon and Great Britain. The 
French Emperor, boldly avowing his intention to crush England, 
forbade by a series of decrees, issued from Berlin, Milan, and Kam- 
bouillet, the importation of her commodities into any port of Europe 
under his control ; and England, equally sweeping in her acts, de- 
clared all such ports in a state of blockade, thus rendering any neu- 
tral vessel liable to capture, which should attempt to enter them. 
The legality of a blockade where there is not a naval power off 
the coast competent to maintain such blockade, has always been de- 
nied by the lesser maritime powers. Its effect, in the present in- 
stance, was virtually to exclude the United States from foreign com- 
merce. In these extreme measures Napoleon and England were 
equally to be censured ; but the policy of the former did not affect 
us, while that of the latter did. Hence the exasperation against the 
one was extreme, and pervaded the whole community ; that against 
the other was slighter, and confined only to the more intelligent. In 
point of time, Napoleon was the first to begin these outrages on the 
rights of neutrals; but his injustice was practically felt only on 
land ; while England was the first to introduce the paper blockade, 
a measure ruinous to American merchants. This was done finally 
on the lGth of May, 180(3, when Great Britain announced a "block- 
ade of the coast, rivers and ports, from the river Elbe to the port of 
Brest, inclusive. " On the 21st of November, of the same year, Na- 
poleon, in retaliation, issued a decree from Berlin, placing the British 
islands in a state of blockade. This decree was followed by a still 
more stringent order in council on the part of England. 

It now became necessary for the United States, either to embark 
in a war or to withdraw her commerce altogether from the ocean. 
The popular voice demanded the former course. Though France, 
in the abstract, was as unjust as England, her oppressive measures 
did not, as we have said, affect America, and hence the indignation 
of the people was directed principally against Great Britain. But 
with the President it was different. Though the sympathies of Jef- 
ferson were all with France, his judgment was against her as well as 


England. Besides he was determined to preserve peace at all hazards, 
for it was his favorite maxim that the best war is more fatal than 
the worst peace. A further reason led him to refuse the alternative 
of war. He was not without hope that one or both of the bellige- 
rants would return to reason, and repeal their obnoxious acts, if the 
conduct of the United States, instead of being aggressive, should be 
patient. Actuated by these views, the President recommended to 
Congress the passage of an embargo act. This law passed in Decem- 
ber, 1S07. By it all American vessels abroad were called home, 
and those in the United States prohibited from leaving port. In con- 
sequence of this measure, the commerce of the country was annihi- 
lated in an hour; and harbors, once nourishing, became soon only 
receptacles for rotting ships. There can be no question now that the 
embargo was a fatal blunder. It crippled our resources for the war 
that ensued ; made the eastern states bitterly hostile to Jefferson's, as 
well as to his successor's administration ; and tended to foster in the 
minds of the populace at large, an idea that we shrank from a con- 
test with Great Britain in consequence of inherent weakness. 

But there was a fourth and last source of exasperation against 
England, which assisted, more than all the rest, to produce the war 
of 1812. We allude to the British claim of the right of impressment. 
In the terrible struggles in which England found herself eng;ig< d 
with France, her maritime force was her chief dependence, and 
accordingly she increased the number of her ships unprecedent- 
edly. But it soon became difficult to man all these vessels. The 
thriving commerce pursued by the United States, as early as 1793, 
drew large numbers of English seamen into our mercantile marine, 
where they obtained higher wages than in the navy at home. Great 
Britain saw this, and resolved to apply a remedy. By the fiction of 
her law, a man born an English subject can never throw off his al- 
legiance. She determined accordingly to seize her seamen wherever 
found, and force them to serve their native flag. In consequence her 
cruizers stopped every American vessel they met, and searched the 
crew in order to reclaim the English, Scotch, or Irish on board. Fre- 
quently it happened that persons born in America were taken as 
British subjects; for where the boarding oflicer was the judge of a 
man's nationality, there was little chance of justice, especially if the 
seaman was a promising one, or the officer's ship was short-handed. 
In nine months, during parts of the years 1706 and 1707, the Ame- 
rican minister at the court of London had made application for the 
discharge of two hundred and seventy-one native born Americans, 
proved to have been thus impressed. These outrages against personal 


independence were regarded among the people of America with the 
utmost indignation. There was something in such injuries to exas- 
perate every sentiment of the soul. That an innocent man, peaca- 
hly pursuing an honorable vocation, should be forcibly carried on 
board a British man-of-war, and there compelled to remain, shut out 
from all hope of ever seeing his family, seemed, to the robust sense 
of justice in the popular breast, little better than Algerine bondage. 
The rage of the people was increased by tales of horror and aggres- 
sion that occasionally reached their ears from these prison ships. 
Stories were told of men who had escaped, and being captured and 
taken back, were whipped until they died. In one instance, it was 
said that a sailor, goaded to madness, had seized the captain, and 
springing overboard, been drowned with his oppressor. Whether 
true or not, this* and other narratives as horrible, were freely dissem- 
inated, and tended, at last, to raise the popular feeling to a pitch of 
inconceivable exasperation. 

Every attempt to arrange this difficulty with England had signal- 
ly failed. The United States offered that all American seamen should 
be registered and provided with a certificate of citizenship ; that the 
number of a crew should be limited by the tonnage of the ship, and 
that if this number was exceeded, British subjects enlisted should be 
liable to impressment ; that deserters should be given up ; and that 
a prohibition should be issued by each party against clandestinely 
secreting and carrying off the seamen of the other. In 1800, and 
again in 180G, it was attempted to form treaties in reference to this 
subject; but the pertinacuy with which England adhered to her 
claim frustrated these efforts. In 1S03 the difficulty had nearly been 
adjusted by a convention, for Great Britain offered to abandon her 
claim to impressment on the high seas, if allowed to retain it on the 
narrow seas, or those immediately surrounding her island. But, this 
being rejected as inadmissible by the United States, all subsequent 
elforts at an arrangement proved abortive. The impressment of 
seamen continued, and was the source of daily increasing abuse. 
Not only Americans, but Danes, Swedes, Germans, Russians, French- 
men, Spaniards and Portuguese were seized and forcibly carried off 
by British men-of-war. There are even well attested instances of 
Asiatics and Africans being thus impressed. In short, as the war in 
Europe approached its climax, seamen became more scarce in the 
British navy, and all decency being thrown off, crews were filled up 
under color of this claim, regardless even of the shew of justice. In 
1811, it was computed that the number of men impressed from the 
American marine amounted to not less than six thousand. 



At last the arrogance of the British naval officers rose to such an 
extreme, that one of our national vessels, the frigate Chesapeake, 
was forcibly boarded and several men impressed from her decks. 
The circumstances were these. In the spring of 1807, the British 
Consul at Norfolk sent to Captain Decatur, requiring him to surren- 
der three seamen who had deserted from the English ship Melam- 
pus, and enlisted in the navy of the United States. The demand was 
refused, the men being found, on enquiry, to be citizens of the Uni- 
ted States. Subsequently, the American frigate Chesapeake sailed 
with these men on board, but was pursued by the British ship Leo- 
pard, fired into, and when she hauled down her flag, boarded, and 
the three men, together with another, taken from her deck. The 
Chesapeake was in no condition to resist, having gone to sea with- 
out suitable preparation, and the only gun discharged from her was 
fired by a coal brought from the galley. Before she struck, three of 
her men were killed and eighteen wounded. The news of this out- 




rage excited universal resentment in the United States. The Presi- 
dent issued a proclamation forbidding all communication with Bn- 
ish armed vessels, unless in distress, or bearing despatches ; and in- 
terdicting British vessels from the harbors and waters of the United 


States. One hundred thousand men were ordered to hold themselves 
in readiness for war, and a special session of Congress was called to 
meet on the 26th of October. Meantime, however, the outrage was 
disavowed by the British government, and here the difficulty was 
allowed to rest. "But it was subsequently noticed that the offenders, 
instead of being censured in England, were treated with undiminish- 
ed favor by their government; and this, sinking deep into the po- 
pular mind in America, created general exasperation, and increased 
the prevailing distrust in Great Britain. Already the people were 
prepared for war ; it was only the government that held back. 
There was no period, from 1S07 to 1812, when a declaration of war 
would not have been received with favor by the community at 
large ; and there were moments during that interval, when such a 
declaration would, perhaps, have been more generally popular than 
it was in 1812. This is especially true of the period between the 
outrage on the Chesapeake and the passage of the embargo act. 

Having thus traced the growth of that popular sentiment which 
rendered war, sooner or later inevitable, let us proceed to enquire 
into the manner in which it was at last brought about. For there 
is a wide distinction between the real and ostensible causes of a war, 
it being a rare thing for national contests to be undertaken without 
deeper reasons than are apparent on the surface. Thus, the peace 
of Amiens was broken, for the pretext that the British refused to 
evacuate Malta; the war was, in truth, renewed because Napoleon 
and England were filled with mutual distrust. So, the usual 
reasons given for the war of 1812, are comparatively weak, far 
weaker than those which could have been urged in favor of a war 
in 1807. The real secret was, that the people wanted a war, and 
would not longer be denied. In 1815, when the popular indignation 
had vented itself, peace was as welcome as war had been three years 
before. It has been thought strange that the treaty of Ghent over- 
looked some of the points, to obtain which the war was expressly 
undertaken ; but this view of the case explains the mystery. The 
practical result of the contest had been to teach England respect for 
the United States ; to break the charm of her naval invincibility ; 
and virtually to protect our seamen, in future, from impressment. The 
popular will was satisfied by the victories of Hull, Decatur and Stew- 
art, at sea ; and by those of Chippewa, the Thames and New Orleans, 
on land. The people looked less at the treaty, than at these triumphs. 

Meantime, we return to the thread of events. In December, 1807, 
as already stated, the embargo act was passed. But the pressure of 
this law was found to be so severe on all classes of the community, 
that, in March, 1809, it was repealed, and a non-importation act as 


to England and France, substituted. By this new law, all voyages to 
the French and British dominions were prohibited, and all trade in 
articles of British and French product or manufacture : and power 
was vested in the President, incase either or both of the belligerants 
should revoke their edicts, so as no longer to violate the neutral com- 
merce of the United States, to issue a proclamation repealing the pro- 
visions of the new importation act as to one, or both. In conse- 
quence of this, France on the 1st of November, 1810, exempted the 
United States from the operation of the Berlin and Milan decrees. 
England, however, still refused to repeal her orders in council, alle- 
ging that France must first revoke her edicts absolutely. To this the 
American government replied that it had no right to dictate to Na- 
poleon what his conduct to other nations should be, and that, since 
he had offered justice to the United States, there was no further cause 
of complaint against him on her part. The 3rd of March, 1S1 1, had 
been fixed as the limit of time, at which the belligerants were to re- 
voke their a™ressive laws, or take the chances of a war ; but anxious 
to preserve peace, Mr. Madison procured the passage of an act, by 
which Great Britain was allowed a further period of delay. This 
last act of conciliation proved as useless as preceding ones, and the 
American government began finally to despair. Had its patience, 
however, continued for a few months longer, the war might have 
been averted, at least for a time. But an incident occurred at this 
crisis, which, by giving a new impetus to the popular rage, hurried 
the cabinet into hostilities, at the very moment when England was 
about to relax her orders. We allude to the discovery of an intrigue 
for the separation of the New England States from the Union, car- 
ried on by an Englishman, named John Henry, professing to be 
a secret agent of Great Britain. 

This individual had been employed in 1S09, by Sir James Craig, 
Governor-General of Canada. He had visited Boston, where he 
moved in the best circles, and was known for his quiet and gentle- 
manly, but reserved demeanor. In February, 1812, he communi- 
cated to the President of the United States the nature of his mission, 
in consideration of receiving for the disclosure, the sum of fifty 
thousand dollars, from the secret service fund. The money was 
paid, the papers received by Mr. Madison, and then Henry, before 
the documents were published, sailed for Europe. His papers 
proved that the Governor-General of Canada, misled by the opposi- 
tion of a portion of the New England States to the measures of the 
general government, had conceived that a dissolution of the Union 
was at hand; and had sent Henry to Boston to ascertain how far, in 
such an event, England would be looked to for aid, and to what ex- 


tent the withdrawing states would enter into connexion with her. 
This idea of a dissolution, regarded as so visionary in the United 
States, had, as we have seen, long been a favorite one in England. 
Henry soon found, however, that a separation from the Union was 
not the intention of New England. On his return to Canada, Sir 
James Craig refused to remunerate him. Henry accordingly be- 
trayed his employers, and sold his information to Mr. Madison. It 
has been urged that his conduct destroyed the validity of his testi- 
mony ; and there is some force in the argument ; but, on the whole, there 
appears no good reason to doubt the fact of his mission, or its purport. 

The nation, on learning this intrigue, became doubly exasperated 
against England; and loudly demanded war. The great commer- 
cial cities, the Middle States, and the West, were foremost in this 
burst of mingled enthusiasm, passion and patriotism. The New 
England States, however, resisted the torrent. But the majority 
of the people were no longer to be denied the revenge for winch 
they had so long thirsted. Beyond the Alleghaniesthe sentiment in 
favor of the war was universal. This was, in part, the result of the 
threatening aspect of the Indians, who were believed to have been 
secretly instigated to hostility by the British. While the public feel- 
ing was in this excited condition, despatches were received from 
Europe, announcing the continued refusal of England to revoke her 
edicts. The President immediately accuiainted Congress with this 
fact, and that body, after an animated debate, declared war against 
the united kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The bill, declar- 
ing war, passed the House of Representatives, on the 4th of June, 
1812, by a majority of thirty in one hundred and twenty-eight votes. 
In the Senate nineteen voted for it, and thirteen against it. On the 
18th of June, it was signed by the President ; and on the 19th pub- 
licly proclaimed. Four days later, the British ministry withdrew 
conditionally their objectionable orders in council, of January, 1807, 
and April, 1809. But, when the news of this event reached America, 
hostilities had already begun. The peace offering had come too late. 

The army with which Congress proposed to begin this war, 
amounted, on paper, to thirty-five thousand men : but as twenty-five 
thousand of this number had been authorized only in January, the 
real force enrolled was probably less than fifteen thousand. The 
services of fifty thousand volunteers, in addition, however, were or- 
dered to be accepted ; and the President was empowered to call on 
the States for militia to the number of one hundred thousand, if 
necessary. In all these preparations the force was more apparent than 
real : and sagacious minds foresaw that, until a large disciplined 
army was in the field, defeat would probably be our portion ! 

»l\t^t*^R*^^ '' 




„_,HE war of 1812 was preceded 
Wffci by an ominous demonstration on 
y ''U the north-western frontier. Se- 
cretly instigated by the English, 
l 5] the savages, as early as 1811, 
Hfehad conceived the idea of forming an exten- 
JV^'-,-Ksive league to crush the power of the United 
States. The existence of some such hostile 
movement became suspected by the admin- 
istration, in consequence of the murders and 
other outrages perpetrated by the Indians; and accordingly General 
William Henry Harrison, at that time Governor of the territory of 
Indiana, was ordered, at the head of a competent force of regulars 
and militia, to enter the hostile country and obtain redress for these 
injuries. Harrison arrived at the chief town of the enemy, on the 
in* 29 


6th November, 1811. Tecumseh, the leader in the conspiracy, was 
absent, but his brother, the Prophet, who was possessed of equal, if 
not superior influence, sent messengers to meet the American Gene- 
ral, and promise that, on the ensuing morning, an amicable adjust- 
ment of all difficulties should be made. Harrison, in consequence, 
encamped peaceably for the night; but aware of the treachery of the 
Indian character, chose the strongest position afforded by the neigh- 
borhood, and ordered his men to rest upon their arms. These pre- 
cautions alone saved him from massacre ; for in the night the sav- 
ages assailed him. The contest was long and bloody. But finally, 
discipline triumphed, and the Indians were repulsed. The loss on 
both sides was severe. The Americans suffered, in killed and 
wounded, one hundred and eighty-eight ; the enemy one hundred 
and fifty. On the 9th of November, Harrison burned the village, 
and devastated the surrounding country, after which he returned 
home. This battle is known as that of Tippecanoe, from the name 
of the Prophet's town. It produced such a wholesome fear of the 
American arms that the Indians in the vicinity generally sued for 

In order to follow up this blow if necessary, the government raised 
an army and placed it under the command of General William Hull, 
Governor of Michigan territory. The probability of a war was also 
considered in enlisting this force, for in case of such an event, the 
presence of an army in the north-west, would give the United States 
the opportunity of striking the first blow. Accordingly, in the month 
of April, 1812, the Governor of Ohio was ordered by the President, 
to call out twelve hundred men. The success at Tippecanoe, and 
the general enthusiasm for a war promptly filled the requisition. 
This temporary force assembled at Dayton, Ohio, on the 25th of 
April, IS 12. Uniting with the fourth United States infantry, and por- 
tions of other regular regiments, the whole marched upon Detroit. 
The little army was compelled to traverse a dense wilderness for 
nearly two hundred miles, and consequently did not reach its desti- 
nation until the 5th of July. Meantime, war had been declared. 
But by some unaccountable mistake in the department at Washing- 
ton, the intelligence was allowed to reach the British posts in the 
north-west, before it was transmitted to the American commander. 
This oversight led to the capture of a portion of Hull's baggage, 
which he had sent by water to Detroit, without a sufficient guard. 

On the 1 2th of July the army crossed into the British territory, dis- 
cretionary powers having been vested in Hull to invade Canada in 
the event of a war. A vaunting proclamation was issued, addressed 


to the inhabitants, many of whom, in consequence, joined the inva- 
ders. Parties were now sent out into the country, which was found 
to be fertile and well cultivated. A detachment, under Colonels Cass 
and Miller, marched towards Maiden, a British post, situated at the 
confluence of the Detroit river and lake Erie, about thirteen miles 
from Sandwich, where Hull was encamped. The enemy was met 
at a bridge over the Canard river and driven in confusion back on 
Maiden. Had Cass and Miller been supported, the fortress must 
have fallen, for it was in no condition to resist a vigorous assault ; 
but Hull refused to sustain his subordinates, and the reconnoitering 
party was withdrawn to the camp. 

In fact Hull, from indecision of character, was unfit for.hiscommand. 
After he had made his first vigorous cllbrt, and once entered Canada, 
lie sunk into idleness. The intelligence of the fall of Mackinaw, which 
was surprised by the enemy on the 17th of July, filled him with vague 
apprehensions, which were increased when he came to reflect on the 
distance that his supplies had to be brought from Ohio, and the dif- 
ficulty of transportation. A detachment of hostile Indians, in a few 
days, crossing the Detroit, cut oil' the communications; and a small 
force sent out to open the route, was surprised and defeated by the 
savages. This event increased the alarm of Hull. Stimulated by 
his younger oflicers, he had at last begun his preparations for an ad- 
vance ; but now, abandoning all present thought of reducing Mai- 
den, he retreated across the river, and established himself at Detroit. 
This was on the Sth of August. On the same day a detachment, six 
hundred strong, commanded by Colonel Miller, was sent to open the 
communications. This force met and conquered a combined body 
of British and Indians, with a loss to the Americans of seventy, that 
of the enemy being probably a hundred. A severe storm of rain and 
the care of the wounded compelled Colonel Miller, however, to re- 
turn subsequently to Detroit. A third attempt to open the commu- 
nications was made on the 14th of August, by a body of three hun- 
dred picked men, under the command of Colonels Cass and M'Ar- 
thur ; but this elfort proving as unsuccessful as the former ones, the 
detachment returned to camp, two days later, where it found, to the 
inconceivable chagrin of its oificers and men, that Hull had surren- 
dered, and that it was included in the capitulation. 

On the day that Cass and M'Arthur had left Detroit, the British, 
who had advanced as Hull retreated, began to erect batteries on the 
shore at Sandwich, opposite the American camp. General Brock, 
who commanded the enemy's forces, was as remarkable for energy as 
ljull for inefficiency. He had gained a thorough insight, moreover, 


into the character of his adversary, and knew the American leader 
to be possessed with a secret fear of the British invincibility. Ac- 
cordingly, on the 15th of of August, Brock summoned Hull to sur- 
render, intimating that, in the event of a refusal, he should assault 
Detroit, when he would not be answerable for the conduct of the In- 
dians. Hull at first rejected the proposal of a capitulation with 
scorn. Brock proceeded, in consequence, to open his batteries. The 
bombardment was continued until towards midnight, and resumed 
on the following morning, when the British, with their savage allies, 
were seen advancing to the assault, having crossed during the night. 
At this spectacle, Hull's resolution deserted him. He ordered a 
white flag to be displayed, and a parley ensuing, terms of capitula- 
tion were speedily arranged. By this disgraceful compact, Fort De- 
troit, with its garrison and all the public stores and arms were sur- 
rendered. Even the detachment of M'Arthur and Cass was included 
in the arrangement. The volunteers and militia were allowed to re- 
turn home, on condition of not serving again until exchanged. Thir- 
ty-three pieces of artillery were surrendered on this occasion ; among 
them, several brass pieces captured from Burgoyne in the war of In- 
dependence. Twenty-five hundred muskets and rifles likewise fell 
into the hands of the enemy. This capitulation was received with 
rage when announced to the troops. The consternation and anger 
which it awakened in the United States was unparalleled. Hull was 
everywhere accused of cowardice, and, in some quarters, even of 
tre.ison. On his exchange, he was tried by a court-martial, found 
guilty of cowardice and conduct unbecoming an officer, and sentenced 
to be shot. But in consequence of his age, and his services in the 
Revolution, he was recommended to the mercy of the President, who, 
remitting the capital punishment, contented himself with striking the 
olfender's name from the army roll. 

The weakness of Hull had been penetrated by his officers long be- 
fore the surrender, and letters were, in consequence, despatched to 
Governor Meigs, of Ohio, informing him of the suspicions of the wri- 
ters, and soliciting reinforcements to open the communications. A 
force of volunteers was promptly called out. In a few days the in- 
telligence of the loss of Detroit arrived. The departure of the troops 
was now hastened, and Harrison, created for the purpose a Major- 
General of the Kentucky militia, was entrusted with the command. 
His troops marched from Cincinnati, on the 29th of August, their 
first destination being the relief of the frontier posts. The numbers 
of his army were about twenty-five hundred. Halting at Piqua, he 
proceeded to Fort Wayne, the siege of which by the Indians was 


raised on his approach. He already, however, began to feel the 
want of supplies, which, having to be transported from the settled 
country and Cincinnati, arrived in small quantities and after great 
delays. Hence, he found it impossible to march at once on Detroit, 
as had been originally intended. He contented himself, therefore. 
frith sending out two expeditions, one against the Miami towns on 
the Wabash, the other against the Potawatamic villages on the river 
St. Joseph. Both incursions were successful. Nine villages were 
burned, and all the standing corn destroyed ; a rigorous, but neces- 
sary measure, since, without it, the hostile Indians could not have 
been driven from a neighborhood so dangerous to the American 

Towards the close of September, General Winchester, a Brigadier 
in the army of the United States, arrived at Fort Wayne with rein- 
forcements, and superseded Harrison. The latter was on his return 
to his government in Indiana, when he was overtaken by an express 
from Washington, assigning to him the chief command of the army. 
On the 23d of September he reached Fort Wayne again, but found 
that Winchester had marched to Fort Defiance, the preceding day, 
with two thousand men. The progress of Winchester was slow, for 
his route lay through swamps, or impenetrable thickets; while he was 
compelled to move with great caution, clouds of hostile Indians hang- 
ing on his front. In fact, a detachment of four hundred British re- 
gulars, attended by artillery, and accompanied by more than a thou- 
sand savages had been advancing to attack Fort Wayne, when, 
learning Winchester's approach, it thought it most prudent to fall 
back towards the Miami. The Americans soon began to feel the 
want of provisions ; for a supply despatched down the river Au 
Glaize by Harrison, could not reach Fort Defiance in consequence of 
the vicinity of the enemy. At last the sufferings of his army became 
so extreme that Winchester sent back an escort, who succeeded in 
bringing up supplies on pack horses. On the 30th of September, 
his troops reached Fort Defiance, which the enemy abandoned on 
his approach. 

Three days afterwards, Harrison arrived; but remained only 
twenty-four hours, returning to bring up the residue of his troops. 
He now proceeded to arrange them according to the following dispo- 
sition. General Tupper, with a regiment of regulars, and the Ohio 
volunteers and militia, was placed at Fort M 'Arthur. This force 
constituted the centre of the army. The left wing was left at Fort 
Defiance, under Winchester. The right wing, composed of two bri- 
gades of militia, one from Pennsylvania, and one from Virginia, was 



stationed at Sandusky. The army had left Cincinnati, fully expect 
ing to strike a decisive blow before winter, but this the want of sup 
plies had prevented. With the exception of an incursion of five 
days, undertaken by General Tupper against the Rapids of the Mi- 
ami, and which proved eminently successful, no further movement 
was made during the fall. Tupper, after defeating the savages and 
British, returned to Fort M* Arthur; and thus ended what is called 
Harrison's first autumnal campaign. 

Meantime, while these events had been transacting on Lake Erie, 
the war had not languished in Indiana and Illinois. The policy of 
England was to let her battles be fought by the savages, whom she 
had accordingly supplied with arms, and instigated to take up the 
hatchet. Hence the necessity, during the first two campaigns, of so 
many expeditions against the Indians. A body of Kentucky volun- 
teers, under General Hopkins, and a detachment of rangers, under 
Colonel Russell, had been despatched to chastise the tribes in these 
two territories by destroying their towns. Their first destination, 
however, was the relief of Fort Harrison, a post at that time invest- 
ed by the savages. The commander of this place was General Tay- 
lor, then a young olficer, holding the rank of Captain ; but his con- 
duct, in the emergency, evinced all those heroic traits which have 
since shone forth, on a grander scale, at Palo Alto, Monterey and 
Buena V T ista. Expecting an attack, he held himself hourly in readi- 
ness. On the night of the 4th of September the anticipated assault 
took place. The Indians succeeded in firing a block-house contigu- 
ous to the barracks; and it was with great diUiculty the latter were 
preserved from the flames. Sending a detachment to the roof of the 
barracks to tear off the portion adjoining the block-house, while a 
galling fire was maintained oti the Indians from other parts of the 
fort, the gallant young odicer finally succeeded in preventing the 
spreading of the flames. The block-house, however, was consumed, 
and thus a gap, six or eight feet wide, opened into the fort. But this 
interval was speedily barricaded, and the savages repulsed in an at- 
tempt to enter. When the attack had continued seven hours, and 
day had broken, the Indians retired. The Americans lost but three 
killed and three wounded. During this contest, there were only fif- 
teen elective men in the garrison, the rest being sick or convales- 
cent. In a few days the place was relieved by the approach of Ge- 
neral Hopkins at the head of four thousand men. 

Preparations were now begun to fulfil the second object of the ex- 
pedition, an attack on the Peoria villages. But, after a march of 
four days in the direction of the enemy, the spirit of insubordination 


among the volunteers grew to such a pitch that the General thought 
it advisable not to proceed. He offered, however, to pursue the en- 
terprise if five hundred persons could be found to attend him. But 
the volunteers, either from the exhausted state of their horses, their 
own fears, or their want of confidence in Hopkins, decided almost 
unanimously to return. Accordingly the authority of the General 
was set aside, and the army began to retrace its steps. Meantime, 
however, Colonel Russel had inarched by a dilFerent route against 
the savages and defeated them. Having burned their towns and 
destroyed their corn, he returned to the settlements. Anotiier de- 
tachment, led by Captain Craig, penetrated twenty miles further than 
even Russel. In November, Hopkins, at the head of twelve hun- 
dred and fifty men, undertook a more successful enterprise against 
the villages on the Wabash. Colonel Campbell, in December, led a 
similar expedition, and with like success, against the towns on the 
Mississinewa river. 

Harrison having failed in his autumnal campaign, determined to 
resume operations in the winter. Accordingly he directed the three 
divisions of his army to rendezvous at the rapids of the Miami ; there 
collect provisions ; and making a feint on Detroit, cross the strait on 
the ice and invest Maiden. General Winchester was the first to ar- 
rive at the rendezvous, which he did after incredible privations on 
the part of his men. But he had scarcely reached the rapids, when, 
yielding to the entreaties of the citizens of Frenchtown for protection, 
he detached Colonel Lewis with seven hundred and fifty men to 
their relief. Lewis met and defeated a body of British and their 
savage allies. The news of this success transported those who had 
been left behind ; all were anxious to press forward and secure a 
portion of the glory ; and accordingly, Winchester, with the remain- 
der, pushing on to Frenchtown, arrived and took post at that place 
on the 20th of January, 1813. The fatal error of thus placing him- 
self beyond sustaining distance from the main army, was exemplified 
the next day, when Proctor, at the head of fifteen hundred British 
and savages, attacked and defeated the Americans. Winchester 
was taken prisoner early in the action. A portion of his troops held 
out for some time longer, but finally capitulated. 

Now ensued a tragedy the remembrance of which will never be 
effaced from the popular mind. The uninjured Americans were im- 
mediately marched towards Maiden by their captors. The wounded, 
however, were left on the field, but with the understanding that they 
should be sent for the next day. But the following morning the In- 
dians broke in on these helpless men, and after murdering them, set 



fire to the houses where they lay. This atrocious act which the Bn 
tish might easily have prevented, has been justly called the massacre o 
the River Raisin. Harrison, who had arrived at the rapids, hearim: 
of the capture of Winchester, deemed it advisable to retreat. He 
accordingly fell back to Carrying River, about midway between the 
Miami and Sandusky. The next month, however, finding that Proc- 
tor made no attempt at pursuit, he advanced again to the rapids, where 
he began the construction of Fort Meigs, destined to be subsequently 
celebrated for its two sieges. Thus ended what is called Harrison's 
winter campaign. It was quite as unfortunate as his autumnal one, 
and did little or nothing towards obliterating the disgrace of Hull's 

While these events had been transacting on the north-west frontier, 
others of scarcely less importance had been occurring on Lake Onta- 
rio. Here the population was comparatively dense. The govern- 
ment accordingly looked to this point as one where a decisive blow 
could be struck against the enemy. It was evidently to the advan- 
tage of the United States that the war should be waged on the soil 
of Canada, and hence the resolution was early taken to invade that 
territory. The American forces, guarding the northern frontier, were 
stationed at Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Sackett's Harbor, Black Rock, and 
Ogdensbarg, the whole under the supreme command of Major-Gen- 
eral Dearborn. In addition to the regular army, however, thus dis- 
posed, the militia of New York, thirty-five hundred in number, were 
in the field, commanded by Major-General Van Rensselaer. These 
were posted at Lewistown. General Dearborn was ordered early in 
the season to assail the British, if for no other purpose than to pre- 
vent their sending succor to Maiden. The summer, however, passed 
in inactivity, Dearborn having, notwithstanding the orders from 
Washington, concluded an armistice with the Governor-General of 
Canada, based on a mutual belief that peace was at hand, in conse- 
quence of the repeal of the English orders in council. General Van 
Rensselaer, however, was disposed to be more active. A detach- 
ment of Americans having, on the 21st of September, captured a 
small village on the Canadian side, the enemy endeavored to reta- 
liate by an unsuccessful expedition against Ogdensburg. General 
Van Rensselaer, on this resolved to attack Queenstown. The enter- 
prise was undertaken on the 13th of October, and but for the cow- 
ardice of the militia would have resulted in a brilliant victory. It 
was on this occasion that General, then Colonel Scott, first distin- 
guished himself. 

The plan of the attack was as follows : — a corps of six hundred 



infantry, half of which were militia and half regulars, was, under 
cover of night, to cross the Niagara and carry the batteries by assault. 
The boats collected to transport the men proved insufficient, how- 
ever, and only a portion of the force was carried over to the British 
shore in time. One detachment, attempting to cross, was forced by 
the current under the guns of the enemy, and most of it captured. 
Meantime, however, Colonel Van Rensselaer, who led the pioneers, 
gallantly advanced on the foe with what forces he had ; but being 


soon wounded, was forced to leave the field. The Americans dash- 
ed forward, nevertheless, and seized a height called the Mountain, 
whither they dragged an eighteen pounder and two mortars. The Bri- 
tish now fled to Queenstown. Here the fugitives were met and ral- 
lied by General Brock, who led them back to dispossess the Ameri- 
cans of the height. But Brock being mortally wounded, the British 
again lied. Some accessions of force, chiefly militia, under General 
Wadsworth, finally made their appearance. 

At this crisis Colonel Scott reached the field of battle and took 
command of the United States troops, now reduced to about two 
hundred and fifty. Expecting to be reinforced from Lewistown, he 


drew up his men close to the ferry, in order to cover that important 
point. Here he manfully stood his ground, twice repulsing the Bri- 
tish and their Indian allies. At last, Major-General Sheaffe, at the 
head of the neighboring garrison of Fort George, which had been 
aroused by the firing, arrived at the scene of contest. His forces 
numbered eight hundred and fifty. All hope of succor from the 
American side had meantime departed, for the militia, beholding 
the numbers of the British, were seized with alarm and refused to cross. 
Retreat was impossible, the boats all being on the American side. 
In consequence, after some desperate elforts at resistance, which 
proved unavailing, Scott was compelled to capitulate. The Ameri- 
cans' sutle red in killed, wounded and prisoners, one thousand men, a 
half of whom were regulars. The British loss is not known, though 
it was considerable. General Van Rensselaer, in consequence of 
this failure, shortly after resigned. In the death of Brock, the ene- 
my experienced a blow for which even victory could afford no com- 
pensation. Urock enjoyed one of the best reputations in the English 
army, and had been Wellington's competitor, a few years before, for 
the command in the peninsula. A sentiment of chivalrous respect in- 
duced the Americans to fire minute-guns from Fort Niagara during 
the funeral ceremonies of this hero. What more delightful than to 
record acts of courtesy like this, amid the forbidding incidents of a 
sanguinary war ! 

Other attempts were subsequently made to invade Canada by Ge- 
neral Smyth, the successor of Van Rensselaer. But the want of boats 
led to the failure of these projected expeditions. General Dearborn, 
whose head-quarters were at Greenbush, was not more successful ; 
and, though in command of a respectable force of regulars, suffered 
the autumn to pass in inactivity. In short, so complete had been the 
failure of our arms on land in this campaign, that but for the bril- 
liant success that attended us at sea, the spirit of the people would, 
perhaps, have given way. But, in the darkest hour of disaster, when 
the surrender of Detroit buried the nation in gloom, the victory of 
the Constitution over the Guerriere, suddenly blazed across the fir- 
mament, and inspired hope and exultation in every bosom. 

On the declaration of war, the prowess of England at sea was re- 
garded as so invincible, that the administration hesitated whether to 
send the national vessels from port. The American navy, in 181 2, con- 
sisted of ten frigates, of which five were laid up in ordinary ; ten 
sloops and smaller vessels; and one hundred and sixty-five uselesa 
gun boats. The representations of a few officers, however, who 
were confident of success, induced the President to allow a portion of 



this little navy to sail. One of the first of onr frigates to leave port was 
the Constitution. This vessel, commanded by Captain Isaac Hull, put 
to sea from Annapolis, on the 12th of July, 1S12, bound to New 
York. On her voyage, however, she fell in with a British fleet, fiom 
which she only escaped by incredible exertions of seamanship 
and skill. Being chased from her route, she went into Boston har- 
bor. By this accident Hull was prevented receiving an order that had 
been despatched to New York, directing him to give up the command 
of his ship. In a few days he sailed on a new cruise. On the 19th 
of August he met the Guerriere, Captain Dacres, an English frigate 
of slightly inferior force, and, after a sharp conflict of half an hour, 
compelled her to surrender. The loss of the Americans in thisaction 
was seven killed and seven wounded ; that of the British fifteen 
killed, sixty-two wounded, and twenty-four missing. The Guerriere 
was injured so materially that it was found impossible to carry her 
into port, and accordingly she was burned. This victory is attribu- 
ted in part to the heavier metal of the Constitution, but chiefly to the 
superior gunnery of her crew. Its etfect on the public mind was 
electric. The triumph was regarded almost as a miracle. In the 
general exultation, the surrender of Detroit was almost forgotten ; 


and the spirits of the people were rallied, when otherwise they might 
have sunk into despair. 

The insane confidence of the British in their naval superiority had 
been exhibited a few days before, when Captain Porter, in the Ame- 



ncan frigate Essex had been attacked by the British sloop of war 
Alert, a vessel of very inferior force. For her temerity, however, 
the Alert, in eight minutes had suffered so much from the fire of her 
enemy as to have seven feet of water in her hold. She surrendered 
of necessity, and was sent into New York. Other victories followed 
in rapid succession. On the 8th of October, the British sloop Fro- 

thk capture op the fb"1.:c bt the wasp. 

lie, of twenty-two guns, was captured by the American sloop Wasp, 
Captain Jones, of eighteen guns. Seven days afterwards the frigate 
United States, Captain Decatur, being oft' the Western Islands, met 
the British frigate Macedonian, Captain Carden, and forced her to sur- 
render. The loss of the Macedonian was thirty-six killed and sixty- 
eight wounded; that of the United States only four killed and seven 
wounded. Decatur carried the Macedonian into New York. On 
the 20th of December, the Constitution, now commanded by Captain 
Bainbridgc, fell in with, and captured the British frigate Java, Cap- 
tain Lambert, off the coast of Brazil ; the Java losing sixty killed 
and more than one hundred wounded, while the loss on board the 
Constitution was but nine killed and twenty-five wounded. These 
scries of successes had been attended with but few reverses. Only 
three national vessels had been lost, the Wasp, Vixen and Nautilus, 


of which the first, a sloop of war, was the largest. All of these ships, 
moreover, had surrendered to vastly superior forces. In addition to 
the victories of the regular marine, almost daily triumphs were 
achieved by the American privateers. It was computed, when Con- 
gress met in November, that two hundred and fifty British vessels 
had already fallen a prey to private cruizers. 

These successes determined the government to decline the offer 
of an armistice, tendered by Great Britain, unless that power would 
abandon her claim to impressment. The English Cabinet, however, 
refused to yield this point, and preparations were in consequence 
made to open the year 1813 with renewed activity. Twenty addi- 
tional regiments of infantry were ordered to be raised, and ten regi- 
ments of rangers; while the greatest inducements were held out to 
enlist. It was resolved also to increase the navy. In a word, though 
our armies on land had met with almost universal defeat in 1812, it 
was hoped that in 1813 they would be attended by abetter fortune : 
and accordingly, a new plan for the invasion of Canada was pro- 
jected, under the especial direction of General Armstrong, the succes- 
sor of Dr. Eustice, as Secretary at War. 

The army on Lake Ontario was still commanded by General Dear- 
born. The plan of General Armstrong, as communicated to this 
General early in 1813, was to attack the British posts of Kingston, 
York, and Fort George, in succession — the reduction of the first 
being considered the most important, and therefore to be under- 
taken as a preliminary. General Dearborn, however, after consult- 
ing Commodore Chauncey, who commanded the fleet on Lake On- 
tario, resolved to begin with York. Accordingly, on the 27th of 
April, the fleet arrived off that place, and the troops being landed, 
the town was captured. Owing however to the explosion of the 
British fort, General Pike, who led the Americans, was killed, while 
two hundred of his men were either killed or wounded. General 
Dearborn having remained on board the fleet, and the officer who now 
succeeded to the command, being without orders, most of the 
fruits of the expedition were lost. The army next proceeded, 
though not until after various delays, to attack Fort George. On the 
27th of May that place was assailed, and captured, after a spir- 
ited resistance. A series of operations in the open field now ensued, 
which were attended generally with disgrace and failure to the 
Americans ; and, in the end, General Dearborn recalled all his troops 
to the fort, which the British proceeded to invest. 

While this imbecile campaign was draining along, a General 
born of the people blazed suddenly into notoriety. The circumstance 
iv* G 


was this : On the 27th of May, an attack being made on the 
American post at Sackett's Harbor, General Brown, a militia officer 
of that neighborhood, placing himself at the head of the garrison, 
defeated the assailants. The gallantry and decision of Brown in this 
action, appeared the more conspicuous in contrast with the tardiness 
and want of ability displayed by Dearborn. The latter General was 
old, weak, and in bad health, and thus unfit, on many accounts, for 
his post. At last the public indignation rose to such a height, that 
he was recalled, and General Wilkinson appointed in his place. 

It is time now to return to the north-western frontier, where we 
left Harrison engaged in the construction of Fort Meigs. The cam- 
paign of 1S1 3 was opened in this quarter, by the advance of Proctor 
against that post, in the latter part of April, at the head of two 
thousand British and Indians. Harrison being in hourly expectation 
of succor from Ohio, gallantly defended the place until the fifth of 
May, when General Clay arrived with the expected reinforcements. 
An unsuccessful attempt was now made to raise the siege. A few days 
later, Proctor finding the Indians dissatisfied, suddenly abandoned 
the enterprise, and embarking Ii is artillery, retired towards Maiden. 
On the 20th of July another attempt was made on Fort Meigs, but 
al'ter eight days, the siege was again given up. The enemy then 
sailed around to Sandusky Bay, in order to capture Fort Stephen- 
son, a post affording an inviting opportunity for capture, since it 
was garrisoned by only one hundred and fifty men. The comman- 
der, however. Major Croghan, was a young man of spirit, resolu- 
tion, and ambition. On the 1st of August, the British invested the 
fort, and on the second, after a heavy cannonade, advanced to as- 
sault it. But they were repulsed with such terrible loss, that they 
precipitately raised the seige, leaving behind their wounded. This 
gave Harrison an opportunity to contrast his humanity with that of 
Proctor. By the orders of the American General, the wounded Bri. 
tish soldiers were treated with the greatest kindness, an eloquent re- 
buke to the conduct of Proctor at the Raisin, where his negligence, 
if not his consent, led to the massacre of the Kcntuckians. The 
brilliant defence of Fort Sandusky, in conjunction with that of 
Sackett's Harbor, assisted to rally the despondency of the nation, 
and prophetic minds saw in them, forebodings of future victories, 
which, in the succeeding year, were realized. 

From the period of his winter campaign on the Raisin, Harrison 
had urged upon government the necessity of a naval force on Lake 
Erie. He asserted that half the money expended in transporting 
supplies to the army as was necessary, for two hundred miles 



through the wilderness, would build and equip a fleet which would 
give the United States the command of Lake Erie ; enable supplies 
to be procured at comparatively small expense ; and transport the 
army, if required, in a few hours to Canada. These views, at last, 
made an impression' on the President, and two brigs, and several 
schooners were ordered to be built on Lake Erie. This fleet, being 
completed by the second of August, was entrusted to the comman 1 
of Lieutenant Oliver Perry, an ardent, brave, and skilful young offi- 
cer. He immediately set sail in search of the enemy. He found the 
British fleet lying in the harbor of Maiden ; but the enemy refusing 
to come out and engage, Perry retired. On the 10th of September, 
the English squadron left its post, when the American commander 
promptly made sail to give battle. A change of wind prevented the 
enemy from declining the combat. The British fleet consisted of 
m\- vessels, carrying sixty-three guns; the American, of nine vessels, 


carrying fifty-four guns. The English, consequently, were rnther 
superior. The action was warmly contested, and once nearly won 
by the enemy ; but the indomitable spirit of Perry was not to be 
subdued ; he fought on, and victory finally declared for him. The 
loss of the British was forty-one killed, and ninety-four wounded; 


that of the Americans, twenty-seven killed, and ninety-six wounded. 
By this victory, one of the most glorious in the annals of our conn 
try, the enemy was disheartened, and his fleet, on which he had de 
pendedforsnpplies,destroyed. Every sagacious mind now saw that the 
British would be forced, in time, to evacuate, not only the American 
territory they occupied, but also a portion of Upper Canada. 

Meantime, a series of disasters was attending our arms on the 
St. Lawrence. General Dearborn, as we have seen, had been sus- 
pended by General Wilkinson ; and General Armstrong, the Secretary 
of War, had arrived in person, at the seat of operations, in order to 
superintend the campaign. But the new General was even worse 
than the last. If Dearborn was superannuated, Wilkinson was vain, 
as well as old. On the 21st of October he began the descent of the 
St. Lawrence, his intention being to attack Montreal, after forming 
a junction with General Hampton, who was to advance from Lake 
Champlain. The late period of the year however, bringing incle- 
ment weather, delayed the progress of the troops. At last, after a 
delay of two weeks, the army left Lake Ontario, and entered the 
St. Lawrence. A few days subsequently, the indecisive battle of Wil- 
liamsburgh was fought, and shortly after, on Hampton's declaring 
his inability to reach the rendezvous, Wilkinson abandoned the en- 
terprise. A bold leader would have advanced, nothwithstanding 
his disappointment. Wilkinson's only excuse for his conduct, is that 
he was enfeebled, both in mind and body, by sickness. The dis- 
graceful termination of this expedition ultimately produced the resig- 
nation of both Wilkinson and Armstrong. The disasters on the 
northern frontier did not, however, cease with this failure. On the 
10th of December, the Americans abandoned and blew up Fort 
George, and in retiring, burnt the Canadian village of Newark. On 
the 15th, the invaders were pursued to their own soil, Fort Niagara 
captured by surprise, and the neighboring villages of Lewis- 
town, Youngstown, and Manchester, consumed in retaliation for the 
destruction of Newark. Subsequently, Black Rock and Buffalo 
were also attacked by the British, and given to the flames. In the 
north-west, however, our arms had been more successful. The vic- 
tory of Perry having opened the road into Canada, Harrison, on the 
27th of September, in 3, embarked his troops, and landed the same 
day in the British territories. Proctor, who, since the defeat of the 
English fleet, had acted like one stupified with fear, immediately 
abandoned Maiden, and began a disgraceful flight. On the 5th of 
October, Harrison overtook the retreating General, and the battle of 
the Thames ensued, in which the combined British and Indian force 


was defeated. Proctor was one of the first to fly. His savage ally, 
Tecumseh, fought with more resolution, and stoutly disputed the 
day, until he fell, covered with wounds. The loss in this battle was 
comparatively slight. The Americans suffered, in killed and wound- 
ed, only twenty-nine ; the British and savages, about sixty-four. By 
this victory of the Thames, the whole territory surrendered by Gene- 
ral Hull was recovered, while a large portion of Canada was wrested 
from the British crown, and retained until the end of the war. 
Nor was this all ; the power of the savages having been thus 
broken, they were not able again to rally, and henceforth the British 
had to conduct the war alone. 

While success on the Canadian frontier had been fluctuating in 
this manner between the Americans and British, though, on the 
whole, inclining to the latter, the people of the Middle States were 
kept in a state of continual alarm by predatory incursions from the 
enemy's fleet. In December, 1812, the Atlantic coast, from the 
Chesapeake to Rhode Island, had been declared in a state of 
blockade. Immediately, the British ships on the seaboard, com- 
menced a harassing warfare on the exposed settlements. An attack 
made on Lewistown, near the mouth of the Delaware Bay, proved 
indeed, unsuccessful ; but in the Chesapeake, the depredations of 
the enemv, under Admiral Cockbum, spread terror on every hand. 
Nothing was too petty for this marauder to assail. Farm-houses 
were plundered ; country-seats burned ; and villages sacked, under 
his personal superintendence. Frcnchtown, Havre dc Grace, Fre- 
derickstown, and Georgetown, were laid in ashes. But at Norfolk, 
the enemy met with a repulse. Irritated at this however, the Bri- 
tish assailed Hampton, a town about eighteen miles distant, and 
having succeeded in capturing it, committed there the most revolting 
crimes. Subsequently, the shores of North Carolina were ravaged by 
Cockburn. The burning of Newark formed the excuse for these 
atrocities. Another circumstance in addition to these successful maraud- 
ing expeditions, tended to depress the public confidence. The naval 
successes of 1S13 were less numerous, and with the exception of 
Perry's victory, less brilliant than in 1S12, though the year had 
opened auspiciously. On the 23d of February, Captain Lawrence, 
in the Hornet, a sloop of war, captured the British brig of war, Pen- 
guin, Captain Peake. So shattered was the enemy's ship by the 
fire of the Hornet, that she sunk before her crew could all be remov- 
ed, carrying down with her nine Englishmen and three Americans. 
For this victory, Lawrence was promoted to the frigate Chesapeake, 
then in the port of Boston. He had scarcely taken command of his 



new ship, before Captain Brock, of the British frigate Shannon 
cruizing off Boston harbor, sent in a challenge for the Chesapeake 
to come out and fight the Shannon. Ardent, young, and confident, 
Lawrence left his anchorage on the first of June, and proceeded to 
meet the foe. In the battle that followed, the American frigate was 
captured, with a loss of nihety-seven wounded, and seventy-eight 
killed — among the latter, the Captain. The British loss was twen- 
ty-four killed, and fifty-six wounded ; Captain Brock being among 
the latter.' The success of the enemy was owing to his crew being 
composed of picked men, while that of Lawrence was in a state 
of almost open mutiny. This loss of the Chesapeake happening 
almost in sight of Boston, affected the nation with a profound senti- 
ment of despondency ; and there were even those who now began to 
assert that our former naval victories had been accidents, and that 
hereafter, England would defeat us on sea, as universally as she had 
done on land. 

However, other successes on the ocean soon brought the public 
mind back to a more healthy tone. In August the Argns, brig-of-war, 
commanded by Captain Allen, boldly entered the British channel, and 
in a short time captured vessels and cargoes to the amount of two 
millions of dollars. Such was the terror created by her depredations 


that insurances could scarcely be effected at any price in London. 
The government hastened to despatch various cruizers against the 
Argus, one of which, the Pelican, of superior force, finally fell in 


with and captured her. The defence of the Argus was desperate, 
and only terminated by the fall of her Captain, and the approach of 
an enemy's frigate. On the 4th of September, the American brig-of- 
war, Enterprise, Lieutenant Burrows, took the British brig-of-war, 
Boxer, of equal force, and thus again changed the fortune of war. 
On the whole, however, our naval success in 1813, was inferior to 
what it had been during 1812 ; and that unlimited confidence in our 
naval prowess, which had begun to characterize the Americans, 
yielded to uneasy doubts. While the failures on the St. Lawrence, 
and the equal nature of the strife at sea thus filled the public mind 
with uneasiness, the breaking out of a war among the Creeks of 
Georgia, affording a new element of danger, led, for a time, to almost 
general gloom. 

The Indians of the south had early shown a taste for civilized 
pursuits, and become thriving agriculturalists. Some traces of their 
original savage natures, however, remained uneradicated, and 
these were easily re-awakened, when Teeumseh, in the spring 
of 1S12, visited them to instigate to war. In September of 
that year, accordingly, an attack was made on a party of Georgia 
volunteers, who, after a sharp conflict, were forced to retreat. 
On receiving intelligence of this event, General Jackson, at the head 
of twenty-five hundred Tennessee volunteers, was ordered out, 
and in consequence, the Creeks were, for a time, awed into quiet. 
But, on the 30th of August, 1813, a body of Indians suddenly at- 
tacked Fort Minimus, in Alabama, and having fired the houses built 
around the enclosure, massacred the garrison and other inmates as 
they rushed from the dames. About three hundred settlers, alarmed 
by the disturbed condition of the country, had taken refuge in the 
tort, and these all fell, except seventeen, who managed to escape. 
The savages followed up this blow by laying waste the neighboring 
country, and murdering the peaceable inhabitants. Encouraged by 
these successes, the whole Creek nation rushed to arms, and the 
people of Georgia, Alabama and even Tennessee, began to tremble 
for property and life. 

An army of thirty-five hundred men was promptly raised to chas- 
tise the savages. At the head of this army was placed General Jack- 
son. He immediately marched into the Indian country, and on the 
9th of November, 1S13, despatched General Coffee, with nine hundred 
men, against a body of Indians, collected at Tallushatchee. A com- 
plete victory was gained by the Americans, and at a loss of only 
five killed and forty wounded. The enemy fought with desperate 
valor,and protracted the contest until nearly all his warriors perished, 
over one hundred and eighty being left dead on the field. On the 


9th of December, General Jackson, in person, met another body of the 
Indians at Talledega, and cut them to pieces, after a terrible encoun- 
ter. More than three hundred of the enemy were killed ; while but 
fifteen Americans were killed, and eighty wounded. After this bat- 
tle. General Jackson was forced to remain inactive for a time, in conse- 
quence of the want of provisions and of a mutiny among his troops. 
Hut, meanwhile, General White, at the head of another body of mi- 
litia, had attacked the principal towns of the Hillabee tribe, which 
ho destroyed, killing sixty warriors, and making two hundred and 
fifty prisoners. Almost simultaneously, the Georgia militia, under 
General Floyd, at the Autossee town on Tallapoosa river, obtained 
a decisive victory over the Indians, killing two hundred, with a loss 
of but eleven Americans killed, and fifty-four wounded. 

The bloody tragedy continued without intermission during the 
rest of 1S13, and up to the spring of 1814. As it is but a repetition 
of sanguinary battles, let us hasten to its close. On the 21st of Janu- 
ary, 1814, the savages, recovering confidence, attacked General Jack- 
son at Emuckfau, but were again defeated, with great slaughter. 
On the 27th, they also assailed the camp of General Floyd, with 
like ill-success. The Americans did not follow up these advan- 
tages, however, until spring, being prevented from active mea- 
sures by the want of provisions. But on the 14th ot March, Gene- 
ral Jackson began to advance a second time into the Creek territory. 
On the 27th, he fought the decisive battle of the Horse-Shoe-Bend, m 
which near six hundred of the savages perished. The American 
loss was fifty-five killed and one hundred and forty-six wounded. 
This action terminated the war. The strength of the Indians had 
been completely prostrated in this last strmr^le, and being utterly 
unable to make another stand, they sued for peace. In all these ac- 
tions the savages had fought with the most heroic obstinacy, gener- 
ally refusing quarter; and, at the close of hostilities, many, disdain- 
ing to submit, sullenly retired to Florida, where, in secret, they 
brooded over revenge. 

The conditions on which the United States granted peace, were 
liberal, considering the unprovoked nature of the war, and the almost 
uninterrupted sueeess which had attended the American arms. All 
the prisoners on both sides were to be restored. As the war had 
prevented the Indians planting corn, and the nation would be con- 
sequently in a state of starvation, the United States agreed to furnish 
the necessaries of life Until the famine should he over. In conside- 
ration of these things the Creeks ceded a portion of their territorv 


sufficient to indemnify the United States for the expensesof the war. 
It was furtherstipulated that roadsshould be opened through the Creek 
territory ; that the navigation of the Creek rivers should be free ; and 
that the United States should have the right to establish military 
posts and trading houses within the Creek boundaries. 

We have thus followed the course of events during the years 1812 
and 1813; and beheld, on every side, far more disasters than victo- 
ries. The task has been an uninviting one. With the exception of 
the victory at Fort Stephenson, an incessant torrent of misfortune 
had characterized the operations in the north-west, up to the victory 
of Perry on Lake Erie. First, Detroit had surrendered ; then Har- 
rison's autumnal campaign had failed ; afterwards had come the 
massacre of the Raisin; and, finally, to crown this climax of defeat, 
the American army, instead of recovering Michigan, was compelled 
to fall back and entrench itself at Fort Meigs. The first half of the 
year 1S13 passed without any victories to compensate for thes? dis- 
asters. It is true, Fort Meigs twice repulsed the enemy, but this 
was only a negative success, and did not satisfy the people, who had 
expected the army to advance into Canada. At last the prospect began 
to brighten. After great exertions, a large army was collected on 
the shores of Lake Erie, and Perry having obtained his victory, there 
followed the invasion of the enemy's territory, the battle of the 
Thames, the recovery of Michigan, and the utter destruction of 
the hostile Indian confederacy ! 

But on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, misfortune still at- 
tended our arms. What few advantages had been obtained over 
the enemy in this part of Canada, were lost before the close of 1S13, 
and the most cheerless prospect presented itself to the people on that 
frontier. Our armies had been universally defeated; our oldest and 
most tried Generals had failed ; and our soil had been profaned and 
our villages burned by the victorious enemy. Instead of being the 
invaders we had become the invaded. These triumphs over us had 
been gained by a comparatively small number of the British forces ; 
for occupied with the closing struggles of Napoleon, England had 
been unable to spare but few of her veteran troops. But the con- 
test in Europe was evidently drawing to a close. Before many 
months, Great Britain, disengaged from her continental foe, would 
be at liberty to inundate our shores with fifty thousand veterans. 
These considerations filled all reflecting minds with alarm. It was 
to be feared, that, with such superior advantages, England would not 
only regain what she had lost in the north-west, but carry her vic- 
v 7 



tonous arms permanently into New York. The prospect, indeed, 
was dark and threatening. Was it eternal night setting in, or only 
the gloom that precedes the dawn ? 

Indeed, even at this day, the historian cannot look back upon that 
period, without melancholy feelings. Millions of money had been 
spent, and thousands of lives sacrificed, yet scarcely a gleam of vic- 
tory had irradiated the dark tempest of disaster. But the heroic re- 
solution to continue the struggle remained, and while that was left 
all hope had not yet departed. The nation, at that epoch, reminds 
us of some defeated army, which has sunk down exhausted, amid 
the gloom and horror of the battle-field, to snatch a short repose be- 
fore renewing the desperate contest on the morrow. Only a prophe- 
tic eye could see light breaking across the ruin. 




EFORE resuming the narrative of military 
events, we will turn aside to consider the 
financial condition of the country, and other 
matters important to be known for a full un- 
derstanding of the contest. 

The two years of war which had now 
elapsed had cost the nation immense stuns. 
rrp^^p^r'crji By carrying on the contest at a distance from 
the thickly settled portions of the country, the 
expenses had been much increased, and in some instances were al- 
most appalling. Each barrel of flour for Harrison's army was esti- 
mated to have cost a hundred dollars. Of four thousand pack-horses 
employed in the autumn of 1812 to transport supplies to that Gene- 
ral, but eight hundred were alive at the end of the ensuing winter, 
and the nation paid for all that perished. The expenses of the war 
on Lake Ontario were less frightful, though even there thev swelled 



to an amount that was almost incredible. It cost a thousand dollars 
for every cannon conveyed to Sackett's Harbor. To build the fleets 
on the lakes absorbed immense amounts. The sum expended on 
Lake Ontario for this purpose alone was nearly two millions of dol- 
lars. These vast outlays necessarily embarrassed the public finances, 
especially as the war had been begun with an impoverished treasury. 
Before Congress adjourned, after the declaration of hostilities, a bill 
had been passed, allowing the President to issue treasury notes to 
the amount of five millions of dollars; and one of its first acts on re- 
assembling in November, was to authorize a further issue of five 
millions, and to empower him to borrow sixteen millions in addition. 

These measures being found insufficient to provide for the rapidly 
increasing expenses of the contest, and the revenue from the customs 
being cut off almost entirely, it became necessary to adopt other ex- 
pedients, and accordingly, on the 22nd of July, 1S13, Congress passed 
an act for levying direct taxes and internal duties. The direct tax 
was, at first, fixed at three millions, but in January, IS 1.5, it was in- 
creased to six. The average duration of the war taxes was three 
years. The nett proceeds were about five millions three hundred 
thousand dollars annually. These taxes continued to be increased, 
from time to time, until the declaration of peace, after which they 
were gradually diminished until they ceased altogether. It is 
honorable to the nation to record that never were taxes paid 
more promptly, though specie payments being suspended, money 
was scarce and the currency in a most deranged condition. In addi- 
tion to these taxes, Congress, between the years 1S12 and 1S15, au- 
thorized loans to the amount of ninety millions, most of which were 
received in a depreciated currency, and never at an interest of less 
than six per cent. During the war the issue of treasury notes to the 
amount of forty millions also was authorized. At the close of the 
contest the national debt was increased nearly one hundred millions. 
In consequence of these enormous liabilities the credit of the federal 
government sunk so low that treasury notes depreciated to seventeen 
per cent, and the loans to thirty per cent, below. par. During all 
this period the commercial world was plunged in distress. Coin dis- 
appeared from circulation, and was replaced by a paper currency, 
frequently of the most worthless kind. The ruin of private fortunes 
was frequent. Yet, on the whole, the people bore their calamities 
with cheerfulness, never forgetting that they, rather than the 
government, were the true authors of the war ! 

We have already alluded to the fact that England, for the first 
two years of the contest, depended chietly on the savages to fight 


her battles. This was, in part, the result of necessity. Her minister 
at Washington, Mr. Foster, had so completely mistaken public sen- 
timent, in the United States, as to believe that there existed no dan- 
ger of a war, and accordingly his government, relying on these as- 
surances, made little or no preparation for the crisis. Hence, when 
Congress declared hostilities, the British had but five thousand troops 
in Canada. Alarmed at the consequence of his error, Mr. Foster 
hastened to obviate them by a trick ; and it was at his secret insti- 
gation that Sir George Prevost applied for and obtained the armis- 
tice with General Dearborn, to which we have before alluded. This 
armistice, it is true, was immediately disavowed by Mr. Madison ; 
but in the meantime it had served its purpose ; for as the agreement 
did not extend to the upper lakes, Brock had hastened thither, and 
in consequence Detroit had been captured. The disgrace attending 
the fall of that place, made it a point of honor that it should be re-ta- 
ken ; and hence more importance was attached to its re-capture than 
it, perhaps, deserved. It is almost certain that if the sums which 
were expended in recovering Michigan, had been applied to fitting 
out an expedition against Halifax, that important naval depot might 
have become ours in the first year of the war, and a blow been 
struck at England which would have staggered her, notwithstand- 
ing her colossal strength ! 

There is another consideration which increases the regret of the 
historian, when he relleets on this unfortunate armistice. It was the 
cause of a long period of inactivity, fatal not only to the health, but 
to the spirits of the army. The war on Lake Ontario having begun 
in a languishing way, was continued in the same manner for nearly 
two years ; for the troops who were to conduct it had been ruined, 
as it were, by the inactivity of the first three months. Had Dearborn, 
on the declaration of hostilities, dashed boldly across into Canada, 
he would have carried everything before him. A leader like Brown, 
or Scott, or Jackson, would, at that period, have been invaluable. 
The comparatively small numbers of the enemy would have render- 
ed his resistance unavailing, and the prestige of success once obtain- 
ed, our soldiers would have won victories subsequently as of course! 
More men in Dearborn's command died of diseases contracted from 
inactivity, than would have fallen in all the battles necessary to 
wrest Canada from the British arms. The weakness, imbecility, and 
want of energy which characterized the leaders, soon descended to 
the soldiers ; and hence it was that Wilkinson's army, the finest 
of the war, effected nothing. Timidity in the General breeds cow- 
ardice in the men. 


The awe in which the enemy's prowess was held, was not unknown 
to him, as we have seen in narrating the operations that led to the 
surrender of Detroit. The old arrogance of England now displayed 
itself in consequence in a claim as absurd, as it was tyrannical. On 
the capture of Colonel Scott's regulars at Queenstown, those who 
hud been born subjects of his majesty, were selected from the pri- 
soners, and sent to England, there to be tried for bearing arms 
against their King. This conduct, though sought to be defended by 
the doctrine of allegiance, was an outrage of the most atrocious cha- 
racter, since many of the men were not only Irishmen, and hence 
unwilling subjects of Great Britain, but had become legal citizens 
of the United States. The behaviour of England in this allair, was 
no less absurd than unjust, for she could not but know that the Uni- 
ted States would retaliate. Colonel Scott, on his exchange, immedi- 
ately represented the case of these men to the Federal Government, 
which promptly issued orders that the British soldiers taken by our 
armies, should be held responsible for any injury inflicted on the 
prisoners of Queenstown. The English ministry, threatened in reply, 
that if a single British soldier suffered, an American oiflcer should be 
sacrificed for every such soldier. But the United States, regardless 
of this, maintained a firm attitude. For a while the prisoners on both 
sides, below the rank of captain, inclusive, were treated harshly ; but 
in the spring of 1814, the enemy set the example of relaxing, and the 
dispute was finally terminated, by the release of Scott's soldiers. 
The attitude assumed by England in this affair, would not, perhaps, 
have been attempted towards any other civilized power. That some 
of our citizens were found to defend it, proved that the colonial 
habit of submission had not yet entirely left us. 

Nor indeed was the administration of Mr. Madison wholly free 
from that belief in the invincibility of England, which had led to so 
many disasters on land, and had, in part, invited this arrogance. 
From a war, forced on it by the people, it was extremely anxious to 
escape. Mr. Gallatin, the then most prominent member of the Cabi- 
net, was eager for peace. Mr. Monroe, one of the warmest friends 
of the Government, declared that " we ought to get out of the war 
as soon as we could." Mr. Madison himself, had not favored hos- 
tilities, and was desirous to secure peace as soon as possible ; but the 
conflict having once begun, he objected to any terms of conciliation 
which did not alford redress for all our old complaints. Hence, 
when Admiral Warren arrived at Halifax, in September, 1812, hav- 
ing been sent out principally to arrange an accommodation, the Pre- 
sident rejected the offered olive branch, because Great Britain re- 


fused to abandon her claim to impressment. The terms on which 
the United States were willing to treat, were a repeal of the orders 
in council, no revival of paper blockades, the cessation of impress- 
ments, and the immediate release of all American seamen from Bri- 
tish ships. England, on her part, rejected these conditions, and the 
war consequently went on. But the negotiations had not been with- 
out their effect on military operations, which, as we have seen, lan- 
guished on Lake Ontario during the whole autumn of 1812. 

Another abortive attempt at a reconciliation came in the following 
year, from an unexpected quarter. On the 20th of September, 1813, 
the Russian Government, then in close alliance with Great Britain, 
offered itself as a mediator between the belligerants. This was, in 
part, attributable to the diplomatic skill of Mr. Adams, the minister of 
the United States,at the court of St. Petersburg; in part the result of the 
Emperor's anxiety to secure for his subjects those commercial advan- 
tages which hostilities between the two greatest maritime powers on the 
globe prevented. This offer of mediation was rejected in London as 
soon as made known, the English ministry declining to submit to 
mediation, differences which they declared involved the internal go- 
vernment of Great Britain. In the United States, however, the ten- 
der was promptly accepted, and Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard ap- 
pointed envoys, to unite with Mr. Adams in negotiating a peace. 
As all these gentlemen had been opposed to the war, their selection 
was pregnant with meaning, and men were now confident that 
peace would speedily be declared. The embassy arrived in the 
Baltic on the 21st of June, 1S13, but met with disappointment. Eng- 
land, on the 1st of September, after again declining the mediation, 
offered, however, to appoint persons to hold conferences with the 
American embassy, and named Gottenburg as a suitable place for 
the meeting. As the Commissioners of the United States had no 
authority to treat, except under the mediation of Russia, it became 
necessary to await new powers, which did not reach Europe until 
the Spring of 1814. There can be no question but that the eager- 
ness shown by the United States for peace, frustrated its own wishes. 
Moreover, in proportion as this country grew more anxious for a re- 
conciliation, England became freed from her continental struggle, 
and more able to punish us. Hence, as our offers rose, her demands 
increased. But a re-action was now about to begin, which, in the 
short space of six months, was to make her as willing to accept as 
she had before been arrogant to decline our terms. 

The difficulty in the way of Mr. Madison's prosecution of the war, 
from the outset, had been the attitude of the New England states. 


This wealthy, intelligent and influential section of the Union had al- 
ways been opposed to hostilities ; and had gone so far as to refuse 
to order out its militia on the requisition of the President. In other 
ways, also, the New England states sought to embarrass military 
operations. In a republic like this, where public sentiment is the 
main spring of all movements, the influence wielded by the most in- 
telligent portion of the Union must ever be great. Hence, the senti- 
ments of New England made converts throughout the whole coun- 
try, especially in northern and western New York, where a large 
portion of the inhabitants were of New England origin. A favorite 
doctrine of those who opposed the war, was that the President had 
no right to employ militia for purposes of invasion ; and hence it fre- 
quently happened at the most critical emergencies, that this species 
of force refused to cross into Canada. This occurred at the battle of 
Queenstown. The knowledge of the prevailing sentiment in New 
England induced Great Britain, during the first two years virtually 
to exempt that section of the Union from hostilities. Meantime, a thri- 
ving trailic was carried on with Halifax, by the disaffected states; 
and large quantities of American flour were landed at that port, 
almost weekly ; at a time, too, when the article was scarce in the 
United States. To check this species of treasonable commerce, Con- 
gress, in December, 1S13, passed an embargo law, but the trade still 
continued to exist, notwithstanding; and accordingly, in April, the 
useless interdict was repealed. The hostility of New England to- 
wards the war had such an influence on the earlier stages of its pro- 
gresses to induce the retort on Dr. Enstis, Secretary of War, and 
himself from Boston, " that if New England had not been disaffect- 
ed, the United States could have taken Canada, the first year, by 

But, towards the close of 1813, sentiments in New England besan 
to change. Nothing exercised a greater influence in producing this 
wholesome alteration than the barbarities committed by Admiral 
Cochrane, in the Chesapeake, but especially at Hampton. Hitherto 
it had been said in New England that we were the aggressors ; but 
after this invasion of our soil, and its attendant atrocities, public 
opinion turned. It was on this occasion l hat Henry Clay, then 
speaker of the House of Representatives, distinguished himself by 
one of those bursts of indignant eloquence, for which he was famed. 
Leaving the chair, he offered a resolution for the appointment of a 
committee to inquire into the departures of the enemy from the laws 
of war and humanity, and to embody a narra.ive of these outrages 
in a public document to challenge the attention of all civilized na- 


tions. The motion was carried, and in accordance with it a report 
made, which exercised an important influence in revolutionizing pub- 
lic sentiment and inciting the nation to a vigorous prosecution of 
the war. 

The blockade of the New England coasts in the spring of 1814, 
conduced also to this result. A British squadron seized Eastport, 
in Maine, and retained it until the close of the war. In April a squadron 
of the enemy ascended the Connecticut river as far as Pittipaug Point, 
set on fire the village, and burned over twenty vessels that had taken 
refuge there. In August, the town of Stonington, towards the eastern 
extremity of Long Island Sound, was bombarded for three days, by 
Commodore Hardy, but without success. In September, the whole 
coast of Maine, from the Penobscot to Passamaquoddy Bay, was 
seized by the enemy, and a proclamation issued by him, declaring 
it conquered, and requiring the submission of the inhabitants to the 
British government. These successive outrages on its own soil roused 
the indignation of New England. The spirit of hostility there was 
still further increased, in the summer of lis 14, by the invasion of the 
enemy along the route of Lake Champlain. 

We have thus traced the causes why it happened that, just as Eng- 
land was prepared to turn her undivided strength against the United 
States, the latter, for the first time during the war, became compe- 
tent for the struggle, and united in favor of its prosecution. At the 
moment when Great Britain loomed more colossal than ever across 
the Atlantic, the American republic, like a young Sampson, whose 
locks had grown again, stepped forth to the combat. In IS13, imbe- 
cile Generals, undisciplined troops, and divisions among the people 
had produced a harvest of defeat ; but when the campaign opened 
in ISM, all this had changed. Younger and abler leaders were at 
the head of the army ; the soldiers had been so thoroughly drilled 
as to be almost veterans ; and the I "nion was united. Added to 
this, the imposing attitude of the enemy called up each latent sinew 
on our part. It was felt by every American that, if the republic was 
defeated in another campaign, consequences the most disastrous, if 
not fatal, would ensue. 

Wilkinson had been succeeded in his command by General Izard; 
but the latter, in the active measures of the campaign, gave place to Ge- 
neral Brown. This leader belonged to a new school in war. To seek 
the enemy, to fight him at odds, never to think of retreat, these 
maxims which are now cardinal points in the creed of an American 
army, first originated with General Brown. In this species of war- 
fare he was ably sustained by General Scott, his second in command. 




Resolving to take the initiative, General Brown, on the 2nd of July 
at midnight, embarked his troops from Black Rock, to attack Fort 
Erie. In the grey of the morning the astonished garrison beheld the 
Americans drawn up ready for an assault ; and knowing that resist- 
ance would be useless against such an overwhelming force, imme- 
diately surrendered. General Brown now pushed forward to Chip- 
pewa, where it was understood the British, under General Riall, 
were posted, to the number of three thousand. Here, on the 5th of 
July, the battle of Chippewa was fought, in which the enemy was 
signally defeated. The loss of the British, in this action, was one 
hundred and thirty-three killed, three hundred and twenty wounded, 
and forty-six missing. The Americans lost sixty killed and two 
hundred and sixty-eight wounded and missing. The English troops 
in that portion of Canada now hastened to concentrate. On the 25th 
of July, General Brown, being informed that a detachment of the 
enemy had invaded the American soil, hurried General Scott for- 


ward to attack the forts at the mouth of the Niagara, hoping by this 
diversion, to recall the foe to the Canadian shore. General Scott at 
the head of about thirteen hundred men only, came suddenly across 
a superior force of the enemy at Lundy's Lane, under Generals 
Drummond and Riall. Disdaining to retire, a sanguinary battle en- 


sued, which he maintained alone for two hours, until the arrival of 
General Brown with the remainder of the army. The latter officer 
immediately drew General Scott's brigade out of action, and com- 
mitted the contest to that of Ripley, which was fresh. The height 
at the head of the lane, where the enemy had posted a battery, and 
which was the key of his position, was now gallantly carried by 
Colonel Miller, under the orders of General Brown. Several unsuc- 
cessful efforts were made by the foe to regain this elevation. The 
combat, which began before dark, raged until midnight. By this 
time both Generals Brown and Scott had been wounded and forced 
to retire from the field. The command now devolved on General 
Ripley. The enemy being repulsed, Ripley concluded to retire to 
camp, whence, after refreshing his men, he was directed to march by 
daylight, and engage the foe. But, finding the enemy's force had 
been much increased during the night, Ripley thought it advisuMe 
to retreat, and accordingly retired to Fort Erie, destroying the 
bridges as he went. The loss of the British at Lundy's Lane was 
eighty-five killed, five hundred and fifty-five wounded, and two hun- 
dred and thirty-four missing. The Americans lost in killed, wounded 
and missing, eight hundred and sixty. 

Arrived at the fort, Ripley used the greatest exertions to strengthen 
its defences, before the enemy should arrive. On the 4th of August, 
General Drurnmond came up, and invested the place with five thou- 
sand men. The garrison was but sixteen hundred, commanded by 
General Gaines, who had been sent by General Brown to supersede 
Ripley. Having drawn their lines of circumvallation closer and 
closer, until, on the 13th of August, they had arrived within four 
hundred yards of the fort, the British began a furious bombardment 
and cannonade. At last, on the 15th, the enemy at two in the 
morning, advanced in three columns to assault the place. The con- 
flict was long and desperate. The British, at one time, obtained a 
lodgment in the fort, but were eventually driven out again, with 
great slaughter. The loss of the enemy was computed at nine hun- 
dred and fifteen. The American loss was only eighty-four. A 
fortnight afterwards, General Brown, having recovered partially 
from his wounds, arrived, and assumed command. Finding that the 
British continued to push forward the approaches, General Brown 
resolved to make a sortie, destroy the batteries, and cut off the ad- 
vanced division of the enemy. This bold undertaking was crowned 
with the most brilliant success. In thirty minutes, the Americans 
destroyed the labor of forty-seven days, took three hundred and 
eighty prisoners, and left five hundred of the enemy killed or 


wounded on the field. The loss of General Brown was seventy-nine 
killed, two hundred and thirty-two wounded, and two hundred and 
sixteen missing. On the night of the 21st, the British raised the 
siege, and retired with their whole army. The Americans, how- 
ever, soon after abandoned Fort Erie of their own accord, and trans- 
porting themselves to the other shore, terminated the third invasion 
of Canada. This was done under the orders of General Izard, who, 
arriving at head quarters on the 9th of October, took command as 
superior officer. 

In the meantime, an expedition had been projected by the 
enemy, to dismember the Union by an invasion along the line of 
Lake Champlain. The scheme was not unlike that proposed by 
Burgoyne in the revolutionary war ; and, as at that time, the English 
oilicers boasted of the certainty of success. It was thought a portion 
o( New York or New England, might be permanently annexed to 
the British crown ; and there were even those among the enemy 
who believed that the city of New York itself, would be captured by 
the expedition. The force collected for the purpose, boasted, indeed, 
threatening numbers. Napoleon having abdicated at Fontainbleau, 
in April, and the British troops in Europe being left without em- 
ployment, large detachments of them were shipped to Canada, where 
they arrived during the months of July and August, 1814, to the 
number of thirty-five thousand. After garrisoning the various posts, 
and despatching reinforcements to the Niagara, there remained about 
fourteeh thousand men, with whom the British General marched on 
Plattsburg, a town on the river Saranac, near its junction with 
Lake Champlain. 

The whole force of the Americans left here, was but fifteen hun- 
dred, commanded by Brigadier General Macomb ; for General 
Izard, a few days before, had carried off with him most of the troops 
to Niagara. But Macomb was equal to the emergency : his genius 
made up for the want of soldiers. On the 6th of September, the 
enemy appeared before Plattsburg. After some sharp skirmishing, 
Macomb retired across the Saranac, to an entrenched camp on the 
opposite shore, tearing up the planks of the bridge as he retreated, 
and with them strengthening his defences. The enemy, attempting 
to follow him, was repulsed. From this day, until the 11th, the 
British contented themselves with erecting batteries opposite 
Macomb's position. Meantime, the foe was busily engaged in fitting 
out a fleet, with the intention of capturing that of McDonough, 
lying in Plattsburg bay. On the 18th, the English squadron appeared 
m sight, and bearing down on the American fleet, began the action. 

$ I 

i c- 


Simultaneously, the land forces of the enemy attempted to carry 
Macomb's position, but were repulsed at every point of attack. 
Finally, the British ships being captured, and night approaching, 
the battle ceased. As soon as darkness had settled on the landscape, 
the enemy precipitately abandoned the field, and began a retreat. 
Thus, at the head of fifteen hundred regulars, and three thousand 
militia, Macomb defeated an army fourteen thousand strong, com- 
posed of the very elite of the conquerors of the Peninsula. The loss 
of the American land forces was only ninety-nine, that of the fleet, 
one hundred and ten. The British squadron lost in killed, wounded, 
prisoners, and missing, one thousand and fifty ; their army was di- 
minished by the same casualties, at least twenty-five hundred. 

In another quarter of the United States, however, an invasion of 
the enemy was more successful. In August, an expedition destined 
to act against Washington appeared in the Chesapeake, and having 
effected a landing at Benedict, on the Patuxent, began its march 
towards the Capitol. The force of the British was about five thou- 
sand, commanded by General Ross. The Americans, to the number 
of three thousand, more than half of whom were militia, were led 
by General Winder, who, finding it impossible to make head against 
the enemy, fell back to Bladensburg, where, on the 24th, he was 
joined by a reinforcement of twenty-one hundred men, exclusive of 
Commodore Barney, at the head of his marines. Here the Ameri- 
cans made a stand. But the armies were too nearly equal in num- 
ber to allow the invading one to be defeated by the illy disciplined 
levies of General Winder. The only portion of the field properly 
contested, was that occupied by Commodore Barney and his marines. 
These poured such a destructive fire into the enemy, flushed from 
the easy defeat of the militia, that he staggered, and was thrown into 
momentary confusion. A few more such brave marines, or another 
Barney at the opposite side of the field, would have saved the day. 
But General Ross perceiving the scanty numbers of these troops, 
poured his columns upon them, and charging them on both flanks 
and in front, simultaneously, gained the victory. Barney fell 
wounded into the hands of the foe, as did also Colonel Miller, of the 
marines. Meantime, the militia fled, panic-struck, in all directions, 
abandoning Washington to the enemy. General Ross, following up 
his success, entered the capital that evening, and proceeded with 
Vandal barbarity to burn the public buildings. The Capitol, the 
President's mansion, the War, Treasury, and Navy ofliccs, shared 
this fate. The old excuse of the burning of Newark, in Canada, was 
offered for this outrage ; a better one would have been that the con- 




querors, so lately from the Peninsula, had become debauched by the 
wars of Europe. To men brutalized by a long series of hostilities in 
a half savage country ; to men who had sacked Badajoz, and ravaged 
half of Spain ; the wanton destruction of an enemy's Capitol, ap- 
peared a slight offence against civilization and humanity. It is the 
proud boast of America, that under similar circumstances, and when 
the siege was infinitely more irritating, the public edifices of Mexico 
were sacredly respected. 

The British retired from Washington on the evening of the 25th, 
and on the 29th, embarked from Benedict. Their loss in this expe- 
dition is estimated at four hundred killed or wounded ; while it is 
believed five hundred deserted, or were made prisoners. Simulta- 
neously with this attack upon the Capitol, two other detachments 
had been sent out from the rleet, one against Alexandria, the other 
up the Chesapeake. The attack on Alexandria proved successful, 
and the town was preserved from the torch only by the sacrifice of 
all its vessels and merchandize. The foray up the Chesapeake was 
more unfortunate for the British. Near Bellair, Sir Peter Parker, 
who led the expedition, landed to assault a body of militia, but was 

r " - 


driven back, receiving a wound, by which he died in a few minutes. 
The enemy, flushed with success at Washington, now moved upon 


Baltimore, where he expected as easy a triumph, and a richer prize : 
for it was now a maxim with the invaders only to attack for the 
purpose of booty. But meantime, the country was rising to its de- 
fence. In an incredibly short interval, fifteen thousand armed men 
had been collected at Baltimore, under the command of General 
Samuel Smith, an officer of the Revolution, in whom the fire of 
military genius had not yet suffered diminution. Batteries were 
hastily erected, and a ditch dug on the eastern side of the town ; the 
only line where it was available by land. Ten thousand men were 
stationed to defend these works. The approach to Baltimore by 
water was guarded by Fort Mc Henry, by obstructions sunk in the 
channel of the river, and by two heavily constructed batteries be- 
tween Fort McHenry and the city. 

On the 12th of September, the enemy debarked his land forces, to 
the number of five thousand men, at North Point, fourteen miles 
below Baltimore. A detachment twenty-two hundred strong, under 
General Strieker, having been sent forward in anticipation of this land- 
ing, to skirmish with the enemy and impede his progress, a sort of 
running action began, which continued throughout the day ; the 
Americans slowly retreating before the superior numbers of the Bri- 
tish. During the early part of the combat, General Ross, the Eng- 
lish commander, was killed. By evening, General Strieker had re- 
tired to within half a mile of the American entrenchments, where he 
rested. On the ensuing day, the enemy was seen moving in heavy 
masses to the right, as if intending to reach the city by a circuitous 
route, but General Smith, concentrating his forces in that direction, 
frustrated the design. Night fell, when the enemy took post within 
a mile of the works, intending to storm them as soon as the attack 
by water had succeeded. 

Here, however, the British met with an unexpected repulse. The 
bombardment of Fort McHenry began at sunrise, on the 13th, and 
continued throughout that day and the succeeding night, though 
without reducing the fortress. Under cover of the darkness, several 
rocket vessels and barges ascended past Fort Mc Henry, but being 
detected, were received with a heavy cannonade. They maintained 
their course, however, until they arrived opposite the lesser forts, 
where they met such a deadly fire that they hastened to retire — one 
of their flotilla being sunk with all on board. When morning dawned, 
a consultation was held between the commanders of the English fleet 
and army, and the resolution taken to abandon the expedition. Ac- 
cordingly, the troops retired to North Point, where they embarked 
the same evening, and on the morning of the loth, the people of 


Baltimore were gladdened by the sight of the English sails, whiten 
ing the bay, in their retreat. The British lost in this affair about 
throe hundred ; the Americans, two hundred and thirteen. During 
the whole series of operations the militia behaved with the greatest 
spirit, and amply redeemed the conduct of the same species of force 
at Bladensburg. Indeed, the whole number of regulars at Balti- 
more, exclusive of marines, was but seven hundred. 

The enemy had projected, simultaneously with this attack, an 
expedition against our southern waters. Towards the close of 
August, General Jackson, whose head-quarters had been at Mobile 
since the termination of the Creek war, received intelligence that an 
English squadron had appeared at Pensacola, where it was harbored 
by the Spanish Governor. Information was also obtained that a 
second squadron, accompanied by ten thousand troops, was soon to 
arrive at Pensacola, whence a descent was to be made on some con- 
venient point on the American coast, most probably New Orleans. 
General Jackson, having vainly remonstrated with the Governor of 
Pensacola, for receiving and granting assistance to the British, now 
proceeded to call on the neighboring states for reinforcements, with 
the intention of punishing this infraction of the law of nations. 
Meanwhile, Colonel Nichols, the Commander of the enemy's forces, 
issued a proclamation, supremely ridiculous considering the circum- 
stances, calling on the people of Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, 
to " throw off the yoke under which they had been so long groan- 
ing." Simultaneously, also, he attempted to enlist in his service a 
band of nautical marauders, half smugglers, half pirates, who had 
formed quite an extensive settlement at the island of Barrataria, on 
the coast of Louisiana. These lawless men were commanded by a 
person named Lafitte. This individual, instead of accepting the 
terms of Colonel Nichols, revealed them to the Governor of Louisi- 
ana, at the same time communicating important information respect- 
ing the designs of the British. Lafitte was offered, in return, an 
amnesty for himself and followers, if he would join the Americans. 
This proposition was accepted, and the haunt at Barrataria broken 
up. Subsequently, at the siege of New Orleans, Lafitte and his 
men rendered important services. 

On the 15th of September, while General Jackson was awaiting 
reinforcements at Mobile, a British squadron appeared off Fort 
Bowyer, thirty miles below the town, and immediately began an 
attack. A tremendous cannonade, on both sides, was continued for 
three hours, when the enemy's squadron retired, having suffered 
immense slaughter. The flag-ship ran aground, and was set on fire 


by her surviving crew ; for out of one hundred and seventy men in 
her, only the Captain and twenty escaped. At the moment of the 
naval attack, Colonel Nichols, with a force of three hundred and 
thirty British and Indians was debarked for a land attack; but the 
fire of the fort soon destroyed all hopes of his success, and, after the 
retreat of the squadron, he retired to Pensacola by land. Thither, 
on the 6th of November, General Jackson, having been reinforced 
by two thousand Tennessee militia, followed him; and immediately 
despatched a tlag to the Governor of Pensacola, demanding redress 
for his late conduct. The flag was fired on and compelled to retire. 
On the following day, General Jackson stormed the town, and after 
capturing one of the batteries, forced the Governor to capitulate. 
In consequence of the loss of Pensacola, the British left the bay, and 
General Jackson returned to Mobile. 

The design of the enemy to attack New Orleans having now be- 
come public, General Jackson hurried to assume the command of that 
important post. He left Mobile accordingly on the 22nd of Novem- 
ber, and reached his destination on the 2nd of December. His 
presence was the salvation of the city. He found, on his arrival, 
that scarcely any preparations had been made to repel the projected 
invasion ; and that the most vigorous measures would be necessary 
in consequence, to place the town and its approaches in a state of 
defence. Moreover the city was full of disaffected persons, who 
carried intelligence almost daily to the enemy. To check these 
treasonable practices, as well as to give him that despotic control 
over the labor of the citizens, which was necessary in the emergen- 
cy, he applied to the Legislature to repeal the habeas corpus act. 
The Legislature hesitated. As no time was to be lost, General 
Jackson cut short further discussion by proclaiming martial law. 
The inhabitants were now ordered down to the lines, to work on the 
fortifications, without regard to their wealth. The whole country 
by which the city could be approached was personally examined 
by the General, and defences constructed at all proper points. These 
preparations were increased when a fleet of gun-boats, on which the 
General had placed much dependence, was attacked in the lakes to 
the east of the city, and overcome by superior forces. In a word, 
General Jackson availed himself to their utmost extent of all the 
materials for defence within his reach ; and by his promptitude, 
energy, and vast resources of mind, infused confidence into both 
citizens and army. 

On the 5th of December, the enemy had first appeared off the 
coast; on the 14th he had captured the American gun-boats; and 
vi* y 


on the 23rd, availing himself of a pass, called the Bayou Bienvenne, 
which unfortunately had been left unguarded, he fell on an advanced 
guard of the Americans, made its members prisoners, and pushing 
rapidly on, reached the bank of the Mississippi at two o'clock in the 
afternoon. The road to the city was now open before him. In this 
crisis, General Jackson, instead of waiting to be attacked, resolved 
boldly to march out and assail the British. He arrived at their 
position about five o'clock. Their flank being exposed to the water, 
Commodore Patterson's armed schooner, the Caroline, was sent, 
under cover of the night, to assail it, which was done, the guns 
being aimed by the British watch-fires. This was the first intima- 
tion the foe had of his danger. Simultaneously the American land 
forces attacked the right, centre and left, of the enemy. His camp 
was carried on the right, and the slaughter along his front was ex- 
cessive. But, extinguishing their watch-fires, the British rallied to 
the combat, when a close and well contested combat ensued. In 
the end, General Jackson drew off his men in consequence of a 
dense fog. He lay on the field all night, but thought it most pru- 
dent to retire in the morning to a stronger position, two miles nearer 
the city. In this action, the enemy numbered about three thousand. 
The loss of the Americans, in killed, wounded and missing, was two 
hundred and thirteen : that of the British two hundred and eighty- 
two. This battle may be said to have decided the fate of New Or- 
leans. It inspired confidence among the Americans, while it fore- 
warned the enemy that his expedition was to produce more hard 
blows than booty. 

In his new position, which, strong by nature, was rendered stronger 
by art, General Jackson leisurely awaited the approach of the foe. 
On the 28th, the main body of the British having landed, their com- 
mander, Sir Edward Packenham, advanced within half a mile of 
the American works and began a bombardment and cannonade. 
The American batteries replied, however, with such spirit, and were 
so well sustained by an armed vessel in the river, that the enemy 
retired with loss. On the 1st of January, another unsuccessful at- 
tempt was made on General Jackson's lines. Between this and the 
Mil. each army received accessions of force, so that the American 
numbers were raised to seven thousand, and the British to twelve 
thousand. On the morning of that day Sir Edward Packenham 
made a grand assault on his enemy's lines; but notwithstanding his 
troops were all tried veterans, and those of Jaekson raw militia, in- 
ditlerently armed, he was repulsed with immense slaughter. The 
loss of the Americans was but seventy-one in killed, wounded and 


missing. The British lost two hundred and ninety-three killed, I 
twelve hundred and sixty-seven wounded, and four hundred and' 
eighty-four prisoners and missing. The mortality among their officers 
was excessive, Sir Edward Packenham being among the killed. We 
cannot record his death without a reflection on the chances of for- 
tune. It had been originally intended that the Duke of Wellington 
should lead the expedition against New Orleans ; and, had this hap- 
pened, that great General might have perished in Packenham's place, 
and Waterloo never have been won ! 

The British now hastened to abandon their enterprise. Embark- 
ing their troops they retired to Fort Bowyer, which surrendered to 
this immense force. Here they remained until the news of peace, 
which arrived in the following month. It was doubly fortunate for 
the United States that the expedition against New Orleans had failed, 
since, tempted by the possession of so great a prize, the enemy might 
have found some excuse for setting aside the treaty of Ghent. In 
that event a long and sanguinary war on the Mississippi must have 
followed, and though America would eventually have triumphed, 
because fighting on her own soil, the victory could only have been 
purchased by an immense expenditure of blood and treasure. The 
battle of New Orleans was the closing act of the drama. It remains 
for us only to notice the treaty of Ghent, before bringing this narra- 
tive to an end. Yet, preliminary to doing this, let us pass in hasty 
review the naval history of IS 14. 

Towards the close of 1812, Commodore Porter, in the frigate Es- 
sex, had sailed from the Delaware. Missing a rendezvous with 
Bainbridge, at Brazil, he proceeded, pursuant to a discretion vested 
in him, around Cape Horn, and began a war on the British com- 
merce in the Pacific. He remained in this quarter of the globe for 
more than twelve months, during which he lived at the enemy's ex- 
pense, and captured twenty vessels, carrying in all one hundred and 
seven guns. The value of these prizeswasestiinatedattwo and a half 
millions of dollars. At last, in March, 1814, while lying at Valparaiso, 
tiie British frigate Phoebe, carryingthirty-eightguns, anda sloopof war 
which iiad been fitted out expressly to capture Porter, appeared olFthe 
port. In a few days the Essex, attempting to get to sea, carried away 
her main-top mast. Unable to return into harbor, she anchored near 
the shore. The English shipsnow attacked her,and placing themselves 
out of reach of her cannonades, opened with their long guns,of which 
fortunately for them, their armament was composed. Disabled from 
manuuuvreing, and exposed to a fire he could but feebly return, for 
he had but three long twelve-pounders, Porter was finally compelled 


to surrender. He lost fifty-eight killed, and sixty-six wounded ; the 
British losing but five killed and ten wounded. This battle was 
fought on neutral waters, and was therefore a violation of the laws 
of nations; but England has never hesitated to act in a similar man- 
ner when her interest required it. 

This reverse was followed, however, by numerous victories. 
The sloop-of-war Peacock, Captain Warrington, on the 29th of 
April, 1814, captured the British brig-of-war Epervier. of about 
equal forced In this action the enemy lost eight killed, and fifteen 
wounded; the Americans only two wounded. On the 28th of 
June, the sloop-of-war Wasp, Captain Blakely, captured the Rein- 
deer, of slightly superior force, after one of the most hotly contested 
naval engagements of the war. The British lost twenty-five killed, 
including their captain, and forty-two wounded ; the Americans lost 
five killed, and twenty-one wounded. On the first of September, 
Captain Blakely took the Avon, a sloop-of-war of twenty guns. On 
the 23d, he captured a British brig, the Atalanta, which he sent into 
the United States. From that day to this, nothing has ever been 
heard of the gallant Blakely, or his ship. They probably perished 
in a tempest. 

The war was now virtually over, since peace had been concluded 
at Ghent, but this being as yet unknown, the naval combats continued. 
On the 14th of January, 1815, in gallantly attempting to get out of 
New York harbor, Commodore Decatur, in the President, was pur- 
sued and captured by the British blockading squadron. In this action 
the Americans lost twenty-four killed, and fifty-five wounded. On 
the 20th of February, Commodore Stewart, in the Constitution, took 
the Cyanc and Levant — the first of thirty-four guns, the last of 
twenty-two. The loss of the British was seventy-seven in killed and 
wounded ;that of the Americans fifteen. On the 23d of March, the 
Hornet, a sloop-of-war, of eighteen guns, commanded by Captain 
Biddlc, captured the British brig-of-war Penguin, of nineteen gnus. 
In this action the enemy lost forty-two in killed and wounded ; the 
Hornet twelve. 

We have already narrated the offer of Russia to mediate between 
England and the United States; the refusal of the former to accept 
this mediation ; her agreement, however, to appoint commissioners to 
treat of a peace ; and the alteration in the powers of the American em- 
bassy, to enable them to act under these new circumstances. In the 
Spring of 1814, these powers were sent to Europe, and Henry Clay 
and Jonathan Russell added to the United States Commissioners. 
The place of meeting was first appointed at Uotteuburg, but finally 


changed to Ghent. The British plenipotentiaries arrived at the latter 
place on the 6th of August, but showed little earnestness for a treaty 
until after the news of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, Plattsburg, and Bal- 
timore. On intelligence of these events, foreboding a long, and pro- 
bably disastrous war, the high tone of the English Commissioners 
lowered, and on the 24th of December, 1814, a treaty was finally 
signed. In this document, no notice was taken of the question 
of impressment, which appears a singular circumstance at first sight; 
but we have endeavored to explain the reasons for the omission in 
the first book of this narrative. The articles of the treaty provided 
for the restoration of all possessions taken by either power, during 
the war, with the exception of the islands in the Bay of Passama- 
quoddy, whose destination was to be referred to arbitrators. Various 
questions of boundary were left to be decided in the same way. 
Both parties agreed to desist from warfare with all tribes of Indians 
with whom they were engaged in hostilities, provided such tribes 
ceased warlike operations, on being notified of the treaty. By 
another article, England and the United States stipulated to do all 
they could to abolish the slave trades. Other provisions were in- 
serted in the treaty, but they related chiefly to prizes and prisoners, 
and were such as are usual on all like occasions. This treaty was 
ratified by England, on the 28th of December, 1814, and by the Uni- 
ted Stateson the 17th of February, 1S15. A commercial treaty was 
subsequently negotiated between the two countries during the 
year 1815. 

Thus closed a war in which little was nominally gained, but much 
in reality. By it, indeed, the United States consummated their inde- 
pendence, which hitherto, so far as regarded England at least, had 
not fully existed. In other words, the war of 1812, freed the popu- 
lar mind in America, from a sort of provincial reverence for Great 
Britain. It also removed that dread of her military prowess which 
had descended from the revolutionary epoch, but which was wholly 
unbecoming a nation so vigorous as the United States had since 
become. It is not too much to say that the military spirit of the 
Republic, which has since shone with such brilliancy, had its birth 
in the war of 1812. 

The early misfortunes of the war, considered in this light, were 
not without their benefits. They forced the nation to put forth its 
whole strength, and thus developed a capacity, of the existence of 
which, even she had been ignorant. From that hour the United 
States took a prouder stand among the nations of the earth. From 
that hour her flag was respected. More than thirty years have 



elapsed since the treaty of Ghent, yet England has never re- 
newed her claim of impressment, nor is it probable that she 
ever wilL 

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l ft u 

: ;■'" -"3-r, 

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a. -n. .. 







THAT it required the war 
of 1812 to consummate 
our independence, is 
proved by the military 
operations which led to 
the surrender of Detroit. 
Our enterprise and saga- 
city in commerce was 
admitted ; but even a 
portion of our own citi- 
zens laughed at our pre- 
tensions to arms. It was 
said that we could not withstand the power of Great Britain for six 
months. An uneasy feeling of provincial weakness, and a profound 
awe of our old enemy possessed, in part, the public mind, and espe- 
cially influenced those officers who, by their rank, services and ex- 
perience, would naturally be looked to in the emergency of war. 
Hence, during the earlier periods of the contest, most of our Generals 
regarded any attempt to overthrow the veteran armies of England 
vii 10 73 


as worse than useless. Mistrusting their troops, but most of all 
themselves, they invited defeat by their moral cowardice. In no 
other manner can we explain the conduct of General William Hull, 
in the surrender of Detroit. With his overpowering force he ought 
to have been confident of success. It is now apparent, that if he had 
put on a bold front, he would have achieved a glorious triumph ; 
opened the war with eclat ; and forced Great Britain, two years 
earlier, to listen to terms of peace. He was conquered by his own 
fears, not by the prowess of the enemy. 

William Hull was born in 1753, and served, with some distinction, 
in the War of Independence, as an officer in the continental line. 
He was present in several of the hardest fought battles of that period, 
and distinguished himself uniformly as a soldier of spirit, industry 
and bravery. He rendered himself especially conspicuous on the 
glorious field of Saratoga, and afterwards at Stony Point. On his 
retirement from the army, Hull settled in Massachusetts, where, in 
17J>6, he was chosen a Major-General of the state militia. Like 
others of the officers of the Revolution, he sought and obtained em- 
ployment from the Federal Government; for, in 1805, he was ap- 
pointed Governor of Michigan Territory. This ollice he continued 
to hold until his disgrace and ruin. When, in 1S12, it became 
probable that war would be declared with Great Britian, an army, 
to be composed chiefly of volunteers and militia, was ordered to be 
raised on the north-western frontier, for the two-fold purpose of 
holding the Indians in check, and opening the expected contest with 
eclat. The command of this force was bestowed on Hull, with the 
rank of Brigadier-General in the United States army. The soldiers 
mustered at Dayton, in Ohio, on the 1st of June, 1S12, and, alter a 
long and toilsome march, reached the Miami of the Lake on the 30th 
of the month. Here Hull received a despatch from the war office, 
requesting him to quieken his movements. Accordingly he embarked 
his baggage, stores, sick and convalescent, in a vessel bound for De- 
troit, continuing his march with the main body of the army by land. 
Up to this period he had received no intimation of the declaration 
of hostilities, a culpable negligence on the part of our government which 
has never been properly explained. But the day after the embarka- 
tion of the stores, a letter arrived from the Secretary of War, written 
under the same date as that to which we have alluded, and which 
Hull had received several days before by a special messenger. He 
now pressed forward to the River Raisin, alarmed for the safety of 
his stores. Here his fears were verified. He learned that the Bri- 
tish had received intelligence of the declaration of war, at all their 


posts, in advance of himself; and that in consequence his stores had 
been captured in passing the fort at Maiden. This disaster, so early 
in the campaign, like an ill omen weighed on his spirits from that 

Pursuing his march he soon reached Detroit, and immediately 
proceeded, under instructions from the war office, to invade Canada. 
Indeed, in the United States, the most sanguine expectations had 
already been formed of the result of his expedition; but these, how- 
ever, were not common to all classes ; large numbers, affected by 
the feeling we have alluded to, doubted secretly of his success. On 
the 12th of July he crossed the river Detroit, and pitched his camp 
at Sandwich, with the professed intention of marching against Mai- 
den, a post which it was of importance to reduce, since it lay in the 
way to intercept all supplies forwarded from the United States. 
There can be no doubt, if Hull had pushed forward at once to Mai- 
den, that the place would have surrendered. The fort there was in 
a most dilapidated condition, nor was it until a week later that it 
was rendered defensible ; the garrison numbered but seven hundred 
men, of which six hundred were lukewarm militia, and indifferent 
savages ; and, to add to the chances of success, the population of 
the neighborhood was very generally disaffected, and ready, as were 
also the Indians of the vicinity, to join whatever side promised, by 
a successful first blow, to gain the ascendancy. Only eighteen 
miles interposed between Hull and Maiden. A rapid summer day's 
march would have brought him to the gates of his enemy. He had 
nearly two men where his opponent had one. Yet he lingered 
for three weeks at Sandwich without striking a blow. There are 
few things in history as inexplicable as this conduct, and nothing 
but the solution we have given can unriddle it. 

His behavior appears the more singular when we come to follow 
the transactions of these three weeks into detail. During his stay at 
Sandwich different detachments penetrated the country sixty miles 
into the interior, and everywhere found the inhabitants friendly. 
The royal militia at Ahinetsburg, opposite Maiden, was daily desert- 
ing. Nor was this all. A party of American soldiers, commanded 
by Colonels Cass and Miller, on the lGth of July, assailed a British 
outpost at the bridge over the Canard, a river but four miles distant 
from Maiden, and drove the picket back upon the fort, where the 
fugitives arrived panic-struck, spreading terror and confusion among 
the garrison. The enemy, satisfied that Hull was advancing with 
all his strength, knew scarcely what to do"; and had there been a 
sufficient force at hand to take advantage of this dismay, Maiden 


would have fallen before sunset. Even on the ensuing morning, 
when the enemy had partially recovered from his alarm, if Hull had 
brought up all his troops, and made a vigorous attack, the place 
must have surrendered. But, instead of doing this, he sharply 
reprehended Cass and Miller for having exceeded orders in making 
their attack, and directed that they should immediately return to camp, 
unless they were prepared to assume all the responsibility of holding 
their position, and that, too, without reinforcements. Perhaps age, as 
well as dread of British prowess, had something to do with this con- 
duct. To quote the epigramatic remark of another, " he who, in 1777, 
would have fought or died without care, in 1S12, with not much of 
life left, was fearful of losing that little." 

Vet his mind evidently vacillated, and for a space he appeared to 
have regained a portion of his old daring. In fact, the strictures of 
his younger oificers had reached his ears, and he began to show a 
disposition for more vigorous measures. He gave out that he 
would lead the army directly to Maiden. There seems, indeed, no 
reason to doubt the sincerity of his intentions. The artillery for 
which he had waited, was now ready. It had been proved by the 
affair at Canard, that the British were not invincible. His troops, to 
a man, were eager to be led forward. Accordingly, the ammunition 
was placed in wagons, the cannon fixed on floating batteries, and 
every other preparation for the attack made. But, at this point Hull 
stopped, and became suddenly irresolute. He had just received in- 
telligence of the fall of Mackinaw, a fort situated on the island of 
that name, commanding the passage between Lakes Huron and 
Michigan, which had been surprised by the enemy, its commandant 
receiving the first intimation of the war on his surrender. This dis- 
astrous news was backed by information of the rising of the Cana- 
dians and Indians, both of whom, foreseeing Hull's fall in his inac- 
tivity, began to take arms for the British. The very thought that 
by advancing and sustaining a defeat, his army might become a prey 
to the savages filled his mind with horror. He countermanded his 
orders, and re-crossed the river to Detroit, on the 7th of August. 

He had begun his career in the Canadian territory by a vaunting 
proclamation; he finished it by a temerity which made him the scorn 
even of his own troops. He had commenced with the inhabitants 
favorable to him ; he ended by alienating them forever. Far diiFer- 
eut was the conduct of General Brock, the British commander in that 
region. Receiving intelligence on the 25th of June, of the declara- 
tion of war, he hastened to plan the capture of Fort Mackinaw, and 
his scheme having been crowned with success, his audacity in- 


creased, and he conceived the idea, not only of driving Hull from 
Canada, hut of capturing him within the territories of the United 
States. Brock, indeed, seems to have despised his adversary as much 
as the latter feared Brock. In furtherance of his design, Brock 
superseded Colonel St. George in the command of the district, and 
appointed in his place Colonel Proctor, a skilful officer, obedient, 
active, daring, and unscrupulous. The wisdom of his choice was 
soon vindicated, for Hull, having sent out a detachment of two hun- 
dred men to open his rear for a convoy, Proctor, ever on the 
watch, fell on the party, and totally routed it, with the loss of nearly 
seventy men. A second detachment, led by Colonel Miller, was 
more successful, defeating the British, and routing their Indian ally, 
Tecumseh ; but this body Hull refused to support after its victory, 
and finally commanded its return to camp, where it arrived just in 
time to be included in the surrender. 

As Hull retreated, Brock had advanced, and on the 14th of August, 
took post at Sandwich, opposite his adversary's camp. Here he threw 
up a battery, Hull refusing to annoy him. In vain the American 
otlicers solicited permission to open a fire on their enemy ; in vain 
they desired to be led to the charge, in order to spike his cannon. A 
mortal terror of his foe seemed now to have seized Hull. The vision 
of defeat constantly pursued him, and the sanguinary tomahawk was 
ever present to his fancy. He would, even at this early stage, have 
grasped at a truce, as the only hope of safety. " If you will give 
permission," said the brave Dalliba, " I will clear the enemy on the 
opposite shore from the lower batteries." " Mr. Dalliba," said the 
weak old man, " I will make an agreement with the enemy, that if 
they will not fire on me, I will not fire on them." Even the success 
of Colonel Miller's detachment could not inspire him witli hope. 
" Nothing has been gained by it but honor," he said despondingly, 
" and the blood of seventy-five men has been shed in vain." A per- 
son in such a frame of mind, was ill fitted to cope with a General as 
enterprising and bold as Brock. It needed the impetuosity of youth 
in that crisis, not the drivelling caution of old age. A Croghan 
would have saved the day, which a Hull ignomiuiously lost. 

On the 15th, Brock sent a boat across the river, with a summons 
of unconditional surrender. It found Hull in a moment of re-action, 
and he returned a spirited refusal. The refusal had scarcely been 
transmitted, however, before he regretted it. Brock appears to have 
read his adversary's character thoroughly. An enemy, under ordi- 
nary circumstances, would have taken some precautions, in crossing 
a hostile river, with an inferior force ; but though the Britisli Gene- 



ral had only twelve hundred men, and Hull thirteen hundred and 
fifty, the former boldly embarked in broad day, under cover merely 
of a slight cannonade. No attempt was made to oppose his landing. 
The American leader had already expressed to several of his officers 
an opinion that a capitulation would be necessary; and accordingly 
when Brock drew up his troops, and marched to the assault, orders 
were sent to the advanced parties not to fire. The command was 
heard with indignation. Tears of shame and rage rose to the eyes 
of the men, and the officers talked of marching back and displacing 
their commander. But it was now too late. 

The position of the army would have warranted a defence against 
twice the numbers of the enemy. The fort, a work of regular form 
and great solidity, surrounded by a wide and deep ditch, strongly 
fraised and palisaded, was defended by two twenty-four pounders, 
and a garrison of four hundred artillerists and infantry of the line. 
The town was held by three hundred Michigan militia, eager to de- 
fend their firesides, and well protected by the houses. Flunking the 
approach to the fort, and covered by a high and heavy picket-fence, 
were four hundred Ohio volunteers, all expert marksmen, all indig- 
nant at the retreat, all athirst for glory ! To add to this, the detach- 
ment under Colonel Miller, which we have already spoken of as or- 
dered back to camp, was within a mile and a half, stretching for- 
ward directly in the enemy's rear, with every nerve strained at 
sound of the cannon. Not a man in the American lines but was 
anxious for the contest. Only one hesitated, and he the leader! 
It is said that surrounded by the ladies of his family, who besought him 
with tears to save them from the savages by a timely surrender, he 
sat for a while irresolute, blushing with shame at the proposed ca- 
pitulation. But at last rising with trembling limbs he ordered 
the white flag to be hoisted, the troops to stack their arms, and the 
outer positions to be given up. No council of war was summoned. 
No advice was asked of a single officer. For once he took all the 
responsibility on his own shoulders ; but it was one which covered 
his name with eternal infamy ! 

The capitulation which followed was announced amid the execra- 
tions of the troops, the sullen silence of the militia, and the stinging 
reproaches of the women of Detroit. It was such a one as might 
have been expected from Hull's panic. Everything was given up, 
even more than was asked. Not only the territory, in its length and 
breadth, was yielded to the enemy, but the supplies at the river Rai- 
sin, and the absent detachment were included in the surrender. This 
Was done, moreover, at the suggestion of Hull himself. He seemed 


to be guided by a morbid desire to save blood, and to crave his an- 
tagonist's mercy by abandoning everything to him. He engaged that 
the militia should not serve again until exchanged. Yet he forgot to 
make any stipulation in favor of the Canadians who had joined his 
army ; but sacrificed them to the anger of the enemy. In short, the 
whole capitulation betrayed the panic in which it had its origin. 
Hull's surrender, as one of his cotemporarics remarked, was the re- 
sult of "an ignorance that knew not what to do; of aself-sulliciency 
refusing to be instructed; and of a cowardice that in its terrors, lost 
all sense of national interest, personal dignity and professional duty." 
As for Brock, he could scarcely conceal his surprise at this wonder- 
ful success. " I hasten to apprize your excellency," lie said, writing 
to his superior, Prevost, " of the capture of this very important post. 
Twenty-five hundred prisoners have this day surrendered prisoners of 
war, andabout twenty-five pieces of ordnance have been taken with- 
out the sacrifice of of a drop of British blood. I had not more than 
six hundred troops, including militia, and about six hundred Indians 
to accomplish this service. When I detail my good fortune your 
excellency will be astonished." 

Yet Hull can scarcely be called a coward in the ordinary sense of 
the term. Cowardice is applied in military affairs at least, to physical 
rather than to moral terror. There are many men willing to brave 
death on the battlefield, who shrink from assuming responsibility in 
critical and uncertain emergencies. Hull had fought bravely in the 
revolutionary war, and would probably have fought bravely again 
as a subordinate. Had he been a Colonel in the north-western army, 
with a Jackson at its head, a portion of the inflexible character of 
his superior might have been imparted to him. His whole career 
proves that though brave enough when he could lean on others, 
he was not accustomed to depending on himself. Personally he had 
no fear of death; but he shrank from the responsibility of bringing it 
on others. It is probable that if there had been no Indians in the 
British army, he might have made a bolder stand, for dread of the 
savages was a prevailing feature of that day. But the conviction 
that England was invincible, and that it was a waste of blood and 
treasure to combat her, seems to have been the leading cause which 
produced Hull's surrender. He began the campaign with uneasy 
fears of her superiority, and these fears were increased by the bold 
and dashing enterprise on Mackinaw. It has been well remarked 
that, from the day that fort fell, Hull was conquered. 

The news of the capitulation at Detroit was received in the United 
States with incredulity at first, and subsequently with curses of rage 


and shame. The astonishment of the people, who had expected to 
hear of the conquest of all Canada, could not have been greater. A 
re-action from hope to despair was the consequence. Those who 
had been most confident became the most desponding. The cry was 
that the war would minus. The New England states, which had 
denounced the invasion of Canada as unjust and irreligious, pointed 
to the late disaster as a rebuke sent by Providence, and exhorted the 
militia to refuse crossing the border. Never, perhaps, since the War 
of Independence, and in the period immediately preceding the battle 
of Trenton, was the public mind so despondent. But suddenly news 
ame of a victory, so unexpected, so brilliant, so far beyond ordina- 
ry calculation, that the nation was flung into transports of joy. We 
allude to the capture of the Guerriere. The fall of Detroit now 
ceased to call the blush of shame to American cheeks, for it was 
more than set oif, in the popular estimation, by this triumph. If the 
flair of the republic had been trailed in the dust on the north-western 
frontier, the red cross of Britain had been struck down on her native 
element, the sea ! 

So great was the public indignation at Hull's surrender, that, for 
a while, he was regarded as a traitor, who had sold his country to 
the enemy. He had been carried, with his officers, to Montreal, 
where the English entered the city with their captives in mock pro- 
cession ; but subsequently, having been exchanged, he was brought 
to trial before a court-martial, found guilty of cowardice, and con- 
demned to be shot. In consideration, however, of his age and 
past services, the court recommended him to mercy ; and the Pre- 
sident humanely suffered him to live, tkough not without first strik- 
ing his name from the army roll. The charge of treason was 
abandoned as unfounded. There is one redeeming feature in the 
history of Hull, as connected with this transaction. He made no 
attempt to excuse himself before the public, by endeavoringto incul- 
pate his oilicers in his crime ; but stated frankly, and at once, that 
the whole blame should rest on himself. In summing up his cha- 
racter, we must regard him as a man of weak, though not despicable 
intellect ; possessed of mere animal courage, but with little moral 
firmness ; as a soldier, good enough for subordinate stations, but to- 
tally unequal to a superior command. 

Hull endeavored to exculpate himself before the public, by 
printing, in 1S14, a defence of his conduct. But he did not succeed. 
In 1824, he again appeared as an author, by publishing a memoir 
of the campaign of 1S12, together with a sketch of his revolutionary 
services. He died in 1825, aged seventy-two. 


6 rf »l 'Ite 









gadier-General in the army of 
the United States, was born in 
Maryland, about the year 1756. 
Pie served during the war of In- 
dependence in a subordinate capacity, and 
| subsequently removed to Tennessee, where 
.v he rose to considerable influence. Possessed 
of an ample fortune, conciliating in manners, 
-^£ r £* t ^0 and ambitious as well as brave, he became 
the successful candidate, in 1S12, for the office of Brigadier from his 
adopted state. His competitor was Andrew Jackson, then compara- 
tively an obscure man, out of Tennessee. It is said that the deci- 
sion in favor of Winchester was made at the instigation of the mem- 
ber of Congress from his district, who feared that if Winchester was 
not put into the army, he might become a formidable opponent in the 
ensuing election. 




The ignominous surrender of Hull, had, at this period, filled the 
whole west with grief and indignation. The best and bravest of her 
sons, especially from Kentucky, pressed forward to offer themselves 
as volunteers, and within a month from the fall of Detroit, a gallant 
army had assembled, breathing vengeance for the late disgrace, and 
resolved not to return until the British conquests had been regained. 
Two competitors presented themselves for the command of this force. 
The first was Winchester, who claimed it as senior Brigadier; the 
other was William Henry Harrison, who had been created a Major- 
Geueral by the Governor of Kentucky, expressly to supersede Win- 
chester. Harrison was popular with the troops ; Winchester was not. 
In the end, the difficulty was adjusted by the Federal Government, 
which assigned to Harrison the chief command. Accordingly the 
army put itself in motion for a winter's campaign, the Comman- 
der-in-chief leading the right wing, and Winchester the left. 

Winchester, after relieving Fort Wayne, in September, moved 
down to the site of old Fort Defiance, where a new post was estab- 
lished, called Fort Winchester. Here, the General, by perseverance 
in conciliatory measures, succeeded in gaining the popularity of his 
troops. After building a sufficient number of large canoes, to trans- 
port their baggage down the Maumee to the Rapids, the volunteers 
left this camp in November, and advanced in the direction of the 
enemy. Tne way was long, difficult, and wild. The troops, as yet, 
were destitute of winter clothing, though snow was on the ground 
and ice forming fast. Provisions soon failed, and for fourteen days 
the gallant Kentuckians subsisted on hickory roots, elm bark, and 
the beef of a few cattle killed in a state of starvation. At last a 
supply of warm clothing was received, and the troops moved for- 
ward with re-animated bosoms. It was at this period that an inci- 
dent occurred, Characteristic of the generosity of the western people. 
The volunteers from Kentucky were the first to receive their winter 
clothing, and a regiment of regulars remained for a long time after- 
wards with no protection against the inclement weather, except 
linen fatigue dresses. The brave Kentuckians insisted that this 
regiment should be exempt from camp duty, and be allowed to 
remain by their fires : and they carried their humane point. 

It was on the 8th of January, when the order was issued to march 
to the Rapids. The snow lay twenty-seven inches deep on a 
dead level, and the men had to harness themselves to sleighs, in 
order to transport the baggage. Yet, intense as the cold was, the 
everlasting swamps of that region were not hard frozen. Through 
incalculable dilliculties the troops of Winchester pressed forward, 


and in about ten days reached the Rapids. In the meantime a mes- 
senger had arrived in camp from the village of Frenchtown, on the 
Raisin, a small stream, emptying its waters into the north-west angle 
of Lake Erie ; the inhabitants terrified at the approach of the enemy, 
solicited aid from Winchester. Accordingly, Colonels Lewis and 
Allen, were detached with six hundred men. This little band, on 
the 18th of January, IS 13, reached the river Raisin, and defeated a 
combined English and Indian force, five hundred strong, led by 
Major Reynolds, of the Canadian militia. The etfect of this victory 
was electric. The inhabitants of Frenchtown were filled with exul- 
tation, and while two days before they had thought only of escaping 
the tomahawk of the savage, now, they considered nothing but in 
what way best to pursue the enemy. Nor was the excitement less 
at Winchester's camp. Every man there felt as if it had been the 
greatest misfortune of his life to be left behind when Lewis marched 
on Frenchtown, and all, with one voice, demanded to be led forward 
in order to share what there was of glory yet remaining. Little did 
they imagine the dark and bloody tragedy in store for them. 

On the 21st of January, Winchester put his troops in motion for 
the Raisin. The way lay partially through the woods, where the snow 
was two feet deep, partially along the borders of the lake, where 
the ice almost blocked up the passage ; these were obstructions suffi- 
cient to deter ordinary men, but the indomitable spirit of the Ken- 
tuckians was not to be disheartened. Winchester reached French- 
town on the evening of the 21st; he found Colonel Lewis, who was 
an officer of experience in Indian wars, posted in enclosed gar- 
dens, with an open field on his right. The reinforcement brought 
by Winchester, numbered about three hundred, and was commanded 
by Colonel Wells, who being of the regular army, outranked Lewis, 
who belonged to the volunteers. Wells demanded to be posted on 
the right, as the station due to his superiority in rank ; and to this 
claim Winchester yielded, placing Wells, in consequence, in the open 
field. Had the advice of Lewis been taken, who recommended that 
Wells should be stationed in some gardens on his left, the result 
of the day might have been different. 

Meanwhile, Proctor having heard at Maiden of the defeat of Rey- 
nolds, was hastening forward with all his disposable force. On the 
morning of tha 22d,just after dawn, he prepared for the assault. 
Covering his right with artillery, and his Hanks with Indian marks- 
men, he advanced at first gallantly, but when he had approached 
within musket shot of the pickets, was met by so galling and inces- 
sant a fire, that this part of his army fell into confusion. On the left 


however, he was more successful. Perceiving the exposed situation 
of the detachment under Wells, Proctor hastened to concentrate all 
his force against it. A furious conflict ensued on this part of the 
field. Sharp and rapid vollies of musketry followed in succession 
from either side, over which occasionally rose the whoop of the In- 
dians, or the cheers of the brave Kentuckians. But that little band, 
unprotected as it was, could not long hold out against overwhelming 
numbers. After the action had lasted about twenty minutes, Win- 
chester saw that his position was untenable, and ordered Wells to 
fall back and gain the enclosures of Lewis. But at the first symptom 
of this retreat, the enemy redoubled their exertions, and pressed so 
obstinately on the Americans, that the line soon got into disorder. 
A panic now seized the men, who had just defended themselves so 
bravely, and mistaking the command to fall back, for a direction to 
retreat, they rushed to the river, which they crossed on the ice, and 
began to fly through the woods, in the direction of the Rapids. 
Exhilarated by victory, the British gave pursuit, the chase being led 
by the savages, who tasted, in anticipation, the blood of the fugi- 
tives. In vain Winchester, riding among the men, endeavored to 
rally them ; in vain Colonels Lewis and Allen, hurrying from their 
enclosures, with a company of fifty men each, struggled to check the 
torrent of defeat. Nothing would avail. Allen fell bravely fighting 
in the desperate attempt ; while Winchester, with Lewis and other 
otlicers, were taken prisoners. And now the rout became a mas- 
sacre. On sped the panic-struck troops, on came the Indians, like 
tigers who had tasted blood. Some fell by merciful rifle-balls, some 
were reserved for the hatchet, some were scalped alive, and left to 
perish by degrees. Of the whole of that chivalrous band which had 
left the Raisin with Winchester two days before, all were slaugh- 
tered, except forty who were taken prisoners, and twenty-eight who 
were miraculously saved. To this melancholy catalogue must be 
added the two companies under Lewis and Allen, who had made 
the sortie we have spoken of in favor of their companions. 

We have already seen that Proctor had been repulsed from the 
enclosures in the earlier part of the day. In that abortive attack he 
had lost one-fourth of his men, and would probably have now been 
glad to retire, satisfied with his partial victory, if he had not heard 
that Winchester was among the prisoners. His fertile mind immedi- 
ately suggested a stratagem by which he might yet, perhaps, capture 
the whole American force. Sending for Winchester, he enlarged on 
his large number, on the ruthlessness of his savages, and on the 
impossibility of the remaining portion of Winchester's command being 


able to make good their defence. " I can set fire to every house in 
the village," he said, " and this my duty will compel me to do. 
Think of the innocent women and children who will be massacred 
by the Indians in consequence. You alone can avert this terrible- 
calamity. Order your subordinate to surrender, and these miseries 
will be spared." 

Instead of replying indignantly to this brutal threat, Winchester 
suffered himself to be deceived by Proctor's sophistry, or by his own 
humanity, and sent word to the garrison that it was his advice they 
should surrender. The message, however, was basely perverted, 
for when Proctor's aid-de-camp was introduced to Major Madison, 
on whom the command had now devolved by the capture of Colonel 
Lewis, the latter was informed that "he and his followers had been 
surrendered prisoners of war, by General Winchester, to the arms 
of his Brittannic Majesty." But Madison, refusing to acknowledge 
the right of a captured General to make a capitulation for his troops, 
declared his determination to perish where he stood, with his gallant 
Kentuckians, unless more favorable terms should be granted. " We 
prefer selling our lives as dear as possible," he said, "rather than 
be massacred in cold blood." At last a solemn stipulation was en- 
tered into by Proctor, that all private property should be respected : 
that sleds should be sent, next morning, to remove the sick and 
wounded to Ahmctsburg, opposite Maiden ; that, meantime, a guard 
should be left to protect them from the savages; and that the side 
arms of the oflicers should be restored to them at Maiden. 

On these conditions, Major Madison surrendered, though reluc- 
tantly. He would still have rejected all proposals for a capitulation, 
and held out to the last extremity, but for a scarcity of ammunition. 
That night the prisoners, about six hundred in number, were marched 
to Ahmetsburg, where they arrived on the evening of the 23rd. 
Here they were penned up in a muddy and confined wood-yard, 
exposed to a pelting rain, without sheds, tents, or blankets, and with 
scarcely sufficient fire to keep them from freezing. The men, on 
first hearing of their surrender, had broken their muskets across the 
pickets in rage; and now they spent the night in muttering execra 
lions on their captors for this inhuman treatment. But their fate 
was merciful compared to that of the sick and wounded who had 
been left behind. These, by the terms of the capitulation, were to 
have been conveyed to Ahmetsburg in sleds, on the morning of 
the 23rd. But instead of the sleighs came two hundred savages, 
painted in the most hideous manner, who, rushing upon the houses 
where the wounded lay, first plundered them of every valuable, and 
vi 1 1 


then surrounding the habitations, set them on fire. As the flames 
roared and crackled to the sky, the savages danced around with 
yells of fiendish delight. Some of the victims, staggering from their 
beds, endeavored to fly, but their merciless enemies drove them back 
with exulting whoops. When the fire smouldered into ashes, the 
bones of sixty- four brave men lay charred among the embers. 

Nothing can excuse Proctor'^ agency in this affair. He broke his 
plighted word in not detailing a sufficient guard to protect the 
wounded. Moreover, one of his own officers, a half-breed named 
Elliot, on being told that most of the American Surgeons had been 
killed, and that there were not sufficient to attend to the wounded, 
answered inhumanly, and with prophetic meaning, " the Indians 
will be found excellent Doctors." The rage and despair of the pri- 
soners at Ahmetsburg, all of whom had left friends, and sonic 
brothers behind, when they heard of this massacre, exceeded all 
bounds. In this disastrous battle, and in the bloody scene that fol- 
lowed, so many of the best sons of Kentucky were sacrificed, that it 
was said the whole commonwealth was plunged into mourning. 
The sacrilegious neglect of the American dead was another part of 
the conduct of Proctor, as disgraceful, though not, perhaps, as crimi- 
nal as his perfidy to his prisoners. The corpses were formally de- 
nied the rights of sepulture, and left a prey to the hogs and dogs of 
the village. Some time afterwards friendly hands were found to lay 
them piously in the ground ; but when the American army passed 
that way, in the ensuing summer, the relics were again seen ex- 
posed. They were buried once more, and thenceforth slept in peace. 
For his success in defeating Winchester, Proctor was made a Brign- 
dier-General ; but not a word of disapproval was uttered by his 
government in reference to the massacre. 

The history of Winchester, after this unfortunate defeat, ceases to 
be of interest. He survived several years, respected in private life 
for his mild and generous heart ; but suffering, in his public capacity, 
under the odium of this disgraceful and fatal repulse. His career is a 
warning to popular governments, that a man without real capacity 
for command, should never, whatever his influence or fortune, be 
entrusted with the lives of his fellow men. 


ERY PIKE, a Brigadier- 
General in the United States 
army, was born at South 
Trenton, in New Jersey, on 
the 5th of January, 1779. He was 
an officer of industry, ability and pro- 

too early 
an age to fulfil all the high expectations 
that had been formed of him. He was 
" a striet disciplinarian, and adroit in the 
management of men. His courage was bold and dashing. Fond of 
his profession, ambitious of distinction, and with many qualities to 
ensure success, it was the melancholy burden of his thoughts, as he 
lay on his untimely death-bed, that he perished too soon for glory ! 


K ^y,A I v^-£d [> 7 an oincer oi industry, amni; 
// Kj% V^(' ; ZH mise, though he perished at 


Pike was destined for the army from his earliest years, his father 
being a Major in the regular service. He served, when quite a 
youth, as a cadet in his parent's corps, and on the 3rd of March. 
1799, received his first commission, that of an Ensign, in the second 
regiment of infantry. In little more than a year he was promoted 
to the rank of First-Lieutenant. His assiduity soon attracted the 
notice of his superiors, and in 1805, he was appointed, by General 
Wilkinson, to command an expedition to explore the head waters of 
the Mississippi. The detachment, consisting of a Serjeant, a Corpo- 
ral, and seventeen privates, beside Pike himself, left St. Louis on 
the Oth of August, 1805, and was absent eight months and twenty- 
two days. During this period it visited numerous tribes of Indians 
on the upper Missouri, and was the first to carry the flag of the Uni- 
ted States into those remote regions. Pike found the savages gene- 
rally suspicious of this republic, though acknowledging the prowess 
of its citizens in war ; and it soon became evident to him that for 
these opinions they were indebted to the intrigues of the English 
traders in that direction. During the war of 1S12, the sentiments, 
thus sown, bore bitter fruits, some of these very savages marching 
fifteen hundred miles to join in the contest against us. 

The admirable manner in which Pike executed his task in this 
expedition, induced Wilkinson to despatch him on an exploration to 
the head waters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. The primary ob- 
ject of the enterprise, as appears from his instructions, was to restore 
certain Osage captives, recently rescued from the Potawatamies, to 
their homes on the Grand Osage ; the second was to effect a perma- 
nent peace between the Kansas and Osage nations ; and the third 
was to establish a good understanding with the Yanctons, Tetans, 
or Camanches. If there were other, and more secret purposes of 
the expedition, they have never come to light. Pike started from 
St. Louis on the 15th of July, 1806. His party consisted of a Second- 
Lieutenant, a Sergeant, two Corporals, sixteen privates, and an in- 
terpreter. A professional gentlemen, Dr. Ro unson, accompanied 
the party as a volunteer. The Indians carried out by the expedi- 
tion, were fifty-one Osages and Pawnees. 

The enterprise proved disastrous. Near the head of the Arkansas 
River, Pike lost his way, and wandered about for a month without 
gaining a day's journey on his original encampment. The winter set 
in severely ; the snow lay thick on the ground ; provisions failed ; 
and many of the men became frost-bitten, and had to be left on the 
road. At last Pike reached what he supposed to be the Red River, 
and began to erect a fortification there, his intention being to leave 


four or five men in this place, when completed, and, with the 
remainder, to return for those of his party he had been compelled to 
abandon. In a few days, however, he was visited by a party of 
Spanish dragoons, the commander of which, first informing him that 
he was within the boundaries of New Mexico, and on the Rio del 
Norte instead of the Red River, ended by civilly requesting his com- 
pany at Santa Fe, which was but two days march distant. Under 
the circumstances there was no resource but to accede to a request} 
which, if refused, would evidently be enforced as a command. Ac- 
cordingly Pike accompanied the ollicer to Santa Fe, first stipulating 
that a party should remain at the fort, in order to await the men for 
whom he had sent back. On reaching Santa Fe, the cause of his 
arrest was explained, in the notoriety which Burr's exploded designs 
on Mexico had attained. The Spanish Governor had, at first, sup- 
posed Pike to be one of Burr's emissaries. On discovering his mis- 
take, however, he allowed Pike to return to the United States, though 
not until he had taken away his papers. Pike's homeward journey 
was pursued through what is now Texas. In the ensuing year, he 
published the results of his observations, in a work entitled, " Geo- 
graphical, Statistical, and General Observations on the Interior 
Provinces of New Spain ;" and shortly after, made a report to the 
government of his expedition up the Mississippi. The most flatter- 
ing testimonials, from both the Secretary of War and the President, 
were received by him for his conduct in these explorations. He 
appears indeed to have possessed every required qualification except 
being a man of science. 

After his return from Mexico, Pike was raised to ihe rank of Cap- 
tain ; in 1809, to that of Major ; and in 1S10, to that of Lieutenant- 
Colonel. When the War of 1S12 broke out, he was advanced to 
the post of Colonel. In the ensuing year, when General Dearborn 
planned his attack on York, the command of the expedition was 
given to Pike, who had meantime been nominated for Brigadier. It 
was on the 27th of April, 1813, that the tragical assault was made. 
The defenders numbered about eight hundred, half regulars, and 
half militia and Indians, commanded by General SheaiTe. An ad 
verse wind prevented the landing of the Americans where they had 
intended, and accordingly it became necessary to pass some thick 
woods before reaching the works. These woods were occupied by 
a strong party of the enemy, who poured in a destructive fire as the 
troops approached the shore. The first who landed were the rifle- 
men under Major Forsythe. One of their number, an especial 
favorite, falling almost as soon as he sprang on the beach, the whole 
viii* 12 



eorps became inflamed with a thirst for revenge, which lent the most 
terrible effect to their fire. Immediately taking covert behind the 
trees, they picked off the troops of the British one by one, Forsythe, 
it is said, passing up and down the line behind his men, and point- 
ing out those who presented the surest mark. The slaughter was 
terrible. Yet the enemy resolutely held his ground, until Pike, with 
the main body, had effected a landing. 

Quickly forming his men, Pike dashed on in pursuit. After 
threading the wood we have spoken of, he came to an open ground, 
at the further end of which appeared the redoubts of the enemy. 
One of these soon yielded to the impetuous attack of ttie Americans. 
Hut the other holding out, it was resolved to halt the column until 
a battery could be established of some light artillery, beneath the 
«over of the conquered redoubt. The troops being fatigued, the 
Leading regiments were allowed to seat themselves on the ground, 
Pike himself, surrounded by his staff, imitating their example. In 
this position they were awaiting the effect of the artillery, when sud- 


J v J" m t 

I mi m 



denly an explosion occurred, shaking earth and sky. Instantly 
every man looked around in horror. The explosion was seen to 
proceed from a magazine of the enemy, a huge stone building, 


which had caught fire by some untoward accident. The Americans 
were all within a compass of a few hundred yards, right in the track 
of this terrible volcano. An instant or two elapsed between the 
stunning report and the fall of the destructive missiles. The sight 
is described as having been awful. At first a jet of flame was seen 
shooting to the sky, followed by thick pulls of white smoke, from 
the midst of which huge fragments of the wall went spinning aloft, 
and then fell, thick and fast, over the field around. The gigantic 
masses, as they poised a moment before descending, seemed like 
some black cloud obscuring the heavens : then, with a rushing sound, 
they came to the earth, bruising, maiming and destroying wherever 
they touched. In some places the fragments fell with such force as 
to bury themselves several feet in the ground. Over three hundred 
individuals, by that fearful descent, were hurried into eternity, or 
else wounded or maimed for life. 

P-;ke was one of the sufferers. Seeing the huge masses in the air, 
and knowing that escape was impossible, he did not attempt to rise, 
but stooped his body forward instinctively. A piece of the wall 
struck him on the back as he bent in this position, and gave him a 
mortal injury. Just as he was lifted from the ground, he heard a 
shout, and inquiring what it was for, was told the enemy's flag 
was coming down. He smiled proudly on hearing this. He lived 
but a few hours, just long enough to be taken on board the fleet. 
Here he desired the captured banner might be placed under his 
head. He died thinking of his wife and children, and regretting that 
his career was cut so short. His wife was a woman who shared all 
Ins ambitious longings, and would have incited him to glory, if he 
had been less athirst for it himself. She heard of her loss with the 
fortitude of a Roman matron, and lived thereafter to cherish his 
memory, as a sacred deposit. 

The death of Pike, and the explosion of the magazine, threw the 
Americans into momentary confusion, which General Sheafle availed 
himself of to abandon his fortifications, leaving the authorities of 
York to make the best terms of surrender they could. Otters of 
capitulation were immediately made, but while they were being 
entertained, the enemy set fire to a public vessel on the stocks, and 
to a magazine of military and naval stores. The loss of the British 
in this aifair was five hundred, in killed, wounded and prisoners ; 
that of the Americans, in killed and wounded, three hundred and 
twenty, and most of these were in consequence of this explosion. 

Pike was but thirty-four at the period of his death. His loss was 



deeply regretted by the nation, which had formed a high estimate 
of his ability. In the army, but especially in his own regiment, the 
grief for his premature fate was long and heart-felt. 


ENRY DEARBORN, a Major-Genera) 
in the army of the United States, was 
another example of a revolutionary of- 
ficer who failed to maintain his old re- 
putation. But as there are grades in 
unli'ncss as in other things, Dearborn 
has the merit of being less incapable 
than either Wilkinson or Hull. His 
fault was that of all the earlier Gene- 
rals of the war of 1812. Age had 
damped his ardor, and weakened his energy : instead of being the first 
to lead, he was content to delegate this task to others. Forty years had 



completely changed his character. In 1776 he had been distinguished 
for promptitude and fire ; in 1812 he was remarkable only for inac- 

Dearborn was a native of New Hampshire, where he was born in 
the year 1751. He received as good an education as the colonies 
could then afford, and at the age of manhood, settled as a practi- 
tioner of medicine at Portsmouth, in his native state. Among one 
of the most ardent supporters of the colonial rights, he did not hesi- 
tate, when the trial of arms came, to devote his sword and life to his 
country ; and on hearing of the battle of Lexington, marched, with 
sixty volunteers, to Cambridge, a distance of sixty miles, within 
twenty-four hours. He was present at the battle of Bunker Hill, 
where he held a Captain's commission, in Stark's regiment. He sub- 
sequently accompanied Arnold to Canada, where he was captured, 
and at first closely confined ; but was afterwards liberated on parole, 
and, in March, 1777, exchanged. He was now attached to the 
army of Gates, with the rank of Major, and shared, with his compa- 
nions, the glories of Saratoga. In the campaign of 1778, he distin- 
guished himself at the battle of Monmouth, in a manner to win the 
personal commendation of Washington. In 1779, he formed one of 
the expedition, under Sullivan, against the Six Nations. His milita- 
ry career in the War of Independence, closed at the siege of York- 

After the conclusion of peace, Dearborn returned to private life. 
On the elevation of Washington to the Presidency, he was appointed 
marshal of the District of Maine. Subsequently he was twice elected 
to Congress from Maine. In 1801, on the formation of the Jetferson 
administration, he was appointed Secretary of War, an office he held 
until 1809. He was rewarded, on his retirement, with the collector- 
ship of the port of Boston, at that time the most lucrative post, of 
its character, in the country. When the war with Great Britain was 
declared, he was made a Major-General, partly on account of his in- 
fluence, and partly for his reputation earned during the revolutionary 
struggle. His first operation in the autumn of 1812, signally failed. 
But, as the army was as yet only partially prepared for action, bet- 
ter auspices were drawn for the future. 

The plan of campaign for 1813, on the northern frontier, was 
sketched by General Armstrong, the Secretary of War. He pro- 
posed the reduction of Kingston and York, on Lake Ontario, and of 
Fort George, on the Niagara, in the order named. It was the opin- 
ion of Armstrong that the most important of the posts, Kingston, 
ought first to be attacked, since its fall would paralyze the operations 


of the British throughout Canada ; and in arriving at this decision it 
must be confessed, the Secretary of war evinced more than his usual 
judgment. The force of Dearborn was thirteen thousand men, and 
that of the enemy but three thousand, so that if numbers could se- 
cure victory, the Americans had nothing to fear. Besides, Chauncey 
was on the lake, with a fleet, ready to co-operate with Dearborn. 
On a consideration, however, of the Secretary's plan, Dearborn and 
Chauncey decided to assail the weakest point of the enemy first, 
thus displaying another instance of that exaggerated dread of the 
English armies, and a mistrust in our own, which led to most of the 
disasters during the first two years of the war. Accordingly the ex- 
pedition against York was undertaken. 

This post fell into the hands of the Americans after a feeble at- 
tempt at resistance. It was here that the brave Pike lost his life by 
the explosion of a magazine ; and in consequence of this calamity a 
portion of the enemy escaped, for Dearborn not being present on the 
field, and Colonel Peirce, who succeeded Pike, having received no 
orders, a pursuit was not undertaken. The next movement was 
against Fort George, which was abandoned by its garrison on the 
approach of Dearborn. But here also the inactivity, or want of 
foresight of the American General, permitted the escape of the ene- 
my. If, instead of concentrating his whole force on the water-side 
of the British defences, he had sent a sufficient detachment across the 
Niagara, below Qtteenstown, he could have cut off all escape. Even 
when, on the flight of the garrison, Colonel Winfield Scott, on his 
own responsibility, gave pursuit, Dearborn recalled him, and thus 
allowed the enemy to secure a safe retreat. Afterwards, by taking 
the wrong road, he lost two days in following the foe to Burlington 
heights ; and finally closed this series of blunders by detaching an 
insullicicnt force, which was attacked at Stony Brook, in the night 
of the 5th of June, and completely defeated. These failures the pro- 
phetic eye of Pike had foreseen before his death. " Our country is 
again doomed to defeat," lie is reported to have said, « if the opera- 
tions now meditated by the General are attempted to be accom- 

Dearborn's want of success, during the twelve months he had been 
in command, had now led to a very general demand on the part of 
the public, that he should be recalled. Not only had he signally 
failed in his attempt on Canada in the autumn of 1S12, but after- 
wards, when full time had been allowed to discipline his troops, and 
when the government had given him the most unlimited discretion- 
ary powers, his campaign had presented only a series ot disasters. 


With an army never less than thirty-five hundred men, he had been 
foiled by an enemy rarely numbering a thousand. After the defeat 
of Chandler and Winder at Stony Brook, Dearborn had withdrawn 
his forces to Fort George ; and the enemy, though much inferior in 
numbers, emboldened by these signs of fear, had advanced in the 
direction of that post, in order, as the British General wrote in his 
despatches, u to circumscribe the range of the American troops, 
and compel them to live on their own resources.' , Aroused by 
these encroachments, Dearborn determined to send out a detach- 
ment to attack the enemy. A last opportunity to redeem him- 
self was here presented ; but he wanted either the sagacity or 
energy to avail himself of it. If he had despatched Scott and Miller, 
both known to be active and able officers, with fifteen hundred men 
each, he might have crushed the British ; but instead of this he chose 
Colonel Boerstler, an otiicer proved by no particular service, with 
but five hundred and forty men, to operate, beyond sustaining dis- 
tance, against a rapid, practised and vehement foe. The conse- 
quences were such as might have been foreseen. Boerstler was 
surrounded and compelled to surrender. 

When intelligence of this last disaster reached the city of Washing- 
ton, Congress was in session, and an informal committee was immedi- 
ately appointed, to wait on the President and solicit the recall of Dear- 
born. Madison complied, and the order was despatched that day. In 
consequence of this removal, the operations of the northern army were 
suspended, for General Boyd, the second in command, was ordered 
to do nothing until the arrival of Wilkinson, Dearborn's successor. 
In justice to the retiring General it must be stated that he had been 
ill for more than a month before his removal ; that his army was 
becoming rapidly thinned by sickness; and that he had been left 
almost entirely without regimental officers. Moreover, about this 
period, the command of the lake was temporarily lost. But Dear- 
born, nevertheless, appears to have been wanting in the requisites of 
a successful General ; for he displayed a torpor and indecision, which, 
whether resulting from age or natural incapacity, produced the most 
unfortunate results. 

After his recall, Dearborn was ordered to assume command of the 
military district of New York city. His subsequent life presents few 
incidents worthy of record here. In 1S2J, during the administration 
of Monroe, he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal : 
but he did not long hold this honorable post, being recalled, two 
years later, at his own request. He survived only a short period, 
dying in 1829, at the age of seventy-eight. 



Major-General in the army of the 

United States, had distinguished 

himself in the revolutionary war, but 

failed in the present contest to maintain 

his former reputation. He was, in fact, 

disqualified for a supreme command, 

though capable of discharging with 

credit the duties of a subordinate. The 

disgraceful termination of the attempt on 

Canada, in the autumn of IS 13, is to be 

Attributed chiefly to him. At the head of the most imposing 

which had vet been concentrated on the northern frontier, he had 

ix 13 <J~ 


advanced to a convenient distance of Montreal, when suddenly he 
abandoned his design, and retired to French Mills, to the chagrin of 
all his abler officers. His excuse for this conduct, was the want of 
concert on the part of General Hampton. But this is an insufficient 
justification. The battle of Williamsburg, in which the enemy had 
nietacheck,lefttheroadto Montreal comparatively open, and it needed 
only a bold and vigorous push to carry that important place. But 
there, was nothing heroic about Wilkinson. He was a gentleman of 
polished address, and a methodical officer, but not a great General. 
He was fitted to follow rather than lead. His pompous manner, his 
affectation of military knowledge, and his jealous spirit, all marked 
the second-rate man, attempting to conceal his deficiencies by noise 
and bluster. 

Wilkinson was born in Maryland, in the year 1757. He was 
educated for a physician, and began his medical career in 1775, but 
the War of Independence breaking out in that year, he yielded to a 
partiality he had always experienced for the military life, and repaired 
to the camp at Cambridge. In March, 1776, he was rewarded with 
a Captain's commission. He served in Canada under Arnold, and 
subsequently in New Jersey, under Washington. At first, his 
advance was rapid. In January, 1777, he was elevated to the rank 
of Lieutenant-Colonel. When General Gates was appointed to the 
northern army, he offered Wilkinson the post of Aid-de-camp, a 
Mattering tender, which the young soldier accepted, resigning for that 
purpose his commission in the line. Appointed Adjutant-General 
by his patron, he served with industry and ability, until the surren- 
der of Burgoyne, when he was despatched by Gates to inform Con- 
gress of the capitulation. Wilkinson stopped so long at Reading, on 
Ins way to Philadelphia, that the felicitous news reached the capi- 
tol before him ; but notwithstanding his laggard pace, Congress was 
so delighted with the intelligence, that he was rewarded with the rank 
of Brigadier. A keen rebuke, however, was administered by Roger 
Sherman, who, in seconding the motion, proposed to amend it, by 
voting the messenger a whip and a pair of spurs. When Gates 
became President of the Board of War, Wilkinson was appointed 
his Secretary. Having been implicated in the cabal against Wash- 
ington by the conduct of Gates, a rupture occurred between the 
patron and pupil, and Wilkinson, in consequence, resigned his 
post as Secretary, as also his brevet of Brigadier. He was, however, 
subsequently appointed Clothier-General of the army. 

At the close of the war, Wilkinson settled iti Kentucky, where he 
embarked in trade; but soon becoming disgusted with commerce, he 


returned to the army, and was employed on the frontier. When the 
purchase of Louisiana was effected, under Jefferson's administration, 
Wilkinson was joint commissioner with Governor Clairborne, to 
receive that territory from the French authorities. He was now in 
command of the southern department. A few years later, Burr 
conceived the design of invading Mexico, and Wilkinson, still at the 
head of the southern department, appears to have lent, at first, a 
favorable ear to the dazzling scheme. Subsequently, however, 
induced either by patriotism or interest, he refused to give his coun- 
tenance to the enterprise, and became, indeed, one of the most active 
and even virulent witnesses against the prisoner. In this conduct, 
there is such an absence of magnanimity, as leaves no very favora- 
ble impression on the mind of the historian. Nothing, in fact, can 
vindicate Wilkinson from the imputation of having soughl his own 
personal advancement by the nun of his former friend. He was well 
acquainted with the real intentions of Burr, and had been a party 
to them; but when the popular cry was raised, he became one of 
the first, not only to desert his late associate, but to seek his destruc- 
tion. The most partial eulogists of Wilkinson's behaviour in this 
affair, are forced to admit, that either he shared in Burr's ambitious 
plans, or else played the spy on him from the beginning. 

Wilkinson continued in command of the southern department 
until 1811. In 1813, he was ordered to the northern frontier, to 
assume the chief command of the army there, made vacant by the 
recall of General Dearborn. The failure of the preceding campaign 
had led to the resignation of the Hon. Wm. Eustis, Secretary of War, 
and the advancement of General Armstrong to that place. The new 
officer had no sooner assumed his post, than he planned a bold and 
comprehensive campaign against Canada, the reduction of Kingston, 
the enemy's chief depot, being laid down as the first step to be 
taken, and preliminary to the conquest of Montreal and Quebec. 
The campaign was to have been opened on Lake Oivtario, by the 
first of April, or as soon as that lake was free from ice; and on the 
St. Lawrence by the 15th of May, or earlier if the navigation would 
permit. Had this plan been vigorously carried out, there is little 
doubt but that the whole of Canada would have fallen. Hut there 
seems to have been a lamentable imbecility, not only in those 
entrusted with its execution, but in the Secretary of War himself, 
who, later in the season, repaired to the scene of action in person. 
In the early part of the spring, General Dearborn was in command 
of the northern department, but instead of opening the campaign by 
an attack on Kingston, he moved against York, where victory 



afforded no reward commensurate with the trouble. Had he assailed 
Kingston at once, it is now apparent that he would have succeeded, 
and in so doing, struck a deadly blow to the British in Canada. His 
mistake at the beginning of the campaign, led to the inactivity of his 
army during the whole summer, for in July he was recalled, and 
by direction of the Secretary of War, every thing was left to await 
the arrival of Wilkinson, his successor. Meantime, however, Arm- 
strong renewed the original plan of the campaign, which, on Wilkin- 
son's arrival, was communicated to that General. The seizure of 
Kingston, and the destruction of the British fleet there, the Secretary 
said would give Wilkinson command of Lake Ontario, and strike at 
the vital parts of the enemy. In conjunction with this enterprise, 
the Secretary proposed a movement from Lake Champlain on the 
St. Lawrence, and the troops destined for this service, about lour 
thousand men, were entrusted to General Hampton. 

Wilkinson arrived at Albany in the early part of August, 1S13, 


-"". Eg? - $W i£&Mm W™>. 



and despatched, on the 16th of that month, his first orders to Hamp- 
ton. The latter General, who had imagined his command an inde- 
pendent one, was jealous of this new superior, and immediately 


tendered his resignation, but the Secretary succeeded in persuading 
him to retain his post until the close of the campaign, though 
not in wholly eradicating his disgust. The consequence was that the 
operations, which ought to have opened in the spring, and which 
were now about to begin at last in the autumn, commenced with a 
feud between the General-in-cliief and his second in command, an 
event generally ominous of failure. However, the campaign was 
at once begun. Wilkinson arriving at Sackett's Harbor, hastened 
to call a council of war. At this assembly it was resolved to ren- 
dezvous the troops at that post, and after a bold feint on Kingston, 
to slip down the St. Lawrence, and in conjunction with General 
Hampton, capture Montreal. The army at Wilkinson's disposal, 
was already seven thousand four hundred men, which, in a month, 
could be raised to nine thousand. This, it was believed, would outnum- 
ber the disposable force of theenemy, and ensure certain success to the 
contemplated campaign. In order that nothing might be left undone to 
obtain victory, the Secretary of War transferred his department from 
Washingtonto Sackett's Harbor, believing that hispresenceat the scene 
of operations would add to the celerity of the army, and compose the 
jealousies of Wilkinson and Hampton. But in this expectation, as 
might have been foreseen, he signally failed. His appearance 
rendered Wilkinson as jealous of the Secretary, as Hampton had 
before been jealous of Wilkinson. Where there should have been 
but one controlling head, there were now three. A general distrust 
between the Generals was the consequence. As a late writer has 
powerfully said, "that deplorable campaign was a monster with 
three heads, biting and barking at each other, with a madness which 
destroyed them all, and disgraced the country. Discord was a leprosy 
in the very marrow of the enterprise, worse than all its other cala- 
mities. Armstrong was on good terms both with Wilkinson and Hamp- 
ton till it failed, but thenceforth the enmity became as bitter 
between him and both of them, as between the two themselves. " 

On the 2rst of October, Wilkinson at last set his army in motion; 
Commodore Chauncey, having, as a preparatory measure chased the 
English fleet into harbor, and obtained command of the lake. The 
troops were embarked at Grenadier Island, near Sackett's Harbor, 
in three hundred boats, under convoy of a part of Chaunccy's squad- 
ron, but more than a fortnight elapsed before they cleared the lake, 
and reached the St. Lawrence. This delay is attributable to the 
advanced season. Now was seen the error of putting off the cam- 
paign to this late period of the year. Autumn proved particularly 
inclement ; there was almost constant rain, with occasional snow 



storms ; while the gales that swept that inland sea, lashed it into short, 
wild waves, that were more dangerous even than those of the 
ocean. One third of the boats were wrecked in this perilous navi- 
gation. The troops, crowded into the remainder, and unprovided 
with proper clothing, were continually drenched to the skin. To add to 
all provisions were scanty and unwholesome. In consequence, large 
numbers, both of officers and men, fell sick, and the spirits of the rest 
became materially impaired. Nor did the enemy omit any oppor- 
tunity to harass and distress the expedition, but frequently assailed 
it from their batteries, which were posted at various points along 
the shore. At last, on the 6th of November, the Americans arrived 
opposite Prescott. The main body of the troops was now debarked, 
only a small portion being left with General Hrown, to whom was 
entrusted the charge of carrying the ileet of boats past the English 
fortification. This task, that daring and skilful General effected 
in the night, without loss, though in the midst of a furious cannon- 
ade. The army and its flotilla having once more united, the expe- 
dition advanced on its way. At Ogdensburg, Wilkinson heard from 
Hampton, who expressed his conviction that the campaign was at 
an end, and renewed his desire to resign. Wilkinson, in reply, 
announced his present position, declared his intention of marching 
on Montreal, and demanded Hampton's co-operation to carry out 
the objects of the campaign. The progress of the main army down 
the St. Lawrence was now continued. 

During the whole voyage Wilkinson had been ill, and for most of 
the time confined to his bed. Secluded in his boat from the view of 
the men, his own spirits appear to have sunk as fast as theirs, if the 
diary which he kept of the proceedings of the army, is any criterion 
of his feelings. As early as the 24th of October, he writes in the 
most despondent strain. With each succeeding day, this deplorable 
want of confidence seems to have increased. Every new storm, every 
additional obstruction added to the depression of the General, when they 
should have been only increased inducements to renewed enterprise 
and perseverance. If Greene, when at the head of the southern 
army in the Revolution, had given way to the thousand difficulties 
that surrounded him, the Carolinas never would have been liberated ; 
but, though suffering for most of the time under disease, and though 
pursued by infinitely greater obstructions than Wilkinson, he 
manfully bore up against all, and came out victorious. The test of 
military genius is to conquer in spite of fate. Second-rate men 
always fail in difficult emergencies, but the first order of minds 
succeed by bending destiny to their will. Napoleon was never 


greater than in his Italian campaign, where, nevertheless, he was 
always interior in force to the Austrians. Washington, when retreat- 
ing across the Jerseys with three thousand men, while the British 
with twenty thousand, thundered in pursuit, is one of the noblest 
spectacles in military history, because he was conqueror in defiance 
of odds. Neither the sickness of Wilkinson, nor the inclemency of 
the weather can be admitted as a justification of his failure. The 
fact was, he held a post above his ability. He was unfitted to com- 

We have said that the British had omitted no occasion to annoy 
the Americans. Undismayed by the superior numbers of the inva- 
ders, they had attacked, whenever an opportunity otTered, with a 
bravery and resolution which extorts admiration. Indeed, the elfcct 
of the preceding campaign had not worn oil' from the public mind 
in either country. The British, were, in consequence, always con- 
fident of victory ; the Americans, distrustful of their own powers 
and expecting defeat. On the 9th of November, a fleet of the 
enemy's gun boats, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Morrison, 
cut otf a large quantity of provisions and stores, with two pieces of 
ordnance, from the rear of the Americans. Flushed with this success, 
Morrison on the following day pressed so close upon the invaders, that 
the Brigade under Boyd, which was nearest to him, turned and 
gave him battle. Had Wilkinson been a General of spirit, he would 
have concentrated all his forces, and crushed his assailant. But 
reduced by illness to spend the day on his pillow, he was so 
thoroughly destitute of the necessary energy, that, on hearing the 
distant cannonade, he merely enquired how the day was going, and 
was contented when he heard his troops had not been utterly 
defeated. The battle was thus left wholly to General Boyd, who 
had but sixteen hundred men, while his adversary commanded 
a force at least equal, if not superior. The conllict raged for two 
hours, and was obstinately contested. Both the British and Ameri- 
can Generals exhibited the greatest skill and intrepidity, so much so, 
indeed, that the English commander paid his adversary the compli- 
ment of declaring that the battle was in these respects, the hand- 
somest affair of the war. In the end, the British were driven from 
their positions, with a loss to the Americans of one hundred killed, 
and two hundred and thirty-six wounded, the enemy losing more 
by our account, less by their own. The desperate character of the 
tight is shown by the loss, which, in Boyd's brigade, amounted to 
one-fourth of the whole number. Had this detachment of the 
Americans been sustained by the whole disposable force of our 


army, there can be no doubt but that a glorious and decisive victory 
would have been won. This battle has been known as that of 

Wilkinson had now achieved three-fourths of his journey. His 
forces were greatly superior to those of the enemy ; the road to 
Montreal was comparatively open ; and the season was approach- 
ing which, notwithstanding the cold, is more favorable to military 
operations in Canada than either the autumn or spring. His 
advance was commanded by General Brown, a bold and gallant 
officer, who felt confident of the success of the campaign. Serving 
under Brown was a young officer, since the conqueror of Mexico, 
Colonel Winficld Scott, who had just routed a party of the British, 
eight hundred strong, at Iloophole Creek, and who was equally con- 
fident of victory. Had Wilkinson listened to the advice of these 
more heroic spirits, he might yet have achieved successes that would 
have crowned his name with glory. But, instead of this, he took 
counsel of his own morbid fears. At every step he considered he 
was further from his base, and, expecting defeat, lamented the dis- 
tance that separated him from a secure place of refuge. While in 
this miserable condition of mind he received a letter from Hampton, 
on the 12th of November, refusing peremptorily to join the expedi- 
tion. This decided Wilkinson. He saw a chance to shift the 
responsibility on another, and relieve himself of his suspense. His 
brow, which had been so long clouded, cleared up ; eagerly snatching 
at this refusal of Hampton as an excuse, he resolved to retreat, and 
calling in the advance, set out, the very next day, for French Mills, 
on Salmon River. This resolution was heard with grief and dismay 
by the younger officers. Thus failed an expedition, undertaken at 
the head of the best appointed army which had yet been sent out by 
the United States. No palliation, or but little, can be oiFered for the 
conduct of Wilkinson. It was not criminal, perhaps, but it was not 
heroic. A man of more ability, a Jackson, a Taylor, or a Scott, 
would have entered Montreal in triumph. Wilkinson was tried by 
a court-martial, and acquitted, of course, since neither treachery, nor 
any other glaring error could be proved upon him. But the popu- 
lar verdict was against him, and in questions of this kind the robust 
common sense of the people is generally right. 

We cannot close the narrative of this disgraceful campaign with- 
out alluding to the loss of Fort George and of Fort Niagara. The 
former was situated on British soil, and had been the only conquest 
remaining to us, when its Commander, Colonel Scott, eager to share 
in the expected glories of Wilkinson's expedition, left it in charge of 



General M'Clure of the New York militia. During the period of 
his absence, the British, twelve hundred strong, headed by General 
Drummond, advanced to the siege of the place. Alarmed at this 
imposing force, a council of war was called in the fort, and its aban- 
donment resolved upon, though the place was fully competent for a 

•**~ -*. 



defence. The post was accordingly dismantled. But, not content 
with dilapidating the fort, the retiring Americans set fire to the 
neighboring village of Newark, alleging that otherwise it might 
afford a shelter to the enemy during the approaching winter. By 
this inhuman act, four hundred women and children, deprived of 
their homes, were thrust out into the open air to endure all the hor- 
rors of a Canadian winter. Nor did the savage cruelty of the militia 
end here. Finding that the British sought shelter in the neighboring 
village of Queenstown, red hot shots were fired at that place, to 
deprive the enemy, of a refuge there. For these acts of Vandalism, 
a terrible and speedy retribution was taken by the British. Crossing 
the river at the head of five hundred men, Colonel Murray, of the 


English army, surprised and carried Fort Niagara, putting sixty- 
three of its garrison to death with the bayonet, before he would grant 
quarter. This bold act was followed up by the burning of the 
villages of Lewistown and Manchester, and subsequently by the 
sacking and conflagration of Black Rock and Buffalo. We do not 
pretend to defend either of these barbarities. The British, in the 
campaign of the preceding year, had acted so ruthlessly as to exas- 
perate the Americans ; and to this, in part, is the burning of New- 
ark and Queenstown to be attributed. But the Vandalism of one 
party should never excuse that of another. It ought to be the proud 
boast of Americans, that while they make war like heroes, they 
conduct themselves towards defenceless women and children, with 
the tenderest humanity. Such, indeed, had been their character up 
to this period. It is lamentable to consider that this fair fame was 
lost through the instrumentality of cowards, who, incompetent to 
defend their post, set an example of barbarity that was fearfully 
retaliated in the sack of Bulfalo, and subsequently in that of the 
capitol of the nation. 

Wilkinson, having arrived at French Mills, waited until his army 
was established in winter quarters, and then requested leave of 
absence, in order to recruit his health. He directed Hampton to be 
brought to a court-martial, and, in the spring, that General resigned. 
Wilkinson afterwards requested a court-martial on himself. This 
body met in 1815, and acquitted him of all blame. However, on 
the new organization of the army, after the peace, he was not 
retained on the establishment, an ominous hint as to the popular 
opinion of his conduct. He availed himself of the leisure thus afford- 
ed him, to give to the world, in 1S17, three large octavo volumes 
entitled " Memoirs of My Own Times." This work is not without 
value, but is marked by too much personal prejudice. 

Having become possessed of large estates in Mexico, Wilkinson 
removed to that country soon after leaving the army. He survived 
there until the 2Sth of December, 1825. His death occurred in the 
vicinity of the capitol, and he lies buried in the parish of St. Miguel. 


LTHOUGH Armstrong was not 
present in any battle during the 
war of 1812, yet, as Secretary 
of the War Department, and the 
813, fie merits 
an scarcely he 
or a very for- 
,\.tnnate leader. None of Ins projects were 
crowned with success. Though he removed 
his department from Washington to the northern frontier, in order 
to be nearer the srene of operations, he gained nothing from the 
step but the envy of his Generals. Neither in arram:imr the plan of 



i *^?.(rg f /V*r i projector of the campaign of 1 
ryf^Sjl i /|\ , \ a T'' ace m tn 's series. It ca 
1 / if^ | \ \fc said that he was a very aide, 


this campaign, nor in endeavoring to reconcile the jealousies of Wil- 
kinson and Hampton, did he exhibit any evidences of a superior in- 
tellect. In short, he was better at criticising others than at perform- 
ing great deeds himself. A caustic writer, a good hater, prejudiced, 
vindictive and vain, he presents the spectacle of a man, who, unable 
to rise to a first position himself, detracted from all others who aspired 
to it. 

Yet it would be improper to speak of Armstrong in a tone of un- 
qualified censure. He experienced many things to exasperate him, 
and to leave upon his mind the stinging impression of injustice and 
undeserved insult. The failure of the campaign of 1S13 was far 
from being entirely his fault. In fact the very errors which led to 
that failure, he had early warned the commanding Generals against ; 
and the removal of the department to the northern frontier was pro- 
jected in hopes to prevent, by* his presence, unnecessary delays. 
Moreover, he was not properly seconded in any of his plans by the 
President. Madison and Armstrong had not agreed from the first; 
and as the war progressed, the mutual distrust widened. None of the 
Generals whom the executive had most confidence in, and who were 
consequently appointed to the chief commands, were, in the Secre- 
tary's opinion, competent for their posts. It was Armstrong's favor- 
ite belief that victory would never attend our banner, until the old 
Generals were weeded out of the army, and new and more vigorous 
ones appointed in their place. The result certainly verified his views. 
His retirement from his oiiice was attended by circumstances which 
favored his assertion at the time, that he had been unjustly treated ; 
for, when the capture of the capitol covered him with undeserved 
odium, instead of endeavoring to shield him, the President hinted 
that it would be best for him to be absent for a while. The truth 
was that it was Madison and not Armstrong, who was the real cause 
of the capture of the capitol. The President insisted that Winder 
should command the troops, and Armstrong objected. But the will 
of the President prevailed, and the imbecility of Winder caused a 
defeat. In the end, the popular clamors demanded a victim, and 
Armstrong, though the least criminal of all, was disingenuously sa- 
crificed to public opinion. Indignant at this treatment lie threw up 
his oiiice. His own generation blamed him for the fault of another; 
but it is the duty of the annalist to reverse this decision. 

John Armstrong was the son of General John Armstrong, a dis- 
tinguished officer of the Revolution, and was born at Carlisle, Penn- 
sylvania, in the year 1758. At the age of eighteen, contrary to the 
wishes of his parents, he absconded from his studies and entered the 


army as a volunteer. He was present at the battle of Princeton in 
the capacity of Aid-de-camp to General Mercer ; and after the conflict 
assisted to bear the wounded and dying hero from the field. Subse- 
quently, he was invited by General Gates to become a member of his 
military family, and in this situation, with the rank of Major, he con- 
tinued until the close of the war. He was the author of the celebrated 
Newburgh addresses which raised such a ferment in the army in 
1782, and which Washington publicly denounced as improper, fac- 
tious, and dangerous to the country. They were written with great 
ability, and having something of justice as a foundation, were emi- 
nently calculated to exasperate the officers against Congress. It was 
with difficulty that even the Commander-in-chief could allay the 
storm. The writing of these letters was, in later life, a source of ob- 
loquy to Armstrong. Attempts have been made accordingly to de- 
fend his conduct. But though we can see some slight palliation, we 
cannot discover any legitimate excuse. The verdict of Washington 
in reference to these letters, pronounced many years subsequent to 
their publication, is, perhaps, the most impartial that can be given. 
This judgment exculpated Armstrong from intentional error, but 
censured the means lie employed. " I have since," wrote Washington, 
" had sufficient reason for believing that the object of the author was 
just, honorable and friendly to the country, though the means sug- 
gested were certainly liable to much misunderstanding and abuse." 
After the conclusion of peace, Armstrong was Secretary of the 
state of Pennsylvania, during Franklin's administration. He was 
subsequently a member of the old Congress. In 178f) he married a 
sister of Chancellor Livingston, of New York, and removed to the 
latter commonwealth to reside. In 1800 he was elected a Senator 
of the United States. In 1804 he was appointed, by Jefferson, Min- 
ister to the court of France. He continued to reside in Paris, dis- 
charging the duties of his mission, and acting also as ambassador to 
Spain, until 1810, when, at his own request, he was recalled, his 
health and his private affairs requiring his attention at home. On 
the declaration of war in 1S12 he was appointed a Brigadier ; but 
he had scarcely entered on his duties, when the resignation of Dr. 
Eustus as Secretary of War, opened his way to that high post. The 
President, it is understood, selected him with reluctance, but consi- 
dered the choice the best that could be made under the circumstances ; 
while Armstrong, on his part, accepted the post with misgivings,' for 
he found, almost on his first interview, that Madison and himself dif- 
fered as to the Generals to be employed. " The old commanders have 
lost all ambitious aspirations, 1 ' said the new Secretary, " while they 


have forgotten all they ever knew, and are ignorant of the later im- 
provements in military science.'' In the end, this difference of opin- 
ion, as we have already seen, led to the comparative alienation of 
the President and Secretary, and to the resignation of the latter in 

It was in February, 1813, that Armstrong assumed his new office. 
He immediately drew up a plan for the invasion of Canada, predica- 
ted on the capture of York, Kingston and other posts, and the obtain- 
ing command of the St. Lawrence, before the ice should leave 
that river, and recruits arrive from England. Had this scheme been 
executed with promptitude and vigor it is probable that Montreal 
would have fallen into our hands, and perhaps the whole province 
been triumphantly overrun. But Dearborn, then in command at the 
north, trilled with the precious moments, and the navigation was open- 
ed before anything could be elfected. At last, the expedition against 
York was undertaken, a gallant exploit, but an almost useless one, 
since it was beginning at the extremity, instead of striking at the 
heart. Annoyed at these delays, Armstrong insisted that Wilkinson 
should be sent to supersede Dearborn, and that the warotfice should 
be changed to the north in order that he might personally inspect 
and hasten operations. But the campaign, though begun again un- 
der these happier auspices, proved a total failure. Armstrong re- 
venged himself, however, by abusing both his subordinates, thus 
proving that, if he was not a great war minister, he had at least a 
caustic pen. He continued in office until August, 1814. 

Armstrong, after his retirement, amused himself with literary 
labors. He wrote a sharp review of Wilkinson's Memoirs ; numerous 
short biographical notices ; a treatise on gardening, and ano- 
ther on agriculture, both considered admirable ; and a work in two 
volumes, entitled, " Notices of the War of 1S12." The latter publi- 
cation is strongly tinged with the author's prejudices and acrimoni- 
ous feelings ; but displays a large share of military knowledge ; and 
is written in a very elfective style. Indeed, Armstrong is decidediy 
the best military author America has produced; and it is to be re- 
gretted that he did not live to finish a history of the Revolution, 
which he is understood to have begun. 

He retained his health in almost full vigor to the 84th year of his 
age. Towards the close of 1842 he began to waste away, and 
sinking into a rapid decline, died on the 1st of April, 1843. 




H E first gleam of suc- 
cess in the north-west was 
the heroic defence of Fort 
Sandusky, by Major Geo. 
Croghan. This affair oc- 
curred on the 2d of August, 
1S13, and exhilarated the 
public mind in proportion 
to its former depression. 
A more gallant act it has 

never been the province 
of the historian to record. C:o?han was born at Locust Grove, 
Kentuckv.on the 15th of November, 1791. He received the best 



education the grammar schools of his native state could afford ; and 
entered the college of William and Mary, in Virginia, in his seven- 
teenth year. In July, 1810, he graduated, and immediately began 
the study of the law. In the autumn of 1811, however, the dis- 
covery of an Indian confederacy under Tecumseh, became public, 
and a large portion of the more spirited of the young men oi Ken- 
tucky, resolved to oiler their services in this emergency to their 
country. Croghan was one of this number. He first entered as a 
private for the campaign up the Wabash, but soon attracting the 
notice of his superiors, was made Aid-de-camp to General Boyd, the 
second in command. This promotion was a short time preceding the 
battle of Tippecanoe. For his behaviour in that stoutly contested 
field, lie received the thanks of the commanding General, and was 
presented with the commission of a Captain in the provincial army, 
direeted to be raised in the spring of IS 12. 

In August of that year, Croghan accompanied the detachment 
under General Winchester, which marched from Kentucky to the 
relief of General Hull. As is well known, the premature surrender 
of Hull rendered the advance of these reinforcements unnecessary, 
Croghan continued with Winchester, until, in the succeeding winter, 
that General moved upon the Rapids, when our hero was left in 
command of the fort just erected at the juncture of the Miami and 
Au Glaize rivers. In consequence of this arrangement, he escaped 
being made a prisoner with the rest of his comrades at the Raisin. 
He now joined Harrison at the Rapids. This was previous to the 
erection of Fort Meigs. On the completion of that work, Croghan 
was one of those besieged in it, with the commanding General ; 
and Harrison frequently afterwards expressed the confidence he had 
reposed in his subordinate's judicious arrangements during that 
leaguer. On the occasion of the sortie of the 5th of May, Croghan 
commanded one of the companies under Colonel Miller, and, for his 
courageous deportment, was again noticed in general orders. In 
1813, Croghan was advanced to the rank of Major. The command 
of Fort Stephenson was now entrusted to him, and the consequence 
was that brilliant exploit which will enshrine his name to the latest 

A large body of Indian auxiliaries having assembled at Maiden, 
in the spring of 1813, Proctor, to give them employment, resolved 
to attack Fort Meigs, and subsequently Fort Stephenson, at Lower 
Sandusky. His design, in assaulting these places, was two-fold. 
By making a demonstration against Fort Meigs, he hoped to induce 
the commander, Colonel Clay, to leave his entrenchments, and meet 


himself and Tecumseh in the open field. This was his first object. 
His second was by seriously alarming Harrison, then at Lower San- 
dusky, for the safety of his out-posts and stores on the Miami, to 
induce that General to hasten to their defence, by which means the 
British leader thought the capture of Forts Stephenson, Cleveland, 
and Presque Isle, would be rendered comparatively easy, since no 
longer sustained by the army of the Commander-in-chief. Accord- 
ingly, these being the plans of his campaign, Proctor, on the 22d 
of May, advanced against Fort Meigs. But speedily discovering 
that his designs against that post promised little success, he raised 
the siege six days after, and dismissing a portion of his force to Mai- 
den, and sending another portion to watch Harrison, he hastened 
with the residue, twenty-two hundred, white and red, to assail 
Fort Stephenson. 

Meanwhile, Croghan, the commander of that place, was in a most 
perilous condition. Harrison, having determined to retreat, had 
sent word to him to abandon the fort, and repair to camp; but the 
young ollicer taking the order as a discretionary one, resolved to 
hold the position. The fort, however, presented few inducements 
to encourage resistance. Injudiciously placed, and badly construc- 
ted, neither finished nor furnished — stripped of a part even of its 
usual armament, and garrisoned by only one hundred and fifty 
men, it was scarcely worthy the name of a military work, and would 
have been considered untenable by four out of five ordinary otiicers. 
But the men who occupied that little post, as well as their heroic 
commander, were made of no common stuff. The disgrace of the 
preceding campaign had caused their cheeks to burn with shame, 
and they longed, one and all, for an opportunity to redeem the glory 
of their country, now suffering a sad eclipse. Accordingly, when 
notice was given of the approach of the enemy, there was but one 
opinion in the fort as to the course to be pursued. " We will repel 
the foe," was the cry, " or perish in the attempt." 

The instructions of Harrison had been that Croghan should 
abandon the fort on the approach of Proctor, provided a retreat 
should then be practicable. The disposition of the British force, 
however, rendered a retrograde movement dilficult, if not impossible. 
Proctor's first object had been to surround the place with a cordon 
of Indians. This movement showed that he considered the retreat 
of the garrison so certain, as to render some precautions necessary 
to secure his ground. Having thus, as he thought, provided against 
the only contingency by which hisenterprise could fail of complete suc- 
cess, Proctor despatched Captain Elliot, the half-breed, who had figured 
x* 15 


in the massacre at the Raisin, to summon the fort to surrender. The 
demand was seconded with a threat of indiscriminate slaughter in 
case of refusal. Croghan's answer was short and heroic : " Go back 
to your leader," he exclaimed, " and tell him that brave men do not 
surrender without blows. We will defend the fort to the last extre- 
mity." With these words, he turned on the messenger, and regaining 
his companions, prepared to make good his words by a desperate 

Yet, to have seen the scanty means at his disposal, would have 
made the heart of any man less brave, sink within him. The works 
were shamefully weak, and but a single cannon constituted the 
armament. These things, however, had all been known before, and 
duly considered by that little garrison. The resolution to defend the 
place had not been the Quixotic impulse of an hour, but the settled 
determination of days of calm deliberation. Croghan felt that it was 
better the whole garrison should be cut off, than that, by its retreat, 
hundreds of miles of frontier, with thousands of innocent inhabitants 
should be thrown open to the merciless savages. Moreover, he 
knew well the perfidy of Proctor. The very messenger the British 
General had sent had been ominous of massacre. The Americans, 
in consequence, resolved, like the heroic defenders of the Alamo in 
a similar emergency, to rely on their own stalwart arms and unerring 
aim, rather than on the word of a treacherous enemy, choosing to 
perish, if death must be their fate, in the noble ell'ort to defend their 
rlag, and not unresistingly under the scalping knife and tomahawk 
of the savage. A resolution worthy of freemen, and fortunately 
crowned with success ! 

Proctor, though fully expecting a surrender, had not, however, 
intermitted his preparations for a siege, and by the time his messen- 
ger returned with a defiance, had landed his artillery, and placed it 
so as to support his gun-boats. A fire was immediately opened on the 
fort. Soon the balls began to strike the works, knocking the 
splinters in every direction. The day, meanwhile, departed, but 
darkness was not allowed by the eager enemy to retard his opera- 
tions. All through that mid-sunimer night cannon shook the neigh- 
boring shores with their roar, and flung a lurid blaze across the 
sjloom. It was no time for slumber, consequently, in the American 
camp. Every man was at his post, or convenient to it ; every cartridge 
box was seen to be supplied ; every musket was examined, and the 
point of every blade tried, that they might be sure to do their work. 
Croghan passed and re-passed among his troops, in order to convince 
himself that nothing was omitted. Now and then, perhaps, as he or 


his soldiers looked out on the plain below, and beheld the thick 
masses of the enemy, revealed every few minutes by the flashes of 
the cannon, their thoughts might revert to the terrible chances against 
them on the morrow, and, in fancy, memory would return to the 
homes they had left, and the lovely faces that made those homes so 
dear, never, perhaps, to be seen again. But feelings like these were 
not suffered to unman them. On the contrary, at every such thought, 
the musket was grasped more tightly, and a silent vow taken to 
fight as if those distant ones were looking on. Occasionally, between 
the sound of the explosions, wild noises would come up from the 
flanks of the enemy, which the soldiers too well knew to be the 
shouts of the savages, as their braves boasted of the scalps they 
should take on the morrow ; and, once or twice, there were those 
who saw, or fancied they saw, the figures of painted Indians dancing, 
the scene blazing out an instant in the blue and ghastly light of the 
cannonade, like a vision of fiends at their orgies. 

Morning came slowly and wearily to the besiegers, but with 
wings of lightning to the besieged. As the grey dawn melted into 
the rosy hues of sunrise, many a brave man within that fort looked 
up for the last time, as he thought, to heaven, but still with no 
unmanly fear ; only with that sad feeling which the boldest will expe- 
rience when he sees himself about to be immolated. Such a feeling 
perhaps, crossed the heart of Leonidas, when he fastened on his 
buckler, and waited for the Persian thousands. Croghan was in the 
front of his men, calm in that hour of extreme peril. But it soon 
became evident that the enemy did not intend an immediate assault, 
for he had established a new battery, consisting of six pounders, 
within two hundred and fifty yards of the pickets. A respite was 
thus gained for the defenders. But it was a respite allowing no 
repose, and only a protraction of their suspense. The fire of this new 
battery soon began, and the air shook with concussions. The balls 
hurtled around the fort, or bounded from the ramparts. The 
surface of the ground in the line of fire, became covered with smoke, 
which, every few minutes, would rend asunder, and a ball come 
whistling along. Thus the morning passed. Xoon came, but the 
roar of the cannonade was undiminished. And even when the hot 
August sun began to decline in the west, the blaze of artillery still 
went on, and the suspense of the besieged continued. 

At last the fire of the British was seen to be concentrated on the 
north-west corner of the fort, and now Croghan no longer doubted as 
to the point where the attack was to be made. He accordingly 
hastened in person to the threatened spot. Every man that could be 



spared from other quarters, was put in requisition, and all the bags 
of flour and sand that could be found, were hurriedly collected, 
and arranged to strengthen the angle. The solitary cannon, the 
only hope of the defenders, was charged with grape-shot, and placed 
so as to enfilade the assailants. Then each soldier took his post. A 
profound silence succeeded within the fort. This lasted for perhaps, 
two minutes, at the end of which the enemy was seen advancing 
through the smoke, his troops formed in one compact column, and 
marching with the steady tread of assured victors. When Croghan 
gave the order to fire, such a rattling volley was poured in by the 
garrison, that the enemy reeled and fell into disorder. But, at this 
crisis, Lieutenant-colonel Short, who led the British in the assault, 
sprang to the head of his soldiers, and waving his sword, called to 
them to follow, bidding them with oaths, to remember that no 
quarter was to be given. A savage shout answered this address, 


and the ranks recovering their order, the head of the column rushed 
forward, and leaped down into the ditch, which was soon densely 

This was the moment for which Croghan had waited. Another 
minute, perhaps, would have given the fort to the foe ; hut that 
minute many of his best men were destined never to see. The 


single cannon of the garrison, placed so as to rake the assailants, 
now bore full on the masses of soldiery in the ditch, and the mask 
being suddenly removed, the whole fearful contents of the piece 
swept the solid ranks before it. There was a gush of flame, a stun- 
ning explosion, and the hissing sound of grape — then, as the white 
smoke floated back on the besiegers, the prospect was, for an instant, 
hidden. But when the veil of battle blew aside, a scene of horror 
was exhibited, such as those who witnessed it have described as 
one of the most awful on record. At first a lane, perceptible to 
every eye, and extending right through the densest portion of the 
assaulting mass, marked the path traversed by the shot, hut as the 
distance from the gun increased, and the grape scattered, this clearly 
defined line disappeared, and a prospect of the wildest confusion 
ensued. One third of those who had entered the ditch, lay there a 
shapeless, quivering mass. In many instances, the dead had fallen 
on the wounded, and as the latter struggled to extricate themselves, 
the scene resembled that depicted in old paintings of the Final 
Judgment, where fiends and men wrestle in horrible contortions. 
Groans, shrieks, and curses more terrible than all, rose from that 
Golgotha ! The few who retained life and strength, after the first 
second of amazement, rushed from the post of peril, leaped wildly 
upon the bank, and communicating their terror to the rest of the 
column, the whole took to flight, and buried itself in the neighboring 
woods. As this occurred, such a shout went up to heaven from the 
conquerors as never had been heard on that wild shore before. And 
well might the Americans exult — for it was against ten times their 
own number they had achieved a victory. 

In recompense for this gallant exploit, Croghan was elevated to 
the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His name was eulogized in Con- 
gress, and hailed with applause throughout the country as that of one, 
who united in himself the prudence of the veteran, and the courage of 
the hero. His military genius, indeed, had been proved by his uniform 
conduct, to be of a very high order. During his campaign under Win- 
chester, he became celebrated among his companions for the judi- 
cious selection he made of his ground wherever the army encamped, 
and for his throwing up some slight fortifications, even when the 
stay was to be but for a night. He was remarkable also for a manly 
and open character, for chivalrous sentiment, and for an intellect of 
more than ordinary force. In 1S35, Congress presented him a gold 
medal, in commemoration of his defence of Fort Stephenson. 

Croghan made an unsuccessful attempt after the battle of the 
Thames to recover the post of Mackinaw. On the conclusion of 



peace, he was retained in the army, but resigned in 1817. Soon aftei 
he was appointed Post-Master at New Orleans. In 1825, however, 
lie returned to the army, and accepted the post of Inspector-General, 
which he still worthily fills. He joined the army in Mexico on the 
inarch to Monterey, and was present at the assault of that place. 
During the crisis of one of the three days fighting, when a Ten- 
nessee regiment shook under a tremendous concentric fire, Croghan 
rushed to the front, and taking off his hat, the wind tossing his grey 
hairs; he shouted : " Men of Tennessee, your fathers conquered with 
Jackson at New Orleans — follow me !" The stirring words were 
received with a burst of cheers, and the troops re-animated, dashed 
on. In the list of brevets subsequently conferred for gallantry in 
this action, his name was, however, by some oversight, overlooked, 
and lie was unwillingly recalled soon after to the United States. 


ARRISON was one of the 

successful Generals of the las. 
war. It was under him that 
the first victories were gain- 
ed over the British in the 
> north-west ; and his name will go down 
;' to posterity indissolubly connected with 
;■' the battle of the Thames. He is even 
i ",-. more honorably remembered for his Tn- 
'"fc dian wars, however : and as the hero of 
s Tippecanoe has gained a fast hold on the 

public heart. Perhaps, critically spe 

iking, he was inferior, in militarv 


genius, to both Jackson and Brown. He wanted the terrible energy, 
the almost reckless boldness which characterized these two leaders. 
He belonged to a different school altogether. His was the policy of 
Fabius, rather than of Marcellus ; and this not from necessity, but 
from choice. The bent of his mind was to be prudent, economic of 
means, willing to listen to advice. 

William Henry Harrison was the son of Benjamin Harrison, one 
of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was born at 
Berkley, the residence, of his father, in the county of Charles City, 
Virginia, on the 9th of February, 1773. He received his education 
at Hampden Sydney College, in his native state. At the ago of se- 
venteen he graduated, and turned his attention to the study of medi- 
cine. His father dying, however, in the succeeding year, he aban- 
doned all thoughts of this profession, and solicited an Ensigncy in 
the United States army. In 1791, accordingly, he received a com- 
mission, and was immediately ordered to his regiment, then station- 
ed at Fort Washington, where the city of Cincinnati has since be n 
built. The war which raged with the western Indians gave the 
young soldier numerous opportunities to distinguish himself; and he 
was, on more than one occasion, mentioned in flattering terms by 
his superior officer. Promotion rapidly followed. In 1792 he was 
raised to the rank of Lieutenant. In 1794, on the victory of Wayne, 
lie became a Captain. Soon alter, peace having been concluded 
with the Indians, he was honored with the command of Fort Wash- 
ington. During the whole of this period he had resided, without 
intermission, in the west, and had now become so thoroughly identi- 
fied with its interests, that it needed but little temptation to induce 
him to make that his permanent home. 

Accordingly in 1797 he resigned his commission in the army, in 
order to be appointed Secretary of the north-western territory. The 
vast district, then known under this name, comprised what are now 
the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. In 1799, when 
the territory sent its first delegate to Congress, Harrison was chosen 
the representative. His career as a legislator was distinguished by 
practical sense and an untiring endeavor to benefit his constituents. 
Among other measures, he procured an alteration in the law provi- 
ding for the sale of public lands. Up to that period, the smallest 
portion of land which the government would dispose of to one indi- 
vidual was four thousand acres. This practice, though convenient 
for the government, was injurious to the west, and unjust to the peo- 
ple. It was, in fact, holding out inducements to the wealthy specu- 
lators, and virtually excluding the poorer classes, who composed 


the real settlers, from being purchasers. Harrison procured the pas- 
sage of an act which provided that the public lands should be sold 
in alternate sections and half sections, the former comprising six 
hundred and forty acres, and the latter three hundred and twenty 
acres each. This change proved highly beneficial. The settlers 
of comparatively humble means were no longer at the mercy of the 
land speculators, and as a consequence, emigration to the west tri- 
pled itself within a few years. 

When Indiana, in 1801, was erected into a distinct territorial go- 
vernment, Harrison was appointed its Governor, with extraordinary 
powers. His administration was so popular with the people, that, 
at their solicitation, he was re-appointed to this office, by both Jef- 
ferson and Madison, down to the year 1813. His knowledge of In- 
dian affairs rendered him, during all this period, prominent in every 
transaction with the savages. In 1S03, Jefferson had appointed him 
a " commissioner to enter into any treaties which might be necessary 
with any Indian tribes north-west of the Ohio, and within the terri- 
tory of the United States, on the subject of their boundaries or lands." 
In his capacity of commissioner, under this appointment, he executed 
no less than thirteen treaties with different tribes. By his sagacity 
and wisdom the western border was preserved, for many years, in a 
state of comparative security. As the impression of Wayne's vic- 
tory began to wear away, however, the Indians, always restless, 
thirsted to take up the hatchet. The instigation of England, whose 
emissaries increased with the probabilities of a war between her and 
the United States, assisted to fan the flame of discord. But peace 
might, perhaps, still have been preserved but for the exertions of Te- 
cumseh, an Indian chief, who had conceived the design of uniting 
all his race in one great league against the whites, and thus endea- 
voring to recover the lands and hunting grounds of his ancestors. 

Had Tecumseh been a Roman, and successful in his design, his 
name would have been immortalized by this gigantic plan. He knew 
by the traditions of his people, that scarcely three centuries had 
passed since the white man first landed in America ; and patriarchs 
were still living among his tribe, who could recollect when the Alle- 
ghanies formed the boundary to civilization. He himself had seen 
how, year by year, the great tide of population rolled westward, 
obliterating forest, village and wigwam, like the sea gaining steadily 
upon the shore. Where once the smoke of the council-fire curled 
up amid the boundless wilderness ; where once the hunter roamed 
fearless, knowing that, far as he went, the land was all his own ; 
where once the Indian girl sang her love-song, the Indian wife 



plaited her mat, or the Indian children gambolled before the cabin- 
door, now rose the tall chimney of the furnace, now surged along the 
dense population of cities, now was heard the clatter of the mill-wheel, 
the roar of manufactories, and all the other noisy accompaniments 
of civilized life. Each year the Indian saw his territory decrease, and 
his white neighbor crowd him further towards the setting sun. Is it 
to be wondered at that Tecumseh regarded the Americans as his 
natural enemies, that he vowed against them eternal hostility, and 
that he sought to unite all the red tribes in one immense league 
against these natural foes of his race ? Yet even he must, at times, 
when revolving his stupendous plans, have felt how impotent would 
be resistance against what seemed to be the inevitable decree of Pro- 

Tecumseh was assisted in his enterprise by his brother, who was 
known by the name of" the Prophet." Together these two labored 
to excite the savages against the United States. Their designs at 
last began to attract the attention of government. Murders and other 
outrages became of frequent occurrence. Some great movement 
against the whites was obviously in preparation. Determined to 
take the initiative, the United States assembled a force of regulars 
and militia in 1811, and placing it under the command of Harrison, 
directed him to march against the Prophet's town of Tippecanoe, and 
denumd the restoration of such property as had been carried oft* by the 
Indians. If his request was refused, he was to proceed and enforce 
the claim. Accordingly, Harrison, losing no time in delay, arrived 
before the town on the Gth of November. Here he was mel by mes- 
sengers from the Prophet, deprecating hostilities and promising that 
all differences should be adjusted on the morrow. Relying in part 
on this stipulation, yet alive to the treachery of the Indian character, 
Harrison was perplexed what to do, since to seem to doubt the foe 
might produce the very danger he wished to avoid, while to trust 
implicitly to him might insure destruction. He resolved, finally, to 
encamp for the night on an elevated piece of dry oak land, situated 
between two prairies, a position affording the best means of defence 
in the vicinity. 

His mistrust of the enemy was so great, however, that he encamp- 
ed his men in order of battle, and directed them to rest on their arms ; 
hence, if attacked in the night, they would he ready instantaneously 
for the contest. The line was formed also with great skill. The front 
and rear were composed of infantry, separated on the right about 
ninety yards, and on the left about twice that distance. The front 
line contained a battalion of the fourth .regiment of regulars, com- 


manded by Major Floyd; the rear line was formed of another bat- 
talion of the fourth, under Captain Baer. On the rear of the left 
flank was posted a company of sixty dragoons ; and in the rear of 
the front line another more numerous. The left flank was defended 
by about one hundred and fifty mounted riflemen, under General 
Wells, of Kentucky ; and the right flank by Spencer's company of 
mounted riflemen, in numbers about eighty. Two companies of 
militia flanked the right of Major Floyd, and on his left Captain 
Baer's line was flanked by four companies of militia under Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Decker. Thus judiciously posted, the little army lay 
down to slumber. 

Before daybreak, however, on the morning of the 7th of Novem- 
ber, the soldiers were startled by the sound of the war-whoop close 
to the lines. Instantly every man sprang to his arms. Louder and 
nearer rose the yells of the Indians, followed by the rapid dropping 
of shots ; and speedily the pickets, driven before overwhelming 
numbers, came pouring into the camp. Never were the high quali- 
ties of the American soldier more gloriously displayed than in tins 
emergency. Though surprised, and scarcely yet awake, each man 
knew at once what to do. The first weight of the assault fell on Cap- 
tain Barton's regulars and the mounted riflemen of Captain Geiger, 
and with such impetuosity did it burst, that a few savages actually 
cut through the ranks and penetrated into the camp. But this spec- 
tacle, instead of creating a panic, only roused the soldiers to the most 
desperate exertions. Reinforcements were hurried to the front. 
The Indians in the camp paid for their temerity with their lives. But 
suddenly, while the attention of the General was thus occupied, a tre- 
mendous fire was opened in another quarter, to the left ot' the front, 
on the companies of Baer, Prescott and Snelling. At the same time 
the savages appeared in great force among some trees a few yards in 
advance of the front. The flashes of their guns followed each other 
in rapid succession, and soldier after soldier fell beneath their uner- 
ring aim. Vet not a man flinched. The regulars died where they stood ; 
the mounted men were decimated unmoved •, and the volunteers, 
regardless of their fast thinning ranks, still bravely faced the foe. 

In this emergency, Major Davies, who had been posted in the 
rear of the front line, was ordered to charge the enemy with his 
cavalry. Calling to his men to follow, he dashed gallantly forward, 
but almost immediately received a mortal wound ; while his troops, 
unable to withstand the close and well directed fire of the savages, 
fell back in disorder. The yells of the Indians now redoubled, and 
in this part of the field rose triumphant over the rattling of the inns- 


ketry. Captain Snellingwas next ordered to charge with the bayo- 
net. The command was received with a cheer, the long line of 
glistening steel was levelled, and the little phalanx of regulars was 
launched like a thunderbolt on the foe. The Indians gave way in 
affright But this success crowned only one portion of the field. On 
all the others the savages still maintained their positions, and conti- 
nued to pour in heavy and destructive discharges. The light was 
still too faint to detect the situations held by the Indians, except when 
the Hashes of the guns lit up their dark forms in the back-ground, or 
a sudden burst of yells betrayed them in some near locality. The 
whole camp, however, was occasionally girdled with fire. Spencer's 
mounted riflemen and the right of Warrick's company appeared to 
be especial marks for the foe. The slaughter among these brave 
men was awful. Captain Spencer was killed, as was also his first 
and second Lieutenant ; Captain Warrick fell, mortally wounded ; 
and the men dropped from their ranks continually. The Americans 
could do nothing until morning broke, except maintain their 
posts, and keep up an intermitting round of vollies. This they did 
elfectually. One rolling discharge after another shook the solid 
ground and hurled its missiles of death against the foe, until the 
smoke of the pieces grew so thick, that it increased the darkness 
and thus prolonged the danger. 

At last the dawn broke, and soon, in the increasing light, the po- 
sition of the foe became distinctly defined. The exact locality of the 
savages on the left was now reconnoitred for the purpose of a charge ; 
and Major Wells, in the most brilliant manner, leading his men 
down the slope, broke the line of the enemy. The Indians were 
no sooner perceived to be retreating, than a detachment of cavalry 
was hurled among them. Their consternation on this became gene- 
ral. Driven furiously by the horsemen, who cut them down almost 
unresistingly, and as fast as the sabre could be plied, they rushed 
wildly forwards, crowding and treading on each other in their ter- 
ror, until they finally plunged themselves into a marsh where the 
cavalry could not follow. The victory in this quarter was complete. 
Simultaneously the companies of Captain Cook and Lieutenant La- 
rabie were ordered to advance against the savages on the right, sus- 
tained by the mounted ritlemen. The movement was executed witli 
great gallantry. The Indians broke and fled. Our troops pursued, 
throwing in the bayonet, wherever it was possible, the cheers that 
rose from every part of the field, stimulating them with assurances 
of a complete victory. The enemy was now flying, indeed, in all 
directions. Harrison had gained a decisive triumph. 


In the battle of Tippecanoe the inherent courage, combined with 
the intelligence of the American soldier, was strikingly exem- 
plified. Rarely has any body of troops been attacked under circum- 
stances more discouraging to the assailed. The numbers and posi- 
tion of the foe were unknown ; the darkness prevented aggressive 
measures ; and nothing remained but to stand firm until dawn, a 
mark for the concentric fire of the enemy. The scattered nature of 
the Indian forces magnified their strength, lessened the mortality of 
our fire, and assisted to dishearten the soldiers. During the greater 
portion of the battle there was no opportunity for the exercise of 
generalship, or of any quality in either officers or men, except pas- 
sive courage. Yet nobly did the American soldier vindicate his 
blood. When morning dawned at last, and the positions of the 
savages could be made out, how readily, and with what splendid 
courage he came to the assault ! The loss of the Indians was exces- 
sive, considering the caution with which they hazard life ; it was 
one hundred and fifty. That of the Americans, in killed and wounded, 
was one hundred and eighty-eight. 

The victory was immediately followed up by vigorous measures 
against the offending tribe. On the 9th, two days after the battle, 
Harrison burned the Prophet's town. He next proceeded to lay- 
waste the contiguous districts. The Indians, struck dumb with 
astonishment at their unexpected defeat, and finding themselves pow- 
erless to resist their foe, now sued for submission. Perhaps if Tecum- 
seh had been present, the contest would have been more protracted; 
but that indomitable chieftain was in the south, engaged in stirring 
up the Creeks to war. Having completed all the purposes of the 
campaign, Harrison now set out on his return. Everywhere, lis he 
traversed the inhabited country, he was received with enthusiasm. 
The people hailed him as the preserver of beauty from the toma- 
hawk of the savage ; as the defender of civilization against barbarian 
inroads ; as the hero whose sword carried victory upon its point. No 
man, in the whole west, was more popular. 

Accordingly when, in the succeeding year, the capture of Hull 
aroused the nation to the necessity of a more active prosecution of 
the war, the public voice at once fixed on Harrison as the only man 
capable of leading the army to success and glory in the north-west. 
When thenews of the fall of Detroit reached Kentucky, Harrison 
was on a visit to that state, and was almost immediately invested, 
by the Governor, with the rank of Major-General. This was done 
although Harrison was not a citizen of Kentucky, in order that he 
might rank Winchester, a Brigadier. Some dilliculty, in consequence 



of this irregularity, ensued between the two Generals in reference to 
which should hold supreme command ; but it was terminated by 
the President, who assigned it to Harrison, and made Winchester 
second in authority. Before this, however, and immediately on 
receiving his appointment from the Governor of Kentucky, Harrison 
had marched to relieve the frontier posts, at the head of a body of 
militia, hastily collected. He left Cincinnati on the 29th of August, 
1812, and on the 3rd of September arrived at Piqua. His force now 
amounted to about twenty-five hundred men. Believing that an 
autumnal campaign held out prospects of success, he lost no more 
time at this place than was absolutely necessary to complete his 
arrangements and receive his military stores. 

On the Gth he marched for Fort Wayne, situated at the head of 
the Miami of the Lake, a river formed by the confluence of the St. 
Mary and St. Joseph. This post had been invested, for some 
time, by Indians, but, at the approach of the Americans, they tied in 
haste. On the 12th, Harrison arrived at Fort Wayne, and was fol- 
lowed, on the 19th, by Winchester, with reinforcements. The ditfi- 
culty with respect to the rank of the two Generals not having been 
yet adjusted, Harrison yielded the command to Winchester, and 
started for his own government, at the head of a body of mounted 
men, intending to operate against the Indian settlements in that quar- 
ter. He had proceeded, however, but a short distance, when an 
express from Washington overtook him, with a notification that the 
disputed point had been decided in his favor. He accordingly 
returned to Fort Wayne, but found that Winchester had set out for 
Fort Defiance, the preceding day. This latter General arrived at 
Fort Defiance on the 30th, after a toilsome march. Here, on the 
3rd of October, Harrison overtook him ; but left on the 4th, to bring 
up the centre and right wing. He first, however, despatched Gene- 
ral Tupper, with a thousand men, on an expedition against the 
Rapids. Owing to the defection of the Ohio militia, as well as to a 
disagreement between Tupper and Winchester, the enterprise was 
never carried into effect. The autumn was consumed in a series of 
petty attempts upon the foe ; but no great movement was under- 
taken ; lor the dearth of supplies frustrated any attempts of mag- 
nitude. Michigan did not atlbrd even forage for the horses. " To 
get supplies forward," wrote Harrison to the department at Wash- 
ington, " through a swampy wilderness of near two hundred miles, 
in wagons or on pack horses, which are also to carry their own pro- 
visions, is absolutely impossible." In consequence of this ditficulty 
an autumnal campaign was abandoned. 


But Harrison was still sanguine that, in the winter, he should be 
able to strike a successful blow at Maiden. His plan of operations did 
not vary much from that projected for the autumn : it was to occupy 
the Rapids of the Miami, and having collected a sufficient quantity 
of provisions there, to advance towards Detroit, make a feint against 
that place, and then suddenly passing the strait upon the ice, invest 
Maiden. His whole effective force was about six thousand three 
hundred men, divided into three detachments, one at Fort Defiance, 
another at Fort M' Arthur, and a third at Upper Sandusky. The 
different divisions were to concentrate at the Rapids. Winche>t<r, 
who commanded at Fort Defiance, was the first to arrive at the ren- 
dezvous. Here he began to form a fortified camp. Having been 
induced to send forward a portion of his furce to Frcnchtown, in 
order to protect the inhabitants of that place from the savages, a 
victory was the consequence, which so elated the troops left behind, 
that they insisted on marching to share the glory of their comrades. 
Accordingly, Winchester, at the head of the remainder of his detach- 
ment, advanced also to the river Raisin, where the united forces sus- 
tained that terrible defeat, followed by a massacre, which we have 
narrated in its proper place. 

Harrison had arrived at Lower Sandusky on his way to the place 
of rendezvous, when he heard of the party sent forward to French- 
town by Winchester. The intelligence paralyzed the older officers 
of the army. Alarmed for the consequences, Harrison hastened his 
march, and reaching the Rapids, discovered that Winchester, deceived 
by the delusive victory, had pushed on in person to the Raisin. The 
force under Harrison's immediate command did not amount to quite 
seven hundred men, yet he decided at once to follow his subordi- 
nate, hoping to overtake him before it would be too late. He had left 
the Rapids but three miles behind him, however, when he heard of 
the disastrous defeat of Winchester. A hurried consultation now 
took place, when a retreat towards Sandusky was decided on. This 
decision was hasty. To have advanced against fifteen hundred victo- 
rious troops, with a force less than twice that number would, indeed, 
have been madness ; but it did not follow that a post, already par- 
tially fortified, should be dismantled, its provisions destroyed, and 
the garrison withdrawn. Such, however, was the decision of the 
council. The unnecessary haste of this measure was atoned for par- 
tially in the ensuing month, when Harrison advanced again to the 
R ipids, and began to fortify the post anew, under the name of Fort 
Meigs. Meantime, however, he had retired to Carrying River, about 
midway between this place and Sandusky. With this retreat, Har- 


rison's winter campaign terminated. It had been even less success- 
ful than the autumnal one. 

The ensuing spring opened with more eclat, Proctor, at the head 
of a combined force of regulars and savages, twenty-two hundred 
strong, advanced against Fort Meigs about the middle of April, 
hoping to capture it before the arrival of Harrison's reinforcements 
and supplies ; for in consequence of the term of service of a large por- 
tion of the troops having expired, the American army was com- 
paratively weak, and anxiously awaited the appearance of General 
Clay, from Cincinnati, with the new levies, amounting to twelve 
hundred men. Incessant rains prevented Proctor from opening his 
batteries before the first of May. The garrison, however, though 
little over a thousand, was not intimidated. The fort was strong 
and well supplied with cannon ; and the men relied even enthusias- 
tically upon their leader. Moreover, the time had been judiciously 
employed in throwing up a grand traverse, twelve feet high and 
three hundred yards long, which effectually covered the besieged. 
On the 5th of May, a small party sent forward by General Clay, 
arrived. Harrison now conceived the plan of making a sortie against 
the enemy, to be sustained by General Clay's detachment. The 
attack of General Clay was, at first, made with spirit, but finally 
failed, principally because of the imprudence and insubordination of 
the troops. The sortie from the fort, under Colonel Miller, was 
more successful, though, in consequence of General Clay's repulse, 
it was rendered abortive in the end. It is disgraceful to record that 
the cruelties visited on their prisoners by the savages, and this too 
in presence of the British officers, was such as to make humanity 
revolt at recording thorn. Proctor, notwithstanding his partial suc- 
cess in this engagement, soon found that he neither could make any 
impression on the works of the batteries, nor hope to carry the place 
by storm ; accordingly, on the 9th of May, four days after the battle, 
he raised the siege and began a precipitate retreat, carrying olf with 
him his artillery. The Americans did not, however, molest him. 
The garrison lost about two hundred and sixty in killed and wounded 
during the siege, principally in the alfiiir of the 5th. The repulse of 
Proctor from Fort Meigs obliterated, in a measure, the misfortunes 
of the preceding winter and autumn, and the name of Harrison was 
once more regarded, especially in the west, as a sure presage of tri- 

And, injustice to Harrison, it must be said that the failure of the 
autumnal and winter campaigns cannot wholly be attributed to him. 
Though not a bold man, he was suificiently brave, and would have 


succeeded if prudence had not forbidden him to risk too much. He 
has been charged with excess of caution ; but it was better to err on 
this side than on that of rashness. His troops, moreover, were undis- 
ciplined, and scarcely fit to cope with British regulars. But the great 
defect of both campaigns was the attempt to reduce Canada without 
first obtaining the command of Lake Erie. As we have seen, the 
supplies of the army had to be carried a distance of two hundred 
miles, principally on pack-horses, and consequently at an enormous 
expense. The drivers of these pack-horses were generally of the 
most worthless description, who, by their carelessness, broke down 
their animals and destroyed the goods. Wagons were so diiiicult to 
obtain, that when use', the teams were valued at an excessive price, 
which operated as a bounty to induce the owners to drive them to 
debility or death, in order to get the price. No bills of lading were 
used, nor accounts kept with the wagoners, and of course the plun- 
der of the public goods went on without restraint. The immense 
sums thus squandered in supplying the army almost surpasses belief. 
" From my knowledge of the cost of transportation," wrote Harri- 
son to the Secretary of War, in December, 1812, " I do believe that 
the expense that will be incurred in the course of six weeks in the 
spring, in moving the provisions of the army along the roads leading 
from the Rapids to Detroit, would build and equip all the vessels 
necessary to give us the command of the lake." Hence, Harrison 
urged on the government the construction of a fleet on Lake Erie. 
His advice was finally adopted, and suitable vessels built in the sum- 
mer of 1813. The victory of Perry over the English squadron, on 
the 10th of September in that year, followed, and laid open, at once, 
the whole of that portion of Canada to invasion. 

Harrison lost no time in availing himself of the fruits of this naval 
triumph. He immediately embarked his army, and on the 27th of 
September, landed on the enemy's shores. Meantime consternation 
had seized Proctor. Abandoning Maiden, notwithstanding the 
reproaches of Tecumsch, the British General began an ignominious 
(light. Harrison, now reinforced by Colonel R. M. Johnson, at the 
head of one thousand mounted Kentucky men, pressed forward in 
pursuit; and, on the 5th of October, overtook the fugitives on the 
banks of the Thames, and gained a decisive triumph. The victory 
was won chiefly by the regiment of Johnson, who pressed forward 
with such impetuosity that the terrified enemy threw down his arms 
before the American infantry could get into action. H y- this glorious 
event, the direct result of Harrison's foresight and skill, all the terri- 
tory .surrendered by Hull was recovered ; a vast quantity of small 



arms and stores was captured ; and what was, perhaps, of even more 
importance, the disgrace of that event was wiped from our arms, and 
the Indian confederacy under Tecumseh broken forever. Among 
the trophies were three pieces of artillery which had been taken 




from the British at Saratoga, and had subsequently reverted to their 
original possessors by the surrender of Hull. 

Harrison, having taken possession of Detroit, and rinding himself 
without orders from the war department, resolved to proceed in the 
licet to Buffalo. Here he arrived on the 24th of October, and from 
this place marched to Newark, where he received orders to send 
McArthur's brigade to Sackett's Harbor, accompanied by an intima- 
tion that lie had leave to return to his family. Harrison received 
this declaration as a hint to retire from his command. He obeyed 
the order, however, but soon after sent in his resignation. Ann- 
strong, then Secretary of War, from whom the order proceeded, has 
charged Harrison with imbecility in his command, asserting -hat his 
successes were the result of good fortune and not of plans well con- 
ceived. After the narrative we have given of Harrison's military 
career, it is impossible to coincide in opinion with the vindictive 
Secretary. Harrison was not a Wayne nor a Jackson ; he belonged, 
as we have said, to a less dashing school ; but he was an infinitely 
hotter oilieer than Armstrong, or than most of his cotemporaries. 
After Brown, Jackson and Scott, he ranks pre-eminent. 

The remainder of Harrison's career was chictly political, and we 


shall, therefore, dismiss it with a rapid summary. In IS 14 he was 
appointed with General Cass and Governor Shelby, to treat with the 
north-western Indians; aid in 1S15 to treat with numerous other 
tribes. In 1817 he was elected a representative to Congress from 
Ohio, having, at the close of the war, purchased a seat at North 
Bend, below Cincinnati. During his term lie demanded an investi- 
gation of certain reports to hisdisadvantage,in relation to the manage- 
ment of the commissariat department in the army under his control. 
A committee being appointed, his character was fully vindicated by 
their report. He voted, during this session, to censure General 
Jackson for having seized the Spanish posts in Florida. Having been 
elected a member of the Ohio Senate in 1819, he now transferred 
his counsels to that body. In 1S-24 he was chosen a United States 
Senator from Ohio. His career in that body was marked by his 
endeavors to procure the passage of a just and proper pension law, 
for the benefit of those who had shed their blood in the battles of 
their country. In 1S28, Harrison was appointed Minister to the 
republic of Columbia, but was recalled by Jackson, on the elevation 
of the latter to the Presidency in 1829. He now retired to private 
life. His farm and his books employed his time; and bistable was 
ever ready for the calls of hospitality. He ultimately found, how- 
ever, that his income was not adequate to the support of his family; 
and accordingly, in 1S3 1, accepted the ollice of Prothonotary of the 
court of Hamilton county, Ohio. 

In this ollice he continued until his election to the Presidency in 
1810. He was first made a candidate for that high ollice in 183f>, 
but defeated, the successful candidate, Mr. Van Burcn, receiving 
one hundred and seventy of the electoral votes, while Harrison 
obtained but seventy. At the next trial, however, in 18 10, he was 
chosen President by a larger majority of votes in the electoral col- 
lege than has ever yet been bestowed on any man ; for he received 
two hundred and thirty-four votes out of the whole number of two 
hundred and ninety-four. He was inaugurated on the 1th of March, 
1841. One month later, to a day, he breathed his last, after a short 
but severe illness, being the first President to die in that office. His 
decease was caused principally by the excitement of his new posi- 
tion, and the manner in which he was harassed, day and night, by 
applicants for ollice. Popular in manners, and too easy of access, his 
frame worn down by exposure and years, gave way beneath the 
exactions to which he was subjected. He died thinking of his coun- 
try. u The constitution — the constitution," were the words that were 



continually on his lips. The demonstrations of grief at his decease 
were universal ; party rancor was forgotten for awhile ; and the 
nation, as one man, united to deplore its loss. 



/J I 


pj HE state of Kentucky, so fertile in 
great men, had the honor of giving 
I irth to Colonel Richard M. Johnson. 
The early life of this distinguished 
warrior was passed in the midst of 
Indian alarms. While still an infant 
he was sent with his mother to take 
refuge in a frontier fort, against an iu- 
; road of the savages, his father being 
absent in Virginia. The fort was 
successfully defended by thirty men 
against five hundred Indians. Similar perils inured the young Keu- 
tnckian to daneer; while his active life hardened his frame. 

His rdncation was simple, as in all new countries. A common 




school at first, and subsequently a grammar school prepared him for 
the study of the law. At nineteen he began to practice this profes- 
sion. At twenty-two he was elected to the legislature of his native 
state. Little more than two years later, he was sent to Congress, as 
a member of the House of Representatives, having just attained the 
age required by the Constitution. Here he was called on to vote 
for a war against England, which he did promptly, and immediately 
afterwards prepared to sustain his opinion in the field. 

When, after the successful defence of Fort Stephenson, Governor 
Snelby, with four thousand men, marched to the assistance of Har- 
rison, Colonel Johnson commanded a regiment of mounted Ken- 
tuckians. The force of Shelby arrived at head-quarters on the 17th 
of September, 1S13, a few days after Perry's victory. The men 
were all" in the highest spirits. The despondency of the preceding 
year had passed away, and nothing was expressed but the most 
confident belief in victory. Johnson's mounted regiment comprised 
the whole cavalry of the Kentuckians ; the rest of the force, owing to 
imperative circumstances, acting as infantry. It was partly in con- 
sequence of this that his command played so prominent a part in 
the approaching campaign. 

The victory of Perry had opened a new road for the invasion of 
Canada, and one that ought to have been conquered a year before. 
Instead of having to march through a wilderness, the Americans 
had now only to embark on the lake, and be wafted by favorable 
breezes, in a few hours, to their destination. Accordingly, on the 
2 Tlh of September, seventeen days after Perry's victory, the Ameri- 
cans with the exception of Johnson's regiment, which was to proceed 
by land to Detroit, were embarked under convoy of the fleet, and 
before night reached the Canadian shore. The landing was etfected 
without resistance, no enemy appearing in sight. Harrison pushed 
rapidly forward to Ahmetsburg, where his troops bivouacked for 
the night. This was the place where, on the preceding winter, the 
prisoners captured at the Raisin had been huddled into a pen, and 
where with tears of rage and despair, they first heard of the inhuman 
massacre of their brothers, relatives and friends who had been left 
wounded on the field of battle. As the recollection of this crowded 
on the Americans, many a bitter vow of revenge was taken. In 
sad memories like these the night was passed. 

But in the morning it became known that Proctor, after dismant- 
ling Maiden, and burning the barracks and navy-yard, and stripping 
the surrounding country of horses and cattle, had begun a precipitate 
retreat, early on the 26th. In fact, the British General had suddenly 


become a prey to terror. Like all who are brutal, he was a coward 
in heart, and shook at the shadow of disaster. His spies had mag- 
nified the number of the Americans to fifteen thousand, and declared 
them to be made up chiefly of Kentuckians sworn to avenge the mur- 
ders at the Raisin. The fear of falling into the hands of his enemies 
completely unnerved him ; and he resolved by a speedy retreat to 
save his pitiful life. . In vain his officers pointed out to him that 
there was still a chance of defending his post. In vain it was re- 
presented that the larger portion of his Indian allies would abandon 
him on the first symptoms of a rctrogade movement. In vain the 
heroic Tecumsch, who was above deserting even a coward in ex- 
tremity, strove, by bitter taunts, to arrest his purpose. " Father," 
said the bold chief, ''listen to your red children. They are standing 
all around, ready to fight and die for you. Do not forsake, do not 
alarm them. In the old war your fathers deserted ours. Will you 
do it again? You invited, encouraged, supplied us with arms, to 
war on the Americans ! Ever since you desired it, we have fought 
at your side ; and when did we turn our backs on the foe? Listen 
to us now, father. The ships went out to fight on the lake — you 
made them go out. Where are they ? We do not know what 
happened : we heard the great guns. They sounded loud and far, 
and since we have seen you tying up bundles to carry away. You 
told us always you would never run away : that the English never 
do. Will you now run before you have even seen the enemy ?" 
But nothing could allay the panic, or alter the resolution of Proctor. 
He fled, and with such precipitancy, that he did not even stop to 
destroy the bridges behind him. 

When Harrison arrived at Maiden, accordingly, he found that 
place only a smouldering ruin. The embers of the conflagration 
were still smoking; and the neighboring country looked as if just 
lavaged by an invader. The barns were empty, the farms were 
plundered of their stock, and the few miserable inhabitants remain- 
ing bore the sad aspect of famine. At first, Harrison despaired of 
overtaking the fugitives ; and on the 27th he wrote in that strain to 
the Secretary of War. "I will pursue the enemy to-morrow,"' wsre 
his words, " but there is no possibility of overtaking him, as he has 
upwards of one thousand horses, and we have not one." But, 
pushing forward to Sandwich, he there met to his inexpressible 
satisfaction, Johnson's mounted regiment of Kentuckians, winding 
along the other bank of the Detroit. During the march of this force 
a circumstance had occurred which greatly inflamed them against 
the enemy. Their way had led them by the scene of the massacre 


at the Raisin, where they found the bones of the victims which had 
been piously interred in the preceding June, brutally exposed. The 
Kentuckians paused to consign them once more to the earth. While 
engaged in this sad duty, an express from Harrison reached them, 
urging them to hasten forward. The scene they had just witnessed 
inilamed the Kentuckians to madness. They were more eager than 
ever to overtake the enemy ; and pressing rapidly forward, joined 
Harrison, as we have seen. 

The combined forces now marched in pursuit of Proctor. Never, 
perhaps, had a greater number of gallant men, who were not pro- 
fessional soldiers, left their homes and peaceful associations to avenge 
the blood of their slaughtered relatives. There was Crittenden, and 
Harry, and Wickliffe, names since conspicuous among the highest in 
the councils of the nation. There was Perry, with the wreath of 
victory still green on his brow : Clay, whose services and bravery in 
the preceding campaign had won him merited renown : Cass, already 
celebrated for that courage and ability, which still, after nearly forty 
years, survive for the benefit of his country. There, too, was 
Governor Shelby, one of the heroes of the Revolution, who had 
fought at King's Mountain, and who now came, with a head silvered 
by age, to fight in a new and scarcely less holy cause. One common 
sentiment pervaded every bosom. To overtake the enemy, to avenge 
the blood shed at Raisin, was the sole thought of those gallant Ken- 
tuckians ! The pursuit was pushed with the greatest vigor. At 
every step new proofs of Proctor's panic met the eye. Here were 
stores abandoned in bulk, there arms scattered along the highway : 
here despatches left to their fate, there ammunition itself cast away. 
The road grew rougher as the army advanced; there were morasses 
to be threaded and rivers to be crossed ; but unintimidated by an^ 
obstacle, the Americans pushed resolutely forward, still thirsty for 
vengeance. For three days the pursuit continued. At last, on the 
morning of the 5th of October, the army of Harrison came up with 
Proctor, and immediately preparations for a battle began. 

The victory that followed was won chiefly by the regiment of 
mounted Kentuckians, under Johnson, though to Harrison is due 
the credit, in the capacity of leader, of directing their mode of 
attack. On approaching the enemy, he was found arrayed on a 
narrow strip of dry land, having the river Thames on his left, and a 
swamp upon his right. The savages, of whom there were about 
twelve hundred, under Tecumseh, occupied the extreme right on the 
eastern margin of the swamp. The infantry, eight hundred in 
number, were posted between the river and swamp, the men drawn 


up, not close together, but at some distance apart, in open order as 
it is called. Harrison had already made arrangements for attacking 
with his infantry, but perceiving this position of the British regulars 
to be favorable for a charge, he sent for Johnson, and asked him 
if he would undertake it. " I have accustomed my men to it from 
the first," was the reply. "Then charge !" said Harrison. Instantly 
galloping to the head of his regiment, Johnson informed the men 
of the duty before them, and the whole vast squadron, more than a 
thousand strong, went thundering over the solid plain. In the 
whole range of modern warfare, perhaps, there is no charge which 
can be compared to this for reckless and romantic courage, for the 
men were armed only with guns, hatchets, and knives, and had no 
sabres, that most necessary of all weapons in a melee. As they 
swept down towards the foe, leaving the infantry of the army half 
a mile behind, Johnson perceived that the ground on which the 
regulars were drawn up, was too confined for the manoeuvres of 
his whole regiment, and determined to divide his force, leaving to 
one half the attack on the British infantry, while with the other he 
resolved to go and seek the Indians under Tecumseh. In taking 
this bold resolution, in the absence of his commanding officer, he 
assumed the whole responsibility of victory or defeat. Accordingly, 
dividing his force, he consigned to Lieutenant-Colonel James John- 
son, his brother, and second in command, the task of charging the 
regulars, while he himself turned off towards the swamp, to assail 
an enemy even more formidable. 

The detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel James Johnson, 
advanced at a rapid pace, and was soon close upon the foe, who, 
at once, opened a heavy fire. The men came onward, in four columns 
of double files, and at this volley the heads of the column halted. 
'• Forward, Kentuckians !" shouted Johnson, at this juncture. 
Ashamed of their momentary hesitation, the men again shook their 
bridles, and with a wild hurrah the solid masses of horsemen galloped on 
the enemy, and in the face of a rapid fire, penetrated his ranks. 
Wheeling rapidly, as soon as the British line was passed, the Ken- 
tuckians poured in a destructive volley on his rear. The battle, in 
this spot, was over in less time than we have taken to describe it, 
for when the regiment wheeled, it found the enemy crying loudly 
for quarters. This was immediately granted. A force was then 
sent in pursuit of Proctor, who was understood to be further in the 
rear; but that General had already lied, having scarcely waited to 
see the defeat of his soldiers. He left behind him, however, his 
carriage, sword, and papers. His subsequent career furnished a 
merited, though late retribution for his preceding cruelties. Arriv- 
xn* IS 


inc at Burlington Heights, he was met by an angry Governor- 
General. He whose cruelty and rapacity had been overlooked in 
victory, now found himself, like many another tool of power, made 
to expiate his faults in consequence of defeat. Publicly disgraced 
for avarice and cowardice, Proctor, from that moment became as 
much an object of scorn, even in his own country, as he had before 
been one of dread in ours. 

The attack of Johnson himself on Tecumseh, was, if possible, 
executed with even more gallantry. Putting his squadron to a rapid 
trot, lie charged into the midst of the savages. On their part, the 
Indians met this assault with unflinching bravery. For five or six 
minutes nothing was heard but the sharp ringing death-shot, and the 
shouts of the Kentuckians, answered back by the war-whoop of the 
savages,, and the crack of their unerring rifles. Making right for the 
spot where the voice and dress of a chief seemed to betoken the 
presence of Tecumseh, Johnson strove to bring him to personal 
combat, and, by his fall, to end the day. As he advanced, the 
melee grew terrific. His men were falling on all sides around him; 
he was himself wounded in three places. The smoke grew so thick 
:is almost to blind the eye. But still the Kentuckians pressed on 
around their leader, and still the Indians, gathering by Tecumseh 
answered with shot and yell. The rifle-balls whistled thickly 
past. Yet onward the Americans pressed. At last the dark form 
of Tecumseh, who had all along been animating his troops, fell 
prostrate, and, at the sight, a panic seizing his followers, they tied on 
every side. By whose hand the chief died, has never been satisfac- 
torily ascertained. The credit of the deed, however, has always 
been Johnson's. 

Colonel Johnson is still living. His life, since the victory of the 
Thames, has been chiefly spent in the political councils of the coun- 
try. In 1S32, he was elected Vice-President, and again in 1836. 


HE enthusiasm with which the 
volunteers of Kentucky rallied 
to the defence of their country 
in the summer of 1813, is to be 
attributed in a great measure to 
the influence of Isaac Shelby, 
the venerable Governor of that 
state. He joined the army of 
Harrison with four thousand 
Kentuckians, and fought in per- 
son, at the age of sixty-three, 
in the battle of the Thames. For 

his valuable services in this campaign, Congress, on the 4th of April, 

1818, voted him a gold medal. 
Shelby was born on the estate of his family, near the North Moun- 
' 139 



tain, in Maryland, on the 11th of December, 1750. His father, Ge- 
neral Evan Shelby, was a distinguished soldier in the Indian wars, 
and under his command the son served a first campaign against 
the savages on the Scioto river, in 1774. He was in the awful bat- 
tle of Kenhawa, fought during that year. The conflict raged from 
sunrise to sunset ; and when the struggle was over, the ground along 
the Ohio was strewed, for nearly half a mile with the bodies of the 

In 1776, Shelby was appointed Captain of a body of minute-men 
in Virginia. He was not, however, called into service, and in 1777, 
lie became attached to the commissary department. When, by the ex- 
tension of the boundary line of North Carolina, Shelby's estate be- 
came included in the latter colony, he was appointed a Colonel of 
militia by Governor Caswell. He was absent in Kentucky, laying 
out some lands he had purchased there five years before, when he 
heard of the fall of Charleston, and instantly abandoning his private 
aflairs, he hurried to offer his sword to his country. Placing himself 
at the head of a body of militia, lie took part in several subsequent 
skirmishes between the Americans and British. At last, on the 7th 
of October, 17S0, the battle of King's Mountain was fought, in which 
the English leader, Major Ferguson, at the head of his riflemen, was 
beaten, and that, too, in a position from which he had vauntingly 
declared, " God Almighty could not drive him." Shelby was one 
of the commanders in this conflict. By a vote of the North Carolina 
legislature, he and his brother Colonels were presented with elegant 
swords for their behavior in this action. After serving two years 
longer, chiefly under Marion, he retired from the army. 

In 1783, Shelby returned to Kentucky, where he settled at Boons- 
borough. He was the first person in that State who took up a pre- 
emption grant for the purpose of cultivation ; and at his death, forty- 
three years after, was the only individual residing on his own 
settlement and pre-emption. In 1S12, he was elected Governor of 
Kentucky. During the next year he organized a body of four thou- 
send volunteers, and marching with them to the support of Harrison, 
participated in the victory of the Thames. In IS 17 he was offered 
the War Department, but declined it in consequence of his age. He 
survived until the 18th of July, 1826, when a stroke of apoplexy 
terminated his useful and glorious life. 

Shelby was brave to a fault. He could endure exposure and fa- 
tigue without flinching. He was remarkable for a sound common 
sense, which rendered his opinion more practically useful than that 
of more brilliant men. In manners he was courteous. 

I II ■ .....,,. J. , 



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%££\- A-^trun 



T was reserved for the middle 
states to be the first to rally the 
drooping spirits of the country, 
in the war of 1812. While New 
England held coldly aloof from 
the contest, and the south as yet 
had scarcely roused herself for 
action, New York and Pennsyl- 
vania, then as now the two 
greatest states of the confedera- 
cy, came gallantly to the rescue. 
It was on the soil of New York, 
and principally by New York 
troops that the first repulse was 

given to the British. It was a Pennsylvania General that won the 



victory. We allude to the defeat of the enemy at Sackett's Harbor, 
by a combined force of regulars and militia under General Brown. 

Jacob Brown, a Major-General in the American army, and per- 
haps the ablest commander in the war of 1812, was born in Bucks 
county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1775. His ancestors, for several 
generations, had been members of the society of Friends. His 
father was originally a farmer, but having embarked in trade, very 
soon lost the whole of his property; and his progeny, among them 
Jacob, were thrown on the world to seek a subsistence, while still 
children. This happened when the subject of our memoir was but 
sixteen. Having an ordinary English education, he resolved to 
make it useful as a country schoolmaster, and accordingly acted in 
that capacity at Crosswicks, New Jersey, from his eighteenth to his 
twenty-first year. At this period the tide of emigration was just 
beginning to set towards Ohio, and young Brown, eager to improve 
his fortunes, resolved to move out to that territory. He accordingly 
went to Cincinnati, and obtaining employment as a surveyor, 
remained two years in that vicinity; but finding the reality of west- 
ern life less alluring than he had been led to expect it, he returned 
to the eastern states. In 1798 he was teaching school in New York. 
He continued at this, however, but a few months. He next turned 
his attention to the law, but finally abandoned this also. He now 
purchased a tract of land in Jefferson county, New York, for he had 
acquired some property in his various pursuits, and, in 1799, he 
removed to his new possession, then a wild clearing in the heart of 
the wilderness. 

The district, however, rapidly improved; and with the rise of its 
fortunes rose those of Brown. Here on this exposed border, he 
began to show those qualities of mind, which subsequently raised 
him to the head of the American army, and which would have 
enrolled his name among the most renowned of military command- 
ers, if a wider sphere had been found for their exercise. Bold, saga- 
cious, brave to a fault ; persevering, industrious, full of resources ; 
firm and decided in character; never shrinking from assuming the 
responsibility of an action which his judgment approved, he was just 
the man to acquire influence among the rough, but shrewd border- 
ers with whom he was now thrown into contact. He soon took the 
lead among his fellow-citizens, and was looked up to upon all occa- 
sions. In 1809 lie was appointed to command a regiment of militia, 
and in 1811 elevated to the rank of a Brigadier-General. When 
the war of IS12 broke out, he found himself at the head of a brigade, 
and with the charge of defending two hundred miles of exposed 


frontier. But this novel and responsible position found him full of 
resources to meet the exigency. On the 4th of October, IS 12, at the 
head of four hundred men, he repulsed the British, eight hundred 
strong, in an attack on Ogdensburg. His term of service having 
expired shortly after, he returned home and resumed the plough. 

The administration of Mr. Madison, appreciating his services and 
ability, now endeavored to secure his aid permanently during the 
war; and accordingly offered him a Colonel's commission in the regu- 
lar army. This, however, he declined, not from unwillingness to 
serve, but from a resolution not to take a lower rank than he already 
held. He felt that he was fitted for great emergencies, and was con- 
tent patiently to wait until he should be better appreciated. If that 
never should occur, he was satisfied to remain in his peaceful avoca- 
tion as a fanner. But never was there a truer saying than that talent 
always finds its level, or never was it more forcibly exemplified than 
in the cases of Jackson and Brown. Both were refused the commis- 
sions they sought, in the beginning of the conflict ; yet both subse- 
quently forced them, as it were, from the country, by their genius 
for war. Both were emphatically heroes of the people. Both started 
to life, robust and armed, military commanders full born. Both only 
needed a wider sphere of action to have become among the most cele- 
brated professors of the military art. With the field that opened itself 
before the Marshals of Napoleon, Jackson would have rivalled Ney, 
and Brown surpassed Macdonald. 

The residence of Brown was in the neighborhood of Sackett's Har- 
bor, at that time the chief depot for stores on the lake. Here was 
collected the plunder of York ; here were building the vessels destined 
to annoy the enemy ; and here were stowed the munitions of war 
that had been transported, at great expense, from the Atlantic to the 
shores of Lake Ontario. Though it was scarcely thought probable 
that the British would venture to attack this place, the value of the 
prize rendered it possible that the attempt might be made ; and Colo- 
nel Backus, who had been left in command of the post, was instructed, 
in case of any such expedition, to summon General Brown to his 
assistance. It was not long before the contingency, thus provided 
for, arrived. To retaliate for the capture of York, Frevost conceived 
the design of attacking Sackett's Harbor. This idea was adopted 
during a visit to Kingston, where he heard that General Dearborn 
had withdrawn most of the garrison to assist in the expedition against 
Fort George. Accordingly, on the 27th of May, 1813, Frevost began 
his movement at the head of nearly a thousand men; his troops em- 
barking ill small boats, and under convoy of the fleet commanded by Sir 


James Yeo. It was his intention to reach Sackett's Harhor in the 
night, and at daybreak to assault and carry the place by surprise. 
The winds proved adverse, however,and it was not until ten o'clock 
on the evening of the 28th that he reached his destination. At day- 
break of the 29th he made his attack. Meantime, his fleet had been 
seen on the lake, and notice promptly carried to the harbor. The 
guns of the fort gave the alarm to the surrounding country. The 
people rose. By neon of the 28th, six hundred militia had rallied to 
the defence of the place ; and at their head came Brown, summoned 
in this emergency, like Cincinnatus, from his plough. An express had 
found him at his farm, eight miles from i he harbor, and instantly mount- 
ing, he had hurried to the scene of action, rousing the militia as he 
came. His every movement marked the man born to command. The 
crisis found him, cool, ready, inexhaustible. It was one of those emer- 
gencies in which a bold and intrepid genius like his, finds its true ele- 
ment, while minds of less power sink under the responsibility. 

During the whole of the 28th the Americans were preparing for 
the attack. Brown, being thoroughly acquainted with the neighbor- 
hood, was at no loss to know the point where the enemy would proba- 
bly land. His dispositions were made accordingly. He placed the mili- 
tia and volunteers in the first line, and assigned to them ihe task of 
meeting the enemy on his disembarkation. Midway between the 
shore and village, and on ground rendered difficult of approach by an 
abattis, he arranged the second line, which was composed of regular 
troops, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Backus. A few 
artillerists were charged with the custody of the forts, where, in case 
of a defeat, Brown had prepared to make a last desperate stand. 
The location of the front line was partially altered, almost at the mo- 
ment of attack, in consequence of the enemy changing the point of 
his disembarkation, when he saw the stubborn preparations of the 
Americans. The troops, however, had full time to take their new 
position before the enemy could land. Brown himself superintended 
their line of battle. " Hide yourselves," he said, " as much as possi- 
ble, and do not fire until you can see the buttons of the enemy. If you 
are forced to retire, by superior numbers, throw yourselves into the 
wood, rally, and assail the foe in llank. If you cannot then stop him, 
retire on the left and rear of Colonel Backus, and wait for further 
orders. Only be cool and resolute and the day is our own." 

He had scarcely delivered these words when the British were seen 
close at hand, their numerous boats apparently crowded with sol- 
diers. The day was partially clear, with a slight mist hanging 
around ; and the glitter of the enemy's arms, perhaps, magnified his 


numbers. None of the militia or volunteers had been in battle be- 
fore ; and awe of the British regulars' skill haunted the popular 
mind ; hence, when the front line of the Americans beheld the im- 
posing array of the enemy, it lost its self-possession, and began to 
fire too soon, and in a desultory manner. At such a crisis it is 
astonishing how few can infect the whole mass. One or two at first 
discharged their pieces, and this spread alarm in others, so that, in 
less than a minute, the whole line had delivered its fire. As might 
have been expected, the men overshot their assailants, and scarcely 
one of the enemy was seen to fall. The inefficiency of their fire 
increased the perturbation of the volunteers ; each looked for coun- 
tenance in his neighbor and found none ; a panic was the conse- 
quence ; and the whole body, breaking ground, took to flight igno- 
miniously. In vain their oflicers strove to rally them. Once thorough- 
ly frightened, nothing could allay their terror. Forgetful of Brown's 
orders to collect again in the wood, forgetful of the direction after- 
wards to gather in the rear of Colonel Backus, forgetful of everything 
but their own alarm, they hurried frantically onward, some even 
throwing away their guns, a mortifying and cowardly spectacle. 
Two companies, however, resisted this general consternation. They 
were headed by Captains M'Nett and Collins, and gallantly rallied 
to the fight. 

With inexplicable chagrin, Brown saw the flight of the militia and 
volunteers; but his second line still stood firm, and to this he now 
devoted all his attention. By the disgraceful retreat of the front 
line, the position of the regulars, however, was rendered untenable. 
But this did not disconcert Brown. Falling back, step by step, dis- 
puting every inch of ground, he took shelter in some log huts which 
had been prepared for the winter accommodation of the soldiers, and 
here prepared to resist the now overpowering numbers of the enemy. 
This new post he soon rendered impregnable. In vain the British, 
flushed with their first victory, advanced with loud cheers to the 
assault. A sharp and well aimed volley checked their steps. Brown 
did not give them time to recover, before he threw in another vol- 
ley. At this moment, however, flames were seen rising from the 
place where the stores were collected; for the oiiicer left in their 
charge, seeing the flight of the front line, had deemed the day lost, 
and hastened to execute his orders. Soon dark volumes of pitchy 
smoke began to roll upwards to the sky, relieved here and there by 
forky tongues of flame, leaping about in the wildest confusion. Ani- 
mated by this sight, the British raised a second shout, and rushed 
forward, under cover of a heavy fire. But the American regulars, 
xm 19 


with the heroic Backus at their head, stood immoveable. For a few- 
minutes only the result was doubtful. The vollies of the enemy 
rattled without intermission, and the scanty front of the Americans 
was enveloped in sheets of fire. Soon the British began to waver. 
At this moment Backus, while cheering on his men, received a 
mortal shot, and fell in the arms of victory. Brown, meantime, 
had hastened to the rear, and succeeded in rallying three or four 
hundred of the militia, with whom he advanced to cut off the 
enemy's rear. But the British, alarmed at this demonstration, now 
began to retire on all sides. Indeed, to have remained longer, a 
mark for the deadly fire from the block-house and battery, would 
have been madness, even if their retreat had not been threatened. 
Accordingly, Prevost drew off his men, and forming them on the 
east of the hill proceeded immediately after to re-embark. As they hur- 
ried to their boats, mortified and enraged at this unexpected result, 
their sight was cheered by a spectacle, which, in part alforded a 
grim satisfaction for their disgrace. It was the burning barracks 
and store-houses. These buildings were now a sheet of flame, and 
being filled with highly combustible materials, the roar of the con- 
flagration was heard for and near. By that stern music the enemy 

The intelligence of this victory was hailed with rapturous 
applause throughout the Union, and by universal consent Brown 
rose at once to a first place in the public opinion. The government 
showed its grateful appreciation of his conduct by creating him a 
Brigadier. Both friend and foe acknowledged, as if by secret instinct, 
that a military leader of ability had arisen at last in this country. 
An opinion which heretofore had been breathed only in whis- 
pers, was now boldly proclaimed : it was said that the incom- 
petency of the old Generals had been endured long enough, 
ami that it was full time that abler commanders, fresh from 
the people, should have their places. From this period, indeed, we 
may date an improvement in the character of the leaders, and a 
more daring spirit of enterprise in the management of the war. 
The days of the Hulls, Wilkinsons, and Dearborns, were nearly 
over ; that of the Browns, Scotts, Jessups, and Jacksons, was 
approaching. The spirit of the people which had begun to despond, 
from this hour rallied ; enthusiasm took the place of want of confi- 
dence ; and headed by leaders whom it could love, the army went 
gallantly from victory to victory. Chippewa and Lundy's Lane 
followed upon Sackett's Harbor, and the brilliant spectacle closed at 
New Orleans in a blaze of glory ! 

The letter in which Brown modestly announced his victory, is 


worthy of being preserved : it is terse, unaffected, and eminently 
characteristic of the man. There is nothing of exaggeration, nothing 
of bombast about it. In reading it, we perceive that victory has not 
destroyed the even balance of his mind. 

"Mat 29th, 1S13. 
We were attacked at the dawn of this day by a British regular 
force of at least nine hundred men, most probably twelve hundred. 
They made their landing at Horse Island. The enemy's fleet con- 
sisted of two ships and four schooners, and thirty large open boats. 
We are completely victorious. The enemy lost a considerable num- 
ber of killed and wounded on the field, among the number several 
oiiicers of distinction. After having re-embarked, they sent me a 
flag, desiring to have their killed and wounded attended to. I have 
made them satisfied on that subject. Americans will be distinguished 
for humanity and bravery. Our loss is not numerous, but serious 
from the great worth of those who have fallen. Colonel Mills was 
shot dead at the commencement of the action ; and Colonel Backus, 
of the first regiment of light dragoons, nobly fell at the head of 
his regiment as victory was declaring for us. I will not presume to 
praise tins regiment; their gallant conduct on this day merits much 
more than praise. The new ship, and Commodore Chauncey's 
prize, the Duke of Gloucester, are safe in Sackett's Harbor. Sir 
George Prevost landed and commanded in person. Sir James Veo 
commanded the enemy's fleet. 

In haste, yours, &c, 

Jacob Brown." 

On receiving a commission in the regular army, Brown at once 
abandoned his farm, and devoted himself to the service of his coun- 
try. He accompanied Wilkinson, in the ensuing autumn, in his 
expedition down the St. Lawrence. Being the oflicer of the day 
during the passage of the British fort at Prescott, the direction of 
that diflicult and somewhat perilous enterprise devolved on himself, 
a task which he performed with signal skill and resolution. At 
French Creek he repulsed, with his brigade, an imposing force of 
the enemy. He moved continually in advance of the main ariny 
and was already several miles ahead of Wilkinson, pressing on to 
Montreal, when he received, with undisguised chagrin, the order of 
that oflicer to fall back, since the expedition was to be abandoned. 
The army now retired to winter quarters. Wilkinson, on the plea 
of sickness, left the camp, and the other seniors of Brown being also 
absent, he now found himself at the head of the army. Early in 
the year 1814, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. 



The new campaign accordingly opened under the happiest aus- 
pices. The elevation of Brown to the chief command at once inspired 
confidence. His gallantry at Sackett's Harbor, and his courage 
under Wilkinson, were the theme of every tongue. His officers 
were in the highest spirits, and the men relied on victory. Mean- 
time, he left no preparatory measures untried which could assist in 
securing success, particularly devoting himself to the thorough disci- 
pline of his troops. In this task he found a valuable assistant in 
Scott, then just elevated to the rank of a Brigadier. That olficer 
established a camp of instruction at Butfalo, where, adopting the 

svstem of Napoleon's army, the officers were first rigorously drilled, 
without regard to rank, by the commanding General ; and then 
these officers in turn, instructed the rank and file under their immedi- 
ate eye. It was in fact renewing the scenes of Valley Forge, when 
Baron Steuben first made soldiers of the raw levies of Washington, 
and with the same effect. The one trained the men, who, a few 
months later, drove the British grenadiers at Monmouth ; the other 
instructed the future conquerors of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. 

Having become satisfied with the proficiency of his troops, Brown 
resolved to cross the Niagara, and begin the aggressive. Accord- 
ingly, on the 3d of July, 1813, the brigade of Scott was sent over to 
the British shore, below Fort Erie, and was followed, on the same 


day by that of Ripley, which landed below. Fort Erie, being thus 
invested, surrendered without firing a shot. Leaving a small garri- 
son in the captured fort, Brown now pushed forward in the direc- 
tion of Chippewa, where the main body of the British was known 
to be encamped. The enemy's force was commanded by Major 
General Riall, and was estimated at three thousand. The brigade 
of Scott moved in advance of the rest of the American army, with 
orders to drive in any outlying parties of the British it should meet. 
The day was that glorious one in the history of our country, the 
fourth of July. As the troops marched, the national air greeted 
their ears at frequently recurring intervals, amid prouder bursts of 
music ; while the soft summer breeze that floated by, dallied with 
the flag of America, making the stars dance and quiver in the morn- 
ing sunbeams. Every man felt inspirited by the scene, by the 
music, and by the associations ; and with quickened steps marched 
on. It was not long before a detachment of the British army, con- 
sisting of the one-hundredth regiment, came in sight. This body 
was commanded by the Marquis of Tweedale. A sharp action im- 
mediately ensued, which continued for some hours, being maintained 
as a running fight, the Americans advancing, and the English falling 
back. At last, after a retreat of sixteen miles, the enemy reached 
the Chippewa river, across which he hastily retired. Dusk was 
now gathering around the landscape. On the opposite shore, 
however, could be discerned through the gloom the dark masses of 
Kiall's army, protected by heavy batteries, in the midst of which the one- 
hundredth regiment had taken refuge. To have maintained the 
pursuit at that hour, and under the circumstances, would have been 
madness. Accordingly, halting his troops, Scott resolved to await 
the arrival of the main body, and his men, in consequence, pitched 
their camp about two miles from that of the enemy. So close were 
the two armies, and so calm and still was the night, as 
the hours wore on, the troops in either army could distinguish the 
various noises of the enemy ; and many a brave soldier, as he 
bivouacked on the bare ground, heard these sounds in dreams, 
where mingling with thoughts of home, they produced a strange 
medley of sad and sweet images. 

The morning dawned close and sultry. Not a cloud obscured the 
sky, and scarcely a breath of wind stirred, ominous signs these of a 
hot and dusty day for the battle that impended. The British lay 
behind the Chippewa, commanding a bridge that led across the 
stream and debouched into a comparatively open plain. This plain, 
at its opposite extremity, was bounded by another small stream, 


called Street's Creek, behind which the American army had taken 
up its position the night before. On its two other sides this plain 
was skirted bv the Niagara River, and by a belt of heavy woodland. 
Nature appeared, indeed, to have constructed the piece of ground 
expressly for a field of battle, and both commanders, sensible of 
this, seemed to have made up their minds here to try their fortunes. 
Brown was already preparing to leave his position, cross into the 
plan, and attack the enemy in his lines at Chippewa, when the 
videttes announced that Riall was beginning to appear in force on 
the plain himself, as if eager to seek the proffered contest. This 
news was soon followed by the sound of firing, showing that the 
advanced posts of the two armies had begun to skirmish. The wood 
which we have mentioned, and which was on the American left, 
now began to swarm with the militia and Indians of the enemy, 
which, gaining ground as the day advanced, by noon were able 
materially to annoy the American pickets. Brown, on this, 
despatched General Porter with the volunteers and militia, by a 
circuitous route, to get in the rear of the Indians, and cut them off 
from the main body. At the same time he ordered his advance to 
fall back, in hopes thus to draw them on. In about half an hour, 
however, Porter came suddenly upon the light parties of the enemy 
in the wood. A heavy fire succeeded from each of the opposing 
detachments, and was maintained for some time, when the British 
irregulars gave way,and besan to retire on Chippewa. The retreat^ 
however, had not progressed far, when it was checked by the 
arrival of the main body of the enemy on the field. The British 
irregulars now rallied, and with exulting cheers, deeming the day 
their own, bore down on the American line. For a moment the 
latter withstood the shock, but soon intimidated by the imposing 
front of the enemy's regulars, which now extended far and near, 
they broke and lied. Every effort of General Porter to check their 
dismay, was in vain. 

Brown himself had been in the wood with Porter, when the noise 
of firing in the direction of Chippewa attracted his attention, and 
immediately he knew by the clouds of dust rising in the distance, 
that the enemy was advancing. It was now four o'clock. The sun, 
declining in the western firmament, threw a yellow haze across the 
plain ; and a myriad of particles, seemingly of fine gold dust, formed a 
canopy over the British army. Occasionally, a light breeze, drifting 
aside this veil, disclosed the flashing arms, the blackened banners, 
and the confident step of Riall's veterans: for the regulars of that 
General were no common troops, but men disciplined on many a 


hard fought field, and proud of their frequent victories. Now and 
then a puif of white smoke, looking in the distance as if from a 
solitary gun, would shoot out from this gilded curtain, and immedi- 
ately afterwards, a faint report came struggling up to the ear. 
Perhaps never did any General gaze on a more splendid spectacle. 
But not a moment was to be lost, and so, putting spurs to his horse, 
Brown galloped, with his suite, in the direction of the bridge, 
which, crossing Street's Creek, in front of the American camp, was 
the only outlet for our army into the plain beyond. Just before he 
reached that spot, he met General Scott, who, in ignorance of the 
advance of the British, was moving his brigade in that direction, in 
relief dress, merely for the purpose of a drill. Brown drew in his 
rein, and pointing with his sword across to the plain, said to his 
subordinate : " The enemy is coming up — you will have a fight — 
move on, and cross the bridge." Having pronounced these words, 
he passed hastily to the rear, to put Ripley's brigade in motion, and 
to re-assemble the light troops behind Street's Creek. 

In an instant every man in the brigade of Scott was aware of 
the order, and with an alacrity that showed they had not forgotten 
the triumph of the day before, they moved towards the bridge. It 
was not until he reached this spot that Scott could obtain a sight of 
the foe. He then saw the British veterans, however, displayed on 
the plain, their masses of infantry intermixed with dragoons and 
artillery, extending far away to right and left, without a perceptible 
gap in the whole of that long front. A battery of nine pieces, 
within point blank, opened its fire on the bridge as soon as the 
Americans appeared. Scott did not hesitate a moment, however, 
but immediately crossed, and in perfect order, though not without 
loss. As soon as the first and second battalions, led by Majors 
Leavenworth and MeNeilly, had reached the plain, they promptly 
formed a line in front, which brought them opposite, respectively, to 
the left and centre of the enemy. When the third battalion, which 
was commanded by Major Jessup, had traversed the bridge, Scott 
moved it off obliquely to the left, in order to prevent the British 
from outflanking him in that direction. This left the spaces between 
the battalions of considerable size ; but no other resource remained. 
The artillery under Captain Towson, was stationed to the right, 
resting on. the Chippewa road. No sooner had it got into position, 
than the guns were promptly unlimuered, and soon opened with 
terrible effect on the columns of the enemy. Meantime, the two 
armies continued to advance on each other, the troops halting to fire, 
and then pushing on, until the space between became packed wirli 


smoke. The English officers had been told that Scott had nothing 
but militia with him; but when they saw the coolness with which 
his troops came into action, one of them exclaimed : " If these are 
militia, God keep the regulars from us !" 

The right of the British had been pushed so far, in the hope of 
outflanking the Americans, that it had actually entered the forest, 
and thither Major Jessup following it, according to his orders not to 
be outflanked, it became finally separated from the main body. This 
gave the British a new right flank on the plain, threatening to effect 
the very purpose that Jessup had been sent to defeat. Scott, per- 
ceiving this, hastened to throw forward the left flank of O'Neil's 
battalion, which brought it obliquely to the enemy's front, and, in 
turn, outflanked him a little. All this time the two armies had con- 
tinued to approach each other, keeping up a constant and heavy 
lire. Scott, just before, noticing that Tow son overshot the enemy, 
galloped down the line to the battery, and seeing its gallant com- 
mander so enveloped in smoke, that neither he nor his men 
could see the British any longer, had pointed them out. 
Instantly changing the direction of his pieces, Towson pre- 
pared to load them for a final discharge, while Scott returned 
back to the battalions on the right, where he executed the move- 
ment by which he outflanked the foe. At this crisis, the enemy 
was not more than eighty paces distant. It was the moment for 
decisive action. To have waited an instant, would have given 
Riall the opportunity, perhaps, to extend his flank, and recover the 
advantage he had just lost. But this instant Scott did not allow him. 
Turning to M 'Neil's battalion, he pointed with his sword towards 
the enemy, and in a voice that rose, loud and distinct over all the 
uproar of the strife, shouted : " Men of the eleventh ! the enemy say 
we are good at a long shot, but cannot stand the cold iron. I call on 
you to give the lie to that slander. Charge !" At the word, the 
bayonets of that veteran battalion were levelled, and they rushed 
upon the foe, a bristling wall of steel. Instantaneously, too, Leaven- 
worth's battalion, which held an oblique position on the enemy's 
right, sprang also to the charge, and thus crushed, as it were, 
between two moving phalanxes, the British, with a wild cry of horror 
broke and fled. The final impulse to their panic, if any had been 
wanting, was given by the fire of Towson's pieces, which, at this 
critical moment, sent their tempest of grape through and through the 
enemy's ranks. Almost simultaneously too, Major Jessup, in the 
wood, had advanced his men to a new and more secure position, 
where their fire proved so hot and quick, that the foe there were 
forced to retire also. 


While the brigade of Scott had been achieving this victory, that 
of Ripley had not been inactive. Brown had no sooner left Scott than 
lie placed himself at the head of these battalions, and advanced with 
them on the left, behind the woods, hoping to gain the rear of the 
enemy's right flank. But by the almost instantaneous success of 
Scott, the foe was in full retreat before this could be effected. The 
whole of the American army, now uniting, however, advanced 
with loud cheers, the bands playing in triumph. It is said to have 
been a magnificent spectacle. The sun hung on the very verge of 
the horizon, and the dust that floated over the plain was more 
golden than ever, while here and there were particles of smoke that 
lit by a stray beam, gleamed out like frosted silver on the scene. As 
the victors pressed on across the plain, they found it everywhere 
strewed with the dead and dying, proving how destructive had been 
their fire. As soon as the British gained the sloping ground descend- 
ing towards Chippewa, they broke and ran to their trenches- 
The pursuit was not stopped until the enemy had thrown him- 
self across the Chippewa, and found a secure covert within his 
entrenchments. By this time Brown had arrived in person, and 
ordered the ordnance to be brought up, intending to force the works, 
but their strength, and the lateness of the hour, induced him to 
abandon the attempt. The sun had now gone down. One by one 
the stars appeared in the sky, but notwithstanding this, the darkness 
increased : for the clouds of dust settling but slowly, still hung over 
the plain, and added to the gloom of the hour. All things seemed 
gradually to assume a look and voice of foreboding. The wind was 
heard wailing in the recesses of the neighboring forest; the Niagara 
surged mournfully along; and from the plain rose up alow, confused, 
but melancholy murmur, for there, nearly a thousand men lay, moan- 
ing in suffering, or looking up with dead, pale faces, to the stars ! 
As the night deepened, however, that ominous mingling of sounds 
grew fainter and fainter, as soul after soul went up to its Maker. 
Humane steps at last were heard on that plain, and the wounded 
were borne oil and succored. Finally a death-like silence fell on ail 
the landscape. The two armies, in their respective camps, slept 
m deep slumber alter the fatigues of the day, and no sound broke 
the profound stillness, except the occasional cry of a sentry, or the 
hoarse murmur of the Niagara. 

The second day after this battle, the Americans crossed the Chip- 
pewa, the British burning their barracks, abandoning their position, 
and retiring to forts Niagara and George. Brown followed m 
pursuit. The expectation of receiving some heavy guns from 




Sackett's Harbor, delayed his movements for the next fortnight; but, 
on the 25th of July, having received an express from General Gaines, 
advising him of the blockade of that port, by a superior force, lie was 
compelled to abandon his designs against the forts at the mouth of 
the Niagara, and seek success in some other enterprise. His active 
mind was not long in fixing on its prey. He determined to dis- 
encumber the army of baggage, and march directly on Burlington 
Heights. But in order to conceal this intention from the enemy, as 
well as to obtain a supply of provisions from Schlosser, he fell back 
on Chippewa. Meantime, however, Lieutenant-General Driim- 
mond, mortified at the repulse of the British by an inferior force, 
had hurried up from York, bringing with him all the troops he could 
collect at that and other posts on the peninsula. Assuming command 
of the army in person, he advanced boldly against the Americans. 
This was just at the period when they were falling back on Chip- 
pewa. Brown, being advised of the movement of Driunmond. 
halted. That same evening he received a communication from the 
American shore, apprizing him that the enemy had landed a 



thousand men at Lewistown, nine miles below the Chippewa, for 
some object not understood. Alarmed for the stores at Schlosser, 
Brown determined, by threatening the forts at the mouth of the 


Niagara, to recall the British. Accordingly, he ordered Scott, with 
all the troops he could collect on the moment, to advance. In twenty 
minutes, Scott was in motion. He carried with him his own brigade, 
Towson's artillery, and the dragoons and mounted men, in all about 
thirteen hundred combatants. 

The battle that ensued, is known hy the names of Queenstown, 
Lundy's Lane, and Niagara, indiscriminately. It was in fact, two 
separate conflicts. In the first, the enemy was driven from his posi- 
tion, and then, taking up a new one, the struggle began again, and 
was continued until midnight. In the earlier conflict, Scott's 
brigade fought nearly alone, and was terribly cut up. In fact, this 
General, when he went into action, supposed that he was about to 
meet the same force he had already met at Chippewa, and no more, 
whereas it had been strongly reinforced by Drummond. Scott stood 
his ground, however, until Brown could bring up the brigade of 
Ripley, when his shattered troops were drawn off, though, later in 
the night, they came again into action. The enemy was finally 
beaten. Before the victory, however, was complete, Brown had 
received two wounds, and was so reduced by loss of blood, that he 
liad to be supported on his horse from the field. Scott having been 
also wounded, the command devolved on General Ripley. This 
General had been ordered by Brown to begin the action again early 
in the morning, but failed to do so, in consequence of which the 
English remained masters of the field, and a retreat to Fort Erie 
became necessary. It was his conduct in this emergency which 
induced Brown to pronounce Ripley an oliicer,not wanting indeed in 
physical bravery, but sadly deficient in moral courage, or the nerve 
to assume responsibility in critical circumstances. 

Not possessing confidence in Ripley, one of the first acts of Brown 
was to send for General Gaines, who, as senior officer, on his arrival, 
would supersede Ripley in the command of Fort Erie. Here Gaines 
won unfading laurels by his gallant repulse of the enemy from before its 
walls. But having received a wound from a shell, the fort again 
fell in the charge of Ripley, and the anxiety of Brown became so 
great, that early in September, as soon as his wounds .were sutli- 
ciently healed, he repaired in person to Fort Erie, and assumed the 
direction of its defence. He found the place in a critical emergency- 
The besieging force was more than double that of the garrison, and 
was continually increasing. Although reinforcements had been 
ordered up from Lake Champlain, they were yet far distant, and 
some time must necessarily elapse before they could appear. Mean- 
time, the fort might be stormed successfully by overwhelming 

15fi JACOB nROWN. 

numbers. In this perilous condition of affairs, the bold and decided 
genius of Brown was the salvation of the garrison. After waiting 
from the 2d until the 17th of September, daily suffering more and 
more from the fire of the enemy, the American General, noticing 
that a new battery was about to be erected, resolved on a sortie. 
The works of the besiegers consisted of two lines of investment, 
supported by block-houses, in the front of which, at suitable points, 
batteries were erected. The camp of the enemy was nearly two 
miles in the rear of their works. Brown noticed that a brigade of 
twelve or fifteen hundred men usually occupied these works, and 
was relieved, in turn, by two other brigadesofequalstrength. Brown's 
plan was to issue forth suddenly with as po /erful a force as he 
could muster, storm the batteries, spike the cannon, and, if possible, 
cut to pieces the brigade on duty, before assistance could be sum- 
moned from the camp. The scheme was hazardous perhaps, but 
with such a General to lead the troops, at least promised success. 

Accordingly, on the morning of the 17lli, the garrison was ordered 
to parade at noon, in readiness for the sortie. The volunteers, led 
by General Porter, the riflemen of Colonel Gibson, and Major 
Brooks, with the first and twenty-third infantry, accompanied by a 
few dragoons, acting as infantry, were instructed to move from the 
extreme left on the right of the enemy, by a road which had been 
secretly opened through the woods for the purpose. The command 
of General Miller was ordered to station itself in the ravine between 
the enemy's batteries and Fort Erie, by passing in detachments 
through the skirts of the wood. The twenty-first infantry, under 
General Ripley, was directed to post itself, as a reserve, between 
the new bastionsof Fort Erie. All these troops, by these arrangements, 
would be kept under cover, and out of view of the enemy, until the 
moment for decisive action. Then, all at once, they would burst on 
the foe. 

When the signal was given, the troops rushed forward from their 
respective stations with the greatest impetuosity. The left column, 
led by General Porter, began the action. These brave men had 
stolen forward through the wood on the enemy's right, until they 
arrived, unperceived, close to his entrenchments : then, at the word 
of their commander, they raised a shout, and advanced at quick 
step upon the foe. Hearing the report of the musketry, Brown, who 
had remained in the ravine, knew that the action was begun on the 
left, and accordingly ordered Miller to advance and pierce the 
enemy's entrenchments between the two batteries in front. This 
division also sprang to the assault with cheers. The astonished 


enemy, at first, lost his self-possession, but soon recovering himself, 
rallied to the defence of his battery. A deadly fire accordingly 
greeted the Americans. But unintimidated, the gallant assailants 
rushed forward, cleared the ramparts, drove the enemy from his 
works, and planted their flag on the embrasure of the captured forti- 
fication. In less than thirty minutes after firing the first gun, the 
Americans were masters of the field, two of the enemy's batteries, 
his line of entrenchments, and his two block-houses being in pos- 
session of the storming parties. The victors then hastened to spike 
the cannon. The magazine of the batteries was blown up. The 
enemy still, however, maintained a desultory, though stubborn 
resistance, as he retreated ; and the reserve, which had been ordered 
up, was brought into action, while a portion of the remaining troops 
proceeded with the work of demolition. The object of the sortie 
having been accomplished, the Americans were now drawn off, and 
retired to the fort. The victory had been signal and complete. In a 
single hour the labor of fifty days on the part of the besiegers had 
been utterly destroyed. About four hundred British had been taken 
prisoners, and as many more wounded or killed. The moral effect 
of the sortie was even greater. The enemy recognized in this bold 
and brilliantstroke,the hand that had dealt him such terrible blows at 
Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, and from that hour, abandoning all 
hopes of reducing the place, lent his thoughts only to the best 
means of effecting a safe retreat. A few days after, he raised the 
siege, and retired behind the Chippewa. 

These series of successes on the part of Brown, beginning with 
Sarkett's Harbor, and ending with Fort Erie, surrounded his name 
with an eclat similar to that which, about the same time, was won 
by Decatur on another element. Indeed, the career of this General 
is a forcible illustration of what genius alone can do. During the 
two preceding years of the war, our arms on land had met with an 
almost constant succession of disasters, though, at that time, they 
were not opposed by any of the veteran English troops, such as in 
ISM, appeared in the field. But when the peace in Europe had disen- 
gaged the conquerors of the peninsula, our troops, instead of being 
utterly annihilated before these renowned soldiers, suddenly began to 
achieve victories, and that too, against superior numbers. The 
nation could scarcely believe the first reports of the victory of Chip- 
pewa. It had been supposed that if Brown could manage to engage 
a smaller force than his own, his ability and courage would, perhaps, 
obtain a triumph; but this astonishing success transcended every 
hope. The result was chiefly owing to the genius of the General. 



His sagacity in adapting his means to his end, was well known to the 
troops, and inspired them with a confidence that whatsoever he 
undertook he could carry through ; besides, by a thorough dis- 
cipline of his men, he rendered them the equals of Wellington's 
veterans. With such soldiers, and such a leader, victory was 

The war terminated, at least in the north, with the campaign of 
1814. After the peace, Brown was continued in the army, and 
assigned the command of the northern military division. His life, how- 
ever, was paid a forfeit to his services, for he had contracted a disease at 
Fort Erie, which was an almost constant source of suffering to him, 
and which, in the end, produced his death. But he lived first to 
reach the elevated post of senior Major-General, and Commander- 
in-chief of the army of the United States. This happened in 18~M. 
On the 24th of February, 1828, he died in Washington City, where he 
had resided since he rose to the chief command. 

:~'i ' 



HE real hero of Lundy's Lane was 
General Winfield Scott. But that 
officer having been wounded, was 
forced to retire from the field, and 
General Brown, the Commander-in- 
chief, being also disabled, the direc- 
tion of affairs devolved upon General 
Ripley. This gentleman was a leader 
of spirit and discipline, but not equal 
in ability to either of his superiors. 
He wanted their resolution, though 
not their courage, and, perhaps, 
shrank from assuming responsibility 
in critical and uncommon emergen- 

Arnons the earlier Generals of the war, he would have shone 



superior. But it required pre-eminent qualifications to win distinc- 
tion by the side of Brown and Scott. 

Elcazer Wheelock Ripley, was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, 
in the year 1782. On his maternal side, he was descended from the 
celebrated Captain Miles Standish, the hero of the early Plymouth 
settlers. Young Ripley received an excellent education, graduating 
at Dartmouth College, in his eighteenth year, with the highest 
honors. He subsequently studied law, and settled at Wmslow, 
in Massachusetts. In 1807, we find him a member of the legisla- 
ture of Massachusetts. He was already prominent as a man of 
influence, and gave his voice, as early as 1808, in favor of a war 
with both England and France, provided those two powers did not 
cease their aggressions on this country. In 1811, he was elected 
to succeed the late Hon. Joseph Story, as speaker of the House of 
Representatives in Massachusetts. In 1812, lie came out boldly for 
a war with Great Britain, and this too, in opposition to the general 
sentiment in his adopted state. His patriotism was rewarded by 
the commission of a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army of the United 
States. He was appointed to the command of a sub-district, extend- 
ing from Saco to the eastern frontier, and to his other duties was 
soon added the superintendence of the recruiting service. In a short 
time he had obtained sufficient recruits to form a regiment, which 
was called the twenty-first, and placed under his command. 

Ripley was one of the first oliicers to introduce that exact and 
rigid discipline into our armies, which subsequently rendered the 
American soldiers a match for the veterans of Wellington. The 
winter of 1812, Ripley spent at Burlington, Vermont, engaged in 
perfecting his regiment, which now became a model for all others. 
In March, 1813, he repaired to Sackett's Harbor, where the army 
was collecting for the attack on York. Ripley shared in that enter- 
prise, and received a wound from the explosion. He was present 
also at the capture of Fort George. In July, he returned to Sackett's 
Harbor, where he was occupied until October, in perfecting the dis- 
cipline of the large body of recruits collecting at that depot. He took 
pari in the descent of the St. Lawrence-, in November of that year, 
and afterwards, retiring to Sackett's Harbor, remained in winter 
quarters there until the spring of 1814. On the 15th of April of that 
year, Colonel Ripley was created a Brigadier-General, and joined 
the army of Brown, about to begin the glorious campaign of that 
season, on the Niagara. He was present with his command, at the 
battle of Chippewa, on the 5th of July. Subsequently, on the 24th 
of the same mouth, he played a prominent part in the battle of 


Lundy's Lane, certainly the most hotly contested, if not the most 
splendid action of the war. 

On the afternoon of that day, Brown received a note from a trust- 
worthy source, informing him that the British had thrown a thou- 
sand men across from Queenstown to Lewistown, nine miles below 
Chippewa. The American General, conjecturing that the enemy's 
object was to capture our stores at Schlosser, and intercept supplies 
coming down from Buffalo, immediately determined to recall him 
from this design, by threatening his forts at the mouth of the Niagara. 
Accordingly, Scott's brigade wusdetached with this purpose. Scott had 
proceeded about two miles in the direction of the forts, when, 
from a hill, he discerned some British otficers near a mansion about a 
mile distant. Advancing, he learned that the enemy was in some 
force on the other side of a wood ahead. The command of this 
spirited young officer consisted of thirteen hundred men; but, as he 
believed that half of Riall's brigade had been thrown across the 
Niagara, he did not hesitate to push on. " We whipped them at 
Chippewa," he said to his soldiers, " and we can do it again, :nv 
lads !" Having hurried off a messenger to Brown, announcing the 
vicinity of the foe, he prepared to pass the woods, in front of 
Forsyth's house, the mansion where the officers had been seen just 
before. What was his astonishment, however, to perceive directly 
in his front, drawn up in Lundy's Lane, a force, which his practised 
eye knew to be superior to that he had encountered at Chippewa. 
As he wheeled in their front, the clatter of musketry, and the roar 
of artillery, simultaneously crashed upon his ears, and, for a moment, 
his men recoiled before the fire with which they were thus unexpec- 
tedly greeted. 

The crisis was one to try the courage of the boldest. The enemy 
were evidently in very strong force, and admirably posted. Scott, 
in reality, was in a trap. To have retreated, under the circum- 
stances, would have been the course of an ordinary leader ; but this 
gallant you.ig commander was too spirited for this, and besides, fie 
knew that to fall back, would create a panic in the reserve, then 
coming up, and which had never yet flushed itself in battle. His 
determination was instantaneous and heroic. " We will all die here," 
he said, " but never yield an inch." And, ordering the troops to 
deploy into line, at a distance of but one hundred and fifty paces 
from the foe, the sanguinary struggle began. The sun was only 
half an hour high, and already the western sky was tipped with purple 
tints. Soon the thick smoke that rolled upwards from the field, 
darkened the prospect. Near by was that eternal cataract, which, 
xiv* 21 


pouring the waters of four lakes down its gigantic abyss, keeps up, 
night and day, the same unceasing roar : and continually, between 
the sharp explosions of the platoon firing, that deep bass rose like a 
grand symphony. 

Lundy's Lane is a ridge, nearly at right angles with the Niagara 
river. Here, the enemy was posted, his left being in a road parallel 
to the stream, and hence at right angles to the lane. A space of two 
hundred yards covered with brushwood, extended between the two 
positions of the British army. Scott, with prompt genius, availing 
himself of this separation, ordered Major Jessup, under cover of the 
approaching twilight, to steal along these bushes, and turn the 
enemy's left. The order was quickly executed. So unexpectedly 
did Jessup burst on that portion of the British line, that it gave way 
on the instant before him, and General Riall, with other officers, 
was taken prisoner. To have kept the position, however, would 
have been impossible. Hence, with loud cheers, Jessup's command 
charged back, cutting oif a portion of the enemy's left wing, and 
renewed its position in the line under Scott's immediate command. 

The British now made an attempt to turn our right, but this was 
promptly met by Scott, who detached Major M'Neill, with his 
battalion, to drive back the enemy. A furious conflict ensued. The 
shame of being balfled by an inferior force, seemed to transport the 
British to madness, and they fought, at this point, with even more 
than the desperate valor they had shown at Badajoz, Ciudad Rode- 
rigo, and San Sebastian. But the Americans, stimulated by the glory of 
repulsing such veterans, met them with a blaze of musketry that 
almost blinded the sight. Then was seen what men will do and 
sutler when inflamed by the rage of battle. The soldiers, on either 
side, appeared to think no more of the deadly balls flying about than 
Italians do of the missiles at a carnival. The soldier fell in his 
ranks; the ofllcer died at his post. The detachments were reduced 
fearfully in numbers, yet still each line was alternately a blaze of 
fire, and both seemed resolved not to give way. Finally, the British, 
completely exhausted, fell back. Our flanks were safe. 

The strife had raged for two hours. The sun had long since set ; 
even the twilight had departed; and the moon, at first shining 
calmly over the scene, was now obscured by smoke. The struggle 
was continued solely by the flashes of the guns. The left of the 
enemy had been turned and cut off; his right had been hurled back 
from its assault on our flank. But his centre still stood firm. It was 
securely posted on the right, at the head of Lundy's Lane, and was 
supported by nine pieces of artillery, admirably secured. Between 


tliis portion of the enemy's army, and the front of our own, the con- 
test waxed more desperate at every moment. It was at this point 
o( the battle, when the darkness completely hid the enemy from 
sight, that Captain Brooke, taking a lantern wrapped in cloth, stole 
onward until he had discovered the exact ground occupied by the 
(oe, and then, climbing a gnarled tree, deliberately fastened the light 
in the line of fire. After this deed of chivalric courage, he returned 
safely to his company. The struggle now grew more deadly. It 
was supported, on our side, by the battalions of Brady and Leaven- 
worth, sustained by Towson's artillery. The enemy replied with 
equal obstinacy, long sheets of flame running across the height, like 
lightning shooting in the edges of a cloud. Yet the Americans were 
not to be driven from their position. Wide gaps were discerned in 
their line, but not a man of that heroic brigade flinched. All through 
that terrible night, for the battle raged until twelve o'clock, the men 
stood to their posts, determined to die there if necessary, but never 
to rly. Messenger after messenger had been sent off by Scott, to 
hasten the approach of Brown ; and, at last, the ammunition began 
to give out. Then it wasthatan incident occurred so eharacteristicof the 
indomitable spirit of the American soldier, that it alone throws more 
light on the victory that followed, than woind pages of scientific 
description. As the cry for ammunition passed along the line, a 
soldier fell shot through the heart. Clapping his hand to his side, 
lie cried, " cartridges in my box !" Scott, who was but a few paces 
distant, ran to the man, but lie was already dead. His last breath 
had been exhausted in telling his fellow soldiers that they would 
rind cartridges on his corpse. 

When Brown finally reached the scene of combat, to which he 
had hurried as soon as he could concentrate his forces, he found the 
brigade of Scott nearly cut to pieces. He resolved instantly to with- 
draw it to the rear, where it might recruit its exhausted ranks, while 
he brought up Ripley's fresh troops to maintain the contest. Being 
now in force to make a serious attempt on the foe, Brown determined 
to carry the battery at the head of the lane, that being the key of 
the British position. Accordingly, Colonel Miller was directed to 
storm this height in front ; while to Ripley was entrusted the task 
of driving the infantry that supported it. When the American 
commander, riding up to Miller, asked him if he could take the 
battery, the heroic answer was, " I will try!" Piloted by Scott 
through the darkness to the foot of the ascent, Miller rushed up the 
height, and seized the guns almost instantaneously. As Scott re- 
turned from performing his duty as guide, he saw that Ripley and 


the British infantry had come into action, at only twenty paces 
distant ; and, for a moment, he paused to witness the terrible strife. 
The enemy's line far outflanked the Americans, but nevertheless, 
the latter stood stubbornly to their ground. Ripley never fired until 
just after his adversary, choosing to wait for the flash of the British 
muskets in order to take aim: thus, the vollies from either side 
followed, like alternate claps of thunder. The night was intensely 
dark. The blue smoke lay thickly packed between the hostile lines, 
and, at every discharge, was lit up by a sulphurous glare, like the 
ghastly flame burned by magicians at their incantations. 

The enemy, having been reinforced in the meantime, now made 
a desperate attempt to regain the height. But, after a fierce struggle 
he was repulsed. Again he returned to the charge, and again was 
driven back. Scott's brigade, which had now been re-formed, par- 
ticipated in this rebuff. A third trial was made, but with like ill 
success. The American army, prior to these struggles, had taken 
up a new position, being drawn up with its back to the river, and 
at right angles to the lane. During the successive combats that took 
place for the possession of this ground, Scott had twice formed 
portions of his brigade into column, advanced, charged the enemy's 
line also advancing, penetrated it, and driven it in disorder back. 
Wherever he called on his men to go, they followed, inspired by his 
heroism. Twice he had horses shot under him. He was wounded 
in the side ; but still kept the field. At last a musket ball disabled 
his left shoulder, and he sunk fainting to the ground. 

It was eleven o'clock when Scott was carried olf the field, and 
shortly after, Brown being also severely wounded and compelled to 
retire, the chief command devolved on Ripley. But the action was 
nearly over. Once more the British attempted to drive the Ameri- 
cans from their position, but were gallantly repulsed ; and then, with 
the approach of midnight, the struggle ceased. Rarely had a battle 
been so fiercely contested. The Americans lost eight hundred 
and sixty; the British rather more: each side about a third of its 
numerical force. Finding that the enemy no longer molested him, 
Kipley determined to return to camp in order to recruit his men : 
accordingly he fell back towards Chippewa, but without bringing 
off the captured artillery, in consequence of its being dismantled. 
When he reached head-quarters, Brown sent for him, * id ordered 
that the troops should be put into the best possible condition ; that 
adequate refreshment should be supplied them; that the pickets and 
camp-guards should' be called in to increase the force as much as 


possible; and that, with the dawn, Ripley, returning to the battle- 
field, should meet and beat the enemy, if he again appeared. 

Ripley, in consequence, advanced to Lundy's Lane in the morning, 
but finding the enemy had been reinforced in the night, deemed it 
most prudent to retreat. Brown was, at first, indignant at this con- 
duct, asserting that his orders to Ripley left no discretion in that 
officer. The latter, however, alleged that the instructions of the 
General were "to be governed entirely by circumstances." It is 
hardly probable, from the dogged resolution of Brown, that the 
Commander-in-chief, if well, would have made a retrograde move- 
ment ; but, on the contrary, it is nearly certain that he would have 
joined battle, and fought until he conquered, or was cut to pieces. 
In Brown's composition there was something of the iron will of 
Luther, who said that he would go to Worms, if every tile on the 
house-tops was a devil. Ripley had less stubborn tenacity. He 
belonged to the prudential school of Harrison, not to the fiery one 
of Scott and Brown. He was a second-rate General on such a field 
as Lundy's Lane ; but, in retarding an enemy during a retreat, had 
no superior: as the army discovered, subsequently, when compelled 
to fall back on Fort Erie. 

This retreat began on the 26th of July. Breaking down the 
bridges as he retired, and throwing other impediments in the British 
advance, Ripley conducted the troops to Fort Erie, which he began 
immediately to strengthen. The retrograde movement had, mean- 
time, received Brown's sanction, though he still preferred that to 
another officer than Ripley should be confided the defence of the 
army, and accordingly sent for General Gaines, who arriving at the 
Fort on the 4th of August, superseded Ripley. The latter, however, 
had skilfully employed the interval. Never did soldiers work more 
assiduously than the Americans on their entrenchments. The six 
days that elapsed between the arrival of our army and the appear- 
ance of the enemy sufficed to render the place impervious to assault: 
and to the energy of Ripley the salvation of this remnant of Brown's 
heroic division is altogether to be attributed. The enemy, finding 
that he could not carry the fort by storm, began a regular invest- 
ment, which continued until the latter end of September. During 
this period an unsuccessful attemp: to assault the place took place, 
on the morning of the 15th of August. A triumphant sortie, made 
by Brown, who had recovered sufficiently to assume command, 
virtually closed the siege on the 17th of September. 

In the sortie under Brown, Ripley led one of the detachments, and 
received a severe wound, from which his life was despaired of for 



nearly three months. A year elapsed before he was fit for military 
service, and by that time peace prevented his return to the field. He 
was, however, rewarded with the brevet of a Major-General. Nor 
was this all, for by a vote of Congress, on the 3d of November, 1814, 
he was presented with a gold medal for his gallantry at Chippewa. 
Lundy's Lane, and Fort Erie. 

Ripley, in 1315, removed to Baton Rouge, near New Orleans, 
where he had an estate. He was subsequently elected to Coneress. 
He died in 1834. 

sUfpssIS SS 



AMES M I L L E R , a Brigadier-Gene- 
ffijjs ral in the army of the United States, was one 
«g3 of the most spirited, daring, and competent 
r^-fic officers in the war of 1812. He isparticular- 
{$M&i ly celebrated for his conduct in the battle of 
■ Lundy's Lane, where, at the head of his vete- 
ran regiment, he stormed and carried the 
height occupied by the enemy's artillery. 
Miller was born at Petersburg, in the county of Hillsborough, 
New Hampshire, on the 25th of April, 1776. As a lad, he was 
principally celebrated for his love of idleness. One of his first teach- 



ers had been a sergeant in the War of Independence, and took 
pleasure in drilling the boys during the interval of their studies. It is 
probable that the taste of Miller for military affairs was fostered by 
this process. In character, he was bold, self-willed, and at one 
period triumphantly headed what is called a "barring out," among 
the boys, compelling the teacher to grant the required holiday, 
together with an immunity to the young rebels. As he grew older, 
however, a nobler ambition began to actuate him. At the age of 
eighteen, stimulated by a desire to prosecute his education, he left 
his paternal home to attend the Academy at Amherst, with the 
slender outfit of a bundle of clothes, and the sum of one dollar and 
twenty-five cents in his pocket. He remained at the Academy 
until his credit, as well as funds, were exhausted, when lie resorted 
to teachii g ; and thus alternating between pupil and instructor, he 
finally completed his education. In this conduct, we recognize the 
same energy, self-reliance, and perseverance which afterwards ren- 
dered him distinguished as a military leader. 

At the age of twenty-seven, after nine years thus spent, he was 
admitted to practice law, and settled at Greenfield, in his native state. 
When, however, in 1S09, Congress resolved to increase the army, 
Miller received the commission of a Major, having first held the 
post of Captain of Artillery in the New Hampshire militia. He im- 
mediately joined his regiment at Boston, and continued employed in 
garrison duty until 1811, when he was elevated to the rank of 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and ordered to march to Pittsburgh. From this 
place he was detached to join General Harrison. In descending the 
river with his troops, he exposed his person to such a degree, that he 
caught a violent fever, which brought him to the brink of the grave. 
The. want of proper attention prolonged his illness. From the -4th 
of May to the 18th of November, lie slept but two nights under a 
roof. In consequence, ho was not present at the battle of Tippe- 
canoe. The ensuing winter he spent at Vinccnnes, in the family 
of Harrison, employed in recruiting his health. 

In May, 1812, he received orders to join General Hull. He over- 
took that officer at Urbana, and accompanied him to Detroit. The 
supplies from Ohio having been cut off by the British and savages, 
Miller was detached, with six hundred regular troops, to open the 
communication. He started on this expedition on the evening of 
the 8th of August, 1812, and on the following day came up with 
the enemy, at Brownstown. The force of the latter consisted of three 
hundred British, and four hundred and fifty Indians, who were 
posted on strong ground, defended by artificial means. Miller proi lpt- 



!y assaulted the works, and, after a short conflict, defeated the enemy. 
Tecumseh, and a few other savages, who had leaped over the breast- 
work, confident of victory, were gallantly repulsed at the point of 
the bayonet. The fugitives were pursued to their boats, about half 
a mile distant. The next day, Miller returned to Detroit. Had all 
the operations of the campaign been prosecuted with the same spirit, 
how different would have been the result ! 

In company with Colonel Cass, Miller was the first American 
officer to carry our flag into Canada. In the affair of Canard, he 
fought with intrepidity, but being unsupported by the General, lost 
the fruits of the victory. But it was in the succeeding year, on tho 
Michigan frontier, that he covered himself with laurels. He was at 
Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, and Fort Erie, on all which occasions he 
displayed the utmost gallantry. At the battle of Lundy's Lane, 
when it became necessary to carry a height which commanded the 

■'*-'■ ' U. S 


V '. 


. . . 


field, and on which the British artillery was posted, General Brown 
rode up to Colonel Miller, and said : " Sir, can you take that bat- 
tery ?" " I will try !" was the laconic reply. The night was so dark 
that Scott, who was familiarly acquainted with the ground, had to 
xv 2* 


pilot the regiment to the required position. In a few minutes. Mil- 
ler reached the foot of the ascent. With a wild huzza, the troops 
rushed up the hill, charging to the cannon's mouth. The battery 
was carried in an instant. The victory was won. 

Miller was promoted to the rank of a Brigadier-General for his 
conduct at Chippewa. In the sortie at Fort Erie, he commanded 
one of the detachments, and carried, in thirty minutes, the two prin- 
cipal batteries of the British. For his brilliant conduct on these 
occasions, he was presented, by a vote of Congress, with a gold 
medal, the motto being the two memorable words he used at Lun- 
Hv's Lane. When the war ceased, he left the army, and retired 
to his estate at Peterborough, in his native state, where he continued 
to reside for several years. Here he devoted his time to socinl in- 
tercourse, and to the pursuit of agriculture. In the domestic circle, 
his cheerfulness and kindness were pre-eminent, and the more 
striking, though not the more singular, in consequence of his im- 
petuosity iu the field. It is said few persons could be long in his 
society without being both happier and wiser. 
General Miller was subsequently made Collector of the Port of Salem, 
Massachusetts, where he has since continued to reside. An attack 
of paralysis has deprived him nearly altogether of the power of 
speech, but his other faculties continue unimpaired. 




THIS distinguished officer, now Pay- 
master-General of the army with the 
rank of Brigadier, was considered, in 
the war of 1812, the ablest artillery 
officer in the country. It is doubtful 
indeed, whether he had his superior in 
the world. lie distinguished himself 
on various occasions, the three most 
? v prominent of which were Black Rock, 
Chippewa, and Lundy's Lane. 

Towson was born at a small vil- 
lage called Towsonton, about sevec 
miles from Baltimore, on the 22d of 
received the rudiments of his ed neat ion at a 


!{■ >«*> 


country school, and is said to have shown considerable fondness for 
learning. At the age of sixteen he left the paternal mansion, and 
removed to Kentucky, for the purpose of cultivating a farm there 
belonging to his father; but finding the property in dispute, lie soon 
left that state and removed to Xatches, in the then Mississippi terri- 
tory, where he resided for three years. During the time lie dwelt 
at this place, Louisiana was purchased by the United States. Sus- 
picions of some dilliculty in annexing it being entertained, Governor 
Clairborne, of Mississippi, raised a band of volunteers and marched 
to New Orleans. Of this force Towson was one, making his first 
essay in arms. 

In 1805 Towson returned to Maryland, and from this period until 
the war of 1S12, was chiefly occupied in agricultural pursuits. He 
retained, however, a fondness for military affairs, and served as 
Adjutant in the seventh Maryland militia. A portion of his leisure 
hours he devoted to the cultivation of poetry. From these com- 
paratively quiet pursuits he was called away on the 15th of March, 
1812, and received the appointment of Captain of artillery in the 
army of the United States, a post which his reputation for military 
talents, rather than any predominating influence, had obtained for 
him. He soon recruited his company, and, in August, joined his 
superior officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, at Philadelphia. Imme- 
diately after, Scott was ordered to General Dearborn's head-quarters, 
on the northern frontier, whither he repaired with Towsoirs and 
Parker's companies. 

Towson now signalized himself by performing his first exploit. 
•Beingat Black Rock,protectingthe fittingout of the vessels for the lake 
service, Lieutenant Elliott projected the capture of two of the enemy's 
ships lying under the guns of Fort Erie, and the lot fell on Towson 
to command one of the two boats destined for the expedition. He 
accordingly boarded and carried the Caledonia in the most gallant 
manner. Indeed the whole brunt of the fight fell on him, for having 
been the first to attack, the approach of Elliott was unperceived, and 
the latter took his vessel almost by surprise. The Caledonia sub- 
sequently grounded, but was saved by the intrepidity of Towson, and 
afterwards became one of Perry's immortal fleet. For his conduct 
on this occasion he received the brevet of Major. 

At the battle of Qucenstown, Towson remained with his artillery 
on the American shore ; for there were no boats in which he could 
cross. He kept up, however, a spirited cannonade on the enemy's 
position. In the spring of 1S13, he was attached to General Winder's 
brigade, and participated with it in the attack on Fort George. At 


the encounter at Stoney Creek he was the senior officer of artillery. 
Here he lost his guns, and was himself made prisoner; but lie suc- 
ceeded in effecting his escape, and even regained two of his pieces. 
While the army subsequently lay at Fort George, there were almost 
daily skirmishes between the Americans and British ; and in one 
of these affairs. Towson received a wound in his hand. He was left 
at Fort George, when Boyd moved down the St. Lawrence. After- 
wards his company was marched to Sackett's Harbor, where it 
continued until April, 1814. 

In the battle of Chippewa Towson played a distinguished part: 
indeed, after Brown and Scott, he was the hero of the day. His 
company was the only artillery one on our side, engaged in the 
action. The enemy had an equal number of guns, but while Towson's 
were only six pounders, those of the British were twenty-four poun- 
ders. At the beginning of the action the pieces of the foe were well 
served, and their fire was very destructive ; but so elose and well 
aimed were the discharges of Towson, that, before the battle was 
half over, the British guns were silent, their ammunition wagon 
blown up, and most of the artillery horses killed. It was with great 
diiliculty that the guns were saved in the retreat, and then only by 
the interposition of the dragoons, who harnessed their animals to the 
pieces and galloped olf with them at the last extremity. Towson, 
during this battle, was laboring under an inflammation of the eyes, 
and, for a time, could not distinguish the exact position of the enemy 
through .the smoke. When Scott was about to make the brilliant 
movement, by which he crushed the enemy's battalions between his 
own, he perceived that Towson was firing in the wrong direction, 
and hastening to his side, he reined in his steed and pointed out 
where the British were. Towson instantly changed the direction of 
his pieces, and, loading with cannister, opened an oblique fire, which 
enfiladed the enemy from right to left. The effect was murderous. 
The masses of the foe were prostrated, as when a hail-storm beats 
down the corn. This fearful fire, seconded, as it was, by Scott's 
movement, won the day. The British fell back, and victory was 
ours. For his conduct on this glorious field, Towson received the 
brevet of a Lieutenant-Colonel. 

At Lundy's Lane, Towson again earned laurels. The charge of 
Miller, which carried the key to the enemy's position, was made at 
the suggestion of Towson. During the battle, his immediate com- 
mand suffered severely. Both his Lieutenants were wounded, and 
ol thirty-six men who served at his guns, twenty-seven were killed 
01 injured. At last, on the arrival of the reinforcements, he was 


partially relieved from his perilous position. But the victory was 
owing to the invincible courage with which Towson, Jessup, and 
others of that stamp, disputed the ground for the first two hours. 
The official report of this battle says: "Towson's company attached 
to the first brigade, was the first and last engaged; and, during the 
whole conflict, maintained that high character which they had pre- 
viously shown, by their skill and valor." 

Towson was at Fort Erie on the night of the memorable assault, 
August the 15th, 1814. He commanded at the left Hank, which 
proved to be the post of danger and honor. The night had been 
rainy, and was still pitch dark, but the sentinels kept good watch, 
and detecting the steps of the approaching column, gave notice to 
Towson, who at once opened a rolling fire on the assailants. For 
some minutes, it is said, his bastion was a sheet of flame. So inces- 
sant, indeed, were the discharges that the soldiers called his battery, 
Towson's light house ; a name which stuck to it to the close of the war. 
(General Ripley, in speaking of this part of the action, says: "I cannot 
refrain from adverting to the manner in which Captain Towson's 
artillery was served ; I have never seenit equalled. This oificer has 
so often distinguished himself, that to say simply he is in action, is a 
volume of eulogium: the army, only to be informed he is there, by 
a spontaneous assent are at once satisfied that he has performed well 
his part." 

At the close of the war Towson was assigned the command of the 
troops at Boston, lie was subsequently at Newport, R. I. In 1819, 
lie left the line of the army, and was appointed Paymaster-General, 
which office he has since continued to fill. In 1834, under the act 
recommended by President Jackson, Towson became entitled to an 
additional brevet ; and accordingly took rank as a Brigadier from 
the 15th of August, 1S24, the tenth anniversary of the battle of 
Fort Erie. 

Towson, from his elevation to the Paymaster-Generalship has 
resided principally at Washington. He continued to fulfil the duties 
of his responsible station, until January, 184S, when he was ordered 
to Mexico, to preside at the court of enquiry held on the Commander- 

We may close this sketch with the opinion passed on him by 
Wilkinson, certainly not a lenient judge: "At Chippewa, as at 
Minden, the fate of the day was settled by the artillery; and the 
American Towson may deservedly be ranked with the British 
Phillips, Drummond and Foy." 


HE name of Jessup has long been 
associated, in the popular mind, 
with all that is brilliant and daring. 
He was one of that glorious band of 
young men who distinguished them- 
selves in the campaign of 1814, and 
who may he considered the founders 
of that high military spirit which 
iflM |5N5 now distinguishes the republic. It 
— ~~- was Scott, Towson, Jessup, Worth, 
and others of like heroic mould, who first taught the now admitted 
fact, that an American soldier must never contemplate the proba- 
bility of defeat. 

Jessup was born in Virginia, about the year 17S8. While he 
was still very young, his family emigrated to Ohio. The earlier 
years of this distinguished otflccr were accordingly passed on the 
frontier, where the physical qualities generally expand more than 
the intellectual ones. Jessup, however, early showed considerable 
ability. He was especially distinguished by a taste for military pur- 
suits. In May, 1808, he entered the army as a Second-Lieutenant 
of infantry, Scott entering on the same day as a Captain of artillery. 
When the war of 1812 began, his rise was rapid and brilliant. 

At the battle of Chippewa, Jessup, now a Major, commanded the 
battalion on the left flank of Scott's brigade. He had been ordered 



10 prevent the enemy outflanking him, and in his effort to effect his 
purpose, found himself pressed both in front and on the flank, while 
his men were falling fast around him. The emergency was critical. 
An ordinary officer would have lost the day. But Jessup, ordering 
his battalion, with a firm voice, to " support arms, and advance," 
the men, animated by his lofty courage, obeyed, and swept the field. 
The manner in which, amid a desperate fire, his battalion executed 
this movement, has always received warm praise, and the credit of 
the success, in this part of the field, is attributed entirely to his cool- 
ness, promptitude and courage. For his conduct at Chippewa, he 
received the brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel. 

In the battle of Lundy's Lane, also, he reaped laurels. In this 
action, he commanded the twenty-fifth regiment. Perceiving that 
the British commander had thoughtlessly left a road behind him 
unguarded, Jessup rallied his brave troops around him, and precipi- 
tated himself into the enemy's rear. For a few moments the British 
stood their ground, but the slaughter among them was dreadful ; and 
at the fourth fire of our infantry, they fled down the road. General 
Kiall, with many ollicers of rank, fell into the hands of Jessup by 
this daring movement. The British Commander-in-chief, Lieuten- 
ant-General Drummond, would also have been captured, but Jessup 
hearing that the first brigade was cut to pieces, and finding himself with 
but two hundred men, surrounded by the enemy, thought it advisa- 
ble to retreat, and save his command. At a later period of the 
combat, after the height in the lane had been carried by Miller, 
Jessup, with the twenty-fifth, assisted that officer to repel three 
several assaults on the position. For his demeanor in this battle, 
Jessup was brevetted a Colonel. 

After the peace, Jessup was retained in the army. In 1818, he 
was appointed Quartermaster-General, with the rank of a Brigadier. 
In 1S2S, he received the brevet of a Brigadier in due course. When 
Scott was recalled from Florida, Jessup was appointed to the vacant, 
command. He continued in charge of the Seminole war for many 
years, and it was during the period of his command that Osceola was 
captured. After the battle of Okee-Chobee, Jessup was recalled, 
and the conduct of the war confided to Taylor. 

Jessup accompanied Scott to Mexico, where, however, he did not 
remain long. The duties of his office, though important, did not 
call him into active service, and, consequently, he had no means of 
signalizing himself. 

^ ^ 


^j D M U N D Pendleton Gaines, 
^ a brevet Major-General in the 

army of the United States, was 
A the hero of Fort Erie. He 
was born in Culpepper county, 
Virginia, on the 20th of March, 1777. 
Shortly after he had attained his thir- 
teenth year, his father removed to Ten- 
nessee, and settled in Sullivan county, 
in the immediate vicinity of which the 
Cherokee Indians committed frequent 
depredations. The necessity of self-defence against these foes, turned 
the thoughts of young Gaines to military affairs. He studied every 

23 177 


boolc relating to the art that he could obtain. He became celebrated 
as one of the best shots on the border. At the early age of eighteen, he 
was elected Lieutenant of a rifle company, raised against the 

In January, 1799, he received his first commission, which was that 
of an Ensign in the army of the United States. In the following 
year, he was advanced to the rank of Second-Lieutenant, in the fourth 
infantry. In 1801, young Gaines was selected by his Colonel to 
make a topographical survey, from Nashville to Natchez, in order 
to locate a military road, under the direction of the United States. 
In this duty, and in the survey of certain Indian boundaries near 
the Choctaw nation, he was engaged until 1804. These trusts, thus 
confided to him, show ihe high opinion already formed of his scien- 
tific acquirements. He was now appointed military collector of 
customs for the district of Mobile, and was stationed at Fort Stod- 
dart, thirty-six miles north of the town of Mobile. In 1S0(J he was 
promoted to a captaincy. He was the ollicer who, at this period, 
arrested Burr, under the President's proclamation. Subsequently, 
ho entertained the idea of abandoning the pursuit of arms and 
embracing that of the law ; and even went so far as to ask leave of 
absence, and begin the practice of the profession in Washington and 
Baldwin counties, Mississippi. But the war with England soon 
after breaking out, he resumed his sword, and has not since aban- 
doned it. 

Gaines was attached to the army of Harrison during the campaign 
of 1813, but illness prevented his sharing in the victory of the 
Thames. He had now been raised to the rank of Colonel, and in 
the action at Chrystler's Fields, on the 11th of November of that 
year, commanded the twenty-fifth regiment. His duty, on this day, 
was to cover the embarkation of our troops, after the enemy had 
been checked ; and this service he performed in the most admirable 
manner. Cool in danger, yet sufficiently impetuous; fertile in 
resources, though never visionary; Gaines soon established a very 
high reputation, and was rewarded with the rank of Brigadier- 
General. When, after the battle of Lundy's Lane, the British con- 
centrated all their available forces on the Niagara, and compelled 
the Americans, so lately victorious, to retreat to Fort Erie, it was 
to Gaines that Brown turned his eyes in the illness of himself and 
Scott, to defend that place. Accordingly, Gaines being summoned 
to the fort, superseded Ripley in the command, though without 
making any change in his predecessor's arrangements. Shortly after 
his arrival, in the night between the 14th and 15th of August, 1814, 


the memorable assault on Fort Erie was made. The victory that 
crowned our arms on that occasion, lias made the name of Gaines 
immortal. Had not the enemy been repulsed, the remnant of Brown's 
heroic brigade would have been annihilated, the moral effect of the 
late victories lost, and the war protracted probably for years. 

Fort Erie had been reached by the retiring army on the 27th of 
July, and, from that day, to the third of August, when the enemy 
arrived before the place, the soldiers labored incessantly to strengthen 
ihe works. The forces of the British were about four thousand two 
hundred, while those of the Americans, at no time during the siege, 
amounted to two thousand five hundred. Had the enemy arrived 
two days before, with such overpowering numbers, the Americans 
must have become his prey; but the latter had worked with an 
assiduity almost unparalleled in history, and the British, perceiving 
nothing was to be done by a coup de main, sat down to invest the 
place. The main camp of the foe was placed about two miles from 
the fort. In front of this camp a line of circumvallation extended 
partially around the works ; it consisted of two lines of intrench- 
ments, supported by block-houses. In front of these trenches, batte- 
ries were erected at favorable points. One battery, in particular, 
enfiladed the works. The guns of the enemy were never silent, 
from the moment they were mounted, but continued to pour a 
destructive and unceasing fire on the fort. 

It was on the 4th of August, the day after the investment, that 
Gaines took the command. The following day the cannonade and 
bombardment begun. These were vigorously maintained, varied 
by occasional sharp conflicts between the infantry and rifle corps of 
the two armies, up to the morning of the grand assault. The loss in 
these skirmishes amounted, in the aggregate, to more than the loss 
on the 15th; but the lives were not sacrificed in vain, since, in 
these preliminary contests, the garrison gained confidence for the 
final and decisive struggle. On one occasion, a shell from the British 
penetrated a magazine, which was, fortunately, nearly empty, and 
hence, though it blew up with a terrible explosion, none of the 
works were injured, nor was a single member of the garrison killed. 
Both armies, however, were appalled for a moment. The firing on 
each side ceased. All eyes, on the part of the enemy, were turned 
towards the magazine, where a dark column of smoke, brooding 
ominously over the ruins, magnified the disaster, and caused a shout 
of exultation after the first moments of silence. The hurrah had 
scarcely ceased, before the Americans returned it, and instantly 


opened their batteries afresh. The British replied, and soon this 
interlude was forgotten in the renewed roar of battle. 

Gaines, however, after this, expected an assault, for he knew 
the exp'osion would lead the enemy to suppose he was short of 
ammunition. Accordingly, he held himself ready for an attack at 
any moment. At last, about two o'clock in the morning of the 
15th, the steady tramp of an enemy was heard upon the left, long 
before the darkness allowed his forces to be seen. Gaines was on 
horseback at the time, and promptly galloped to the point of attack. 
Just as he reached the angle of the fort, the musketry and artillery 
opened on the foe, and by the lurid light thus flung across the night, 
he beheld a column, fifteen hundred strong, close upon the works. 
Onward it came, reckless of the tremendous fire, until within ten 
feet of the American infantry. Fortunately an abattis, formed of loose 
brush, intervened, and checked the British regulars, but rapidly 
turning aside, they plunged into the lake, waist deep, in order to 
turn the abattis, and with mutual shouts of encouragement, struggled 
thus towards the works. Gaines, fearing this point would be carried, 
ordered up a detachment of riflemen and infantry, but Major Wood, 
who commanded here, assured him that the position could be held 
without assistance. His words were soon made good. Before the 
deadly fire of Towson's artillery and Wood's musketry, the English 
recoiled, and though they rallied and advanced again immediately, 
they were once more repulsed. After this, no further assault on the 
left, was attempted. 

Simultaneously, however, a much heavier body of the enemy was 
precipitated against the right of the fort, and here, in consequence of 
the immensely preponderating numbers, the contest was more severe. 
The British advanced in two columns. The one on the extreme 
right, was speedily repulsed. But that in the centre, led by Colonel 
Drummond, one of the bravest, yet most brutal men of the royal 
army, was not to be checked, either by the sight of the walls 
crowded with soldiers, the vollies of musketry pouring from them, 
or the torrents ot grape that swept by. His soldiers charged over 
the open ground, down into the ditch, and up its sides, where plant- 
ing their ladders against the parapet, they ascended in despite of 
the Americans. But now the defenders, rallying themselves with 
desperate resolution, for if they failed here, the day was lost, grap- 
pled with the foe, and after a fierce struggle, hurled him back with 
dreadful carnage. The assault was repeated with . indomitable 
spirit, but again repulsed. A third time the enemy planted his 


ladders, and a third time was nearly precipitated into the ditch. 
But now covered by the darkness, which was rendered more dense 
in consequence of the thick masses of smoke that lay packed at the 
foot of the works, the column turned a little to the right, and with 
a sudden rush, re-ascended the ladders, and falling, with pike and 
bayonet on the astounded artillerists, carried the bastion, after a 
brief, but deadly resistance. Colonel Drummond was at the head 
of the storming party, cheering on his men. Captain Williams, in 
command at this point, fell, mortally wounded. Lieutenant McDo- 
nough continued to right until severely hurt, and then demanded 
quarter. It was refused by Colonel Drummond, who rushed at 

him, shouting : " Give the d d Yankees no quarter !" Seizing a 

gun-rammer, McDonough desperately defended himself, scattering 
the enemy right and left, until Drummond, with a pistol, shot hirn 
dead. The British now streamed over the bastion, and attempted 
to rush on the fort, Colonel Drummond, waving his sword in the 

van, and repeating his brutal shout, " No quarter to the d d 

Yankees !" The words, however, this time had scarcely left Ins 
mouth, before he leaped into the air, and tumbled headlong, shot 
through the heart by a private of one of the regiments of regulars. 

Meantime the enemy having been repulsed on the left, Gaines 
had ordered up reinforcements from that quarter. In the interval, 
however, the British were held in check, and kept from advancing 
beyond the bastion, by the rapid and well-aimed dischargesof Captain 
Fanning's field-pieces, which mowed down the foe wherever he left 
covert. Once or twice the Americans attempted to regain the bastion ; 
but the effort was fruitless : they rolled back from its impervious 
sides like a baffled tide receding from the rocks. The night still con- 
tinued intensely dark. But suddenly the whole firmament was lit up 
as at noon-day. The earth quaked. All thought the fort blowing up. 
When the smoke cleared off, the English in the bastion, from which 
the explosion appeared, were seen rushing wildly towards the ditch. 
At the same instant the cause of the disaster was made apparent. 
A quantity of cartridges had been deposited in the end of a stone 
building adjoining the bastion, and these igniting, had blown up. 
The vivid blaze of light was over in an instant, and comparative 
gloom fell around. But, through the darkness, the cries of the 
British, who, in their panic, believed the Americans were going to 
destroy themselves and the fort, rose wild and high over the rece- 
ding echoes of the explosion. 

Captain Biddle hastened to improve this moment of consternation, 
by enfilading the exterior plain and salient glacis with his field-piece. 


Captain Fanning also followed the enemy with rapid and deadly 
discharges from his artillery. The effect of these united fires, con- 
joined with their late affright, was such that the British could not 
recover themselves, but breaking in every direction, fled swiftly 
from the ramparts. When the ensuing morning dawned upon the 
sanguinary scene, two hundred and twenty-one of the enemy were 
found lifeless on the field, besides one hundred and seventy-four 
who had been too severely wounded to be carried off. In addition 
to this, there were one hundred and sixty-eight prisoners. The 
American loss was seventeen killed, fifty-six wounded, and eleven 
missing. Thus ended the assault on Fort Erie. When it is recol- 
lected that on the preservation of that work hung the whole morale 
of the army, and that a distinguished officer of brigade under General 
Brown had declared it impossible to resist successfully, we can form 
some idea, though but a faint one, of the immense importance of 
the triumph. 

On the 28lh of August, Gaines received a wound from the bursting 
of a shell, which incapacitated him for a while from service; and 
accordingly the command devolved again on Ripley. For his g-al- 
lantry in the assault Gaines was soon after brevetted a Major-General. 
Congress voted him also a gold medal. The states of Virginia, 
Tennessee and Alabama each presented him with a sword. On the 
reduction of the army, after the peace, he was retained in his old 

He served for some time in the south, on the Florida frontier. 
Subsequently he was detached to the western department, and was 
in command of it when Black Hawk's war broke out. His move- 
ments were spirited and energetic, but he was soon superseded. He 
was next appointed to his old station in the south, and was there 
when Dade's massacre occurred. He immediately proceeded to 
chastise the Seminoles. In this campaign he was twice attacked by 
the enemy, whom, on both occasions, he repulsed. On the 11th of 
March, 183G, he was superseded by Scott. 

For several succeeding years he was kept in comparative inactivity. 
In 1846, however, he was at New Orleans when intelligence arrived 
of Taylor's peril on the Rio Grande, before the battle of Palo Alto. 
Gaines immediately issued a requisition for a large force of volun- 
teers. For this act, deemed unnecessary at the time, he was recalled 
and censured by a court-martial. 

He still survives, the third officer in rank, in the line of the army. 



ETER B. PORTER, a Major- 
General in the war of 1812, con- 
tributed largely to the success of 
the campaign on the Niagara. — 
Rallying the volunteers in the summer of 
-^ 1813, he continued at the head of that corps 
the army throughout the ensuing year ; 
nd at Chippewa, Lundy's Lane and Fort 
i^jj jj ^ AjllkEric fought with the personal intrepidity of 
a hero. For his services at this eventful 
period of our history, Congress, by a resolution of November the 3d, 
1814, presented him with a gold medal. 

Porter was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, on the 14th of August, 
1773. After completing his preliminary studies, he entered Yale 
College, where he subsequently graduated with high honor. Having 
afterwards studied the law, he settled to practise in his native place. 





Here he rose rapidly to influence. He was elected to Congress, and 
in that body chosen chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations. 
In 1811, he was appointed a commissioner in relation to inland 
navigation ; and he had thus the honor of being one of the first 
to lay the corner stone in the prosperity of New York. The war 
of 1812, however, called him to sterner duties. Having removed 
to Black Rock, he was there when the descent was made on that 
place in 1813, and, placing himself at the head of the hastily col- 
lected volunteers, succeeded in repelling the attack. From that hour 
he was an active participater in the war on the northern frontier. 

Porter having been made a Brigadier-General, was present with 
his command at the battle of Chippewa. His task was to march 
through the woods, and endeavor to turn the right of the enemy ; 
but though foiled in executing this duty, he gallantly met and re- 
pulsed the British. General Brown, in his official despatch, says : 
"The conduct of General Porter has been conspicuously gallant : 
every assistance in his power to afford, with the description of force 
under his command, has been rendered. " In the battle of Lundy's 
Lane, also, Porter signalized himself; and by his personal heroism, 
excited that of his corps. General Brown officially speaks of him 
as follows: "It is with great pleasure I saw the good order and 
intrepidity of General Porter's volunteers from the moment of their 
arrival ; but, during the last charge of the enemy, those qualities 
were conspicuous. Stimulated by their gallant leader, they precipi- 
tated themselves upon the enemy's line, and made all the prisoners 
which were taken at this point of the action." 

In the series of skirmishes at Fort Erie, ending with the repulse 
of the British assault on the 15th of August, 1S14, Porter played a 
very prominent part. During the terrible morning of the 1.5th, he 
commanded the centre, and, with his riflemen and volunteers, con- 
tributed materially to the victory on that occasion. For his conduct 
during this campaign, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. 
At the close of the war, Porter returned to political life, and in 
1815, was elected to Congress. During the ensuing year, the office 
of Secretary of State was tendered to him, but he declined it. He 
was one of the commissioners appointed, in 1S17, to run the boun- 
dary line between the United States and Canada. He was Secretary 
of War for awhile under the Presidency of John Quincy Adams. 
In 1829 he retired to private life. 

Porter died at Niagara, on the 20th of March, 1844. 


N the struggle for Independence 
the west was a wilderness, and 
consequently could furnish no 
heroes for the war. But since 
that period, it has supplied, per- 
haps, more soldiers and Generals than any- 
other section. Alexander Macomb was the 
first military commander born in the west 
I who rose to distinction. His birth occurred 
at Detroit, in the present state of Michigan, 
on the 3d of April, 17S2. While still a child, however, the family 
removed to New York, and young Macomb was placed at a cel- 
brated school in Newark, N. J., to be educated. Here he remained 
several years. 

1$5 24 vix* 


In 1798, the difficulties with France became so serious as to 
threaten hostilities, and preparations were made actively throughout 
the Union for a war with that republic. Among others, young 
Macomb tendered his sword to his country, and was enrolled in a 
company called the " New York Rangers/' whose services had been 
offered and accepted by the President. The ambition of the young 
volunteer soon aspired to a commission in the regular army, and, in 
1799, he succeeded in obtaining the appointment of a Cornet. The 
diiliculties between the United States and France being amicably 
adjusted, most of those who had enlisted for the war, retired to more 
peaceful avocations. Macomb, however, had a strong military 
bent, and was eager to continue in the service. Accordingly, on the 
subsequent formation of a corps of engineers, he was appointed to 
a lieutenancy in it, and stationed, for a time, at West Point. In 
180.5, he rose to the rank of Captain, and in 1808, to that of Major. 
During all this time lie remained in the engineers. When, however, 
the war of 1812 broke out, he asked to be transferred to the artil- 
lery, because there would be little opportunity of distinguishing him- 
self in his old corps. He had, during his comparatively long 
service earned a reputation for substantial merit, and, in consequence 
his request was granted. He was appointed u Colonel, and given 
the command of the third regiment. This regiment had yet to be 
raised, but the ranks were not long in filling up ; for in November, 
1812, Macomb was able to join the army on the northern frontier, 
with his new command. Here he distinguished himself at Niagara 
and Fort George. In January, 1S14, he was raised to the rank of 
Brigadier. The charge of the country bordering on Lake Champlain, 
was now entrusted to him, and it was here that he won the battle of 
Pittsburgh, one of the most gallant victories of the war. 

The summer of 1814 was a gloomy one for the United States. 
The war in Europe had just been brought to a close by the abdica- 
tion of Napoleon, and the British veterans, thus disengaged, were 
sent, at once, across the Atlantic. During the month of July, tran- 
sports continually arrived in the St. Lawrence, crowded with the 
troops of Wellington. By the first of August, fifteen thousand men 
had been added to the British disposable force in the Canadas. Nor 
were these reinforcements composed of ordinary soldiers. On the 
eontrary, they were culled from the flower of the English army — 
from the conquerors of Badajoz, San Sebastian, and Bayonne. The 
battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane assisted, in a measure, to 
remove the public despondency, by proving that, against equal 
numbers, our regular troops, when ably commanded, had little to 


fear. But the peril consisted in the overwhelming forces of the 
enemy. Not a week passed in the month of August, which did not 
bring more transports from Europe, with fresh additions of veteran 
soldiers to increase the already overflowing army in the Canadas. 
After numerous additions had been made to the force on the Niagara, 
there remained fourteen thousand men on the lower St. Lawrence; 
and these, organized under Sir George Prescott, were destined, it 
was secretly whispered, to move down Lake Champlain, seize the 
line of the Hudson, and cutting oft' New England from the rest of 
the confederation, finish by capturing the city of New York. 

When this bold design became first known to the Americans, they 
had no army on Champlain competent for resistance, for General 
Izard had just marched towards Niagara with all his disposable 
strength, in order to relieve Fort Erie. Macomb, who now found 
himself the senior oliicer, had no organized battalions, if wo except 
tour companies of the sixth regiment. The remainder of his force, 
which amounted only to about fifteen hundred effective men, was 
composed of convalescents and recruits of the new regiments. His 
works were weak ; the stores were in confusion; the ordnance out of 
order; and, in short, everything in the worst possible condition to 
face an active, enterprising and veteran foe. Every day intelligence 
was brought in that the enemy had approached nearer. His procla- 
mations soon revealed that his design was to attack Plattsburgh. 
At this the inhabitants tied in alarm. Macomb was quickly left 
with no assistance beyond his regulars, except what was de- 
rived from a {e\v men and boys, who, ashamed to desert their 
homes like others, formed themselves into a company, received 
rifles, and went zealously to work. 

But the emergency found the American General with a mind 
equal to its demands. A different spirit pervaded him from that 
which had led to disgrace under Hull and Wilkinson. In 1813, 
perhaps, the Americans would have abandoned Plattsburgh without 
a blow ; but a new race of men had risen to be leaders, and the 
people, who always catch more or less of the feelings of their Gene- 
rals, were now as confident as they would then have been despond- 
ing. Macomb did all he could to increase that confidence. He 
reminded his men of what their fellow-soldiers had achieved at 
Chippewa and Lundy's Lane; and assured them, that if possessed 
of a like resolution, they could as nobly sustain the honor of their 
flag. He divided his little force into detachments, and assigned them 
stations near the several forts, declaring, in his general orders, that 
each detachment was the garrison of its own work, and must rely 


entirely on itself. He lost no time in rallying the country people to 
his assistance. He urged General Mooers, of the militia, to make 
a levy en masse. When the troops began to come in, he sent them 
forward to break up the roads and destroy the bridges. In a word, 
the same system which had been tried with such success to defeat Bur- 
goyne, was now vigorously applied to chock the advance of 
Prevost. Yet, for awhile, every effort to arrest the progress of the 
British proved abortive. The detachments sent out to meet the van 
of the enemy, fell back in confusion. With the proud step of assured 
conquerors, the English advanced against Pittsburgh, and on the 
6th of September, made their appearance before that place, driving 
ill impetuously, the parties of militia that attempted to skirmish on 
their front. Even a body of riflemen that met the enemy debouch- 
ing from a wood, failed to arrest him. A battery of field pieces, 
that next opened on him, had no better success. Undaunted, those 
scarred and sun-burnt veterans, the heroes of a hundred conflicts on 
the hills of Spain, pressed shouting on, never deploying in their 
whole march, but advancing vauntingly in columns. 

The village of Pittsburgh is situated on the north-west side of a 
stream called the Saranac, which, at no great distance, empties into 
Lake Champlain. The American works were placed on the other side 
of the river, opposite the town. Consequently, when the enemy had 
driven in the skirmishing parties of our little army, no resource remained 
but to abandon the village and retreat to the shelter of the works. In 
order to cover this movement, the field-pieces were hurried across 
the bridge, and hastily thrown into battery, when a furious and 
incessant fire was opened on the advancing masses of the British. 
The troops, as they retired, moreover, kept up a running discharge of 
volleys on the foe. By this means every corps succeeded in effecting 
its escape. The enemy maintained the pursuit, iiowever, with the 
utmost gallantry, and, on reaching the bridge, threw parties of sharp- 
shooters into the neighboring houses, from the windows and balco- 
nies of which a continual fire was kept up on the Americans. 
Several desperate but unavailing attempts were made by the enemy 
to drive the guards from the bridge. The Americans, annoyed by the 
sha.-p-shooters, now opened with hot shot on the houses where these 
men had stationed themselves. Soon the fiery missives took effect. 
Speedily several dwellings were in a blaze. Driven from their 
foothold here, the British fell back. Thus the afternoon wore 
away. As the dusk began to fall, the Americans retiring 
wholly across the bridge, tore up its planks, and formed breast- 
works with them. Night settled down, but the battle raged. 


The roar of the artillery, the rattle of musketry, the whistling of the 
balls, and the occasional cheers of the combatants, rose up in awful 
discord, while the lurid appearance of the hot shot, and the conflag- 
ration that lit up the sky when some fresh house took fire, added to 
the horrors of the scene. At last, the British drew off, and aban- 
doned all attempts to force a passage. Not only at the main bridge, 
but at one higher up, defended by militia, the foe iiad been repulsed, 
with heavy loss. 

When morning dawned, it was discovered that the enemy were 
throwing up intrenchments, and the spies soon brought in intelli- 
gence of the approach of his battering train. There was no fear, 
consequently, of an assault that day. Macomb employed the respite 
in sending off new couriers to raise the neighboring country-people. 
To his troops he spoke in grateful terms for the bravery they had 
shown, with the exception of some of the militia, on the preceding 
day, and on these latter, he said he was assured he should, 
on the next occasion, have nothing but praises to bestow. The 
volunteers from New York and Vermont, as well as the regular 
drafts of militia, came pouring into the camp. Macomb immedi- 
ately disposed them along the shores of the Saranac. Continual 
skirmishes occurred for the next four days, and more than once the 
British resumed their attempts to cross the bridges. As he had 
expected, Macomb now found the militia behaving with the utmost 
spirit. Every day increased their confidence in themselves, while 
it diminished their dread of the enemy. The American General, as 
soon as his reinforcements would permit, despatched a strong body 
in the rear of the British army, with orders to harass it day and 
night. Meantime, the regulars were kept assiduously at work on 
the intrenchments. The final trial of strength Macomb knew 
could not be very distant, for the enemy's fleet was hourly advanc- 
ing, and every moment a naval engagement might be expected, 
which would, necessarily, lead to an mack on land. 

The expected battle occurred on the 11th. Early on the morning 
of that day, the British squadron appeared in sight, and about nine 
o'clock, anchored within three hundred yards of the American 
fleet under McDonough, and commenced a brisk cannonade. Sim- 
ultaneously, the batteries of the enemy opened against Macomb's 
defences. The anxious eyes of his army were now called away 
from the naval contest, to watch the demonstrations of their more 
immediate enemy on land. Three several times the British 
attempted to carry the American works. On the first occasion the 
assault was made at the village bridge, where it was promptly 


repulsed by the regulars. Amid a tempest of balls and bombs, the 
soldiers of the enemy were seen rushing to the attack, bearing innu- 
merable scaling ladders, and cheering as they came on. But, 
unappalled by the spectacle, the regulars stood firm, and delivered 
such well-aimed volleys, that the storming party fell back. A 
second attempt, made at the upper bridge, was also repulsed. 
The enemy now turned his attention towards a ford, about three 
miles from the works, hoping to find it unguarded, but here the militia 
lined the wooded shore of the stream, and under cover of the trees, 
poured in a destructive fire. Nevertheless, one company of the 
English army, stung with shame at being thus held in check by 
this irregular force, after the most desperate efforts, succeeded in 
crossing the stream. But the rest of their companions failing to 
follow, they were killed or taken prisoners, to a man. 

Throughout the whole day, the British maintained their cannon- 
ade on the American works. From nine o'clock until sunset, a 
continual roar of artillery, intermingled with the sharper reports of 
musketry, stunned the ears, and shook the solid ramparts. Round 
shot bounded around the works, rockets hissed through the sky, 
and bombs tore up the ground where the Americans stood ; while, 
for a part of the day, the sounds of the naval conflict boomed louder 
and louder across the water. At one point of the battle, it was 
thought that McDonough had surrendered. But when the smoke 
blew away, the American stars and stripes were still seen floating. 
At last the British struck. At this sight, a wild huzza rose up 
spontaneously, from the troops on shore. At dusk the enemy ceased 
his cannonade, destroyed his batteries, and secretly made prepara- 
tions for removing his baggage, a course rendered absolutely neces- 
sary by the unexpected destruction of his fleet. In the dead of the 
night, abandoning his sick and wounded, he began a precipitate 
retreat. The spoils of the Americans were immense. The English 
had retired eight miles before their flight was discovered. The pur- 
suit was then immediately begun, but a heavy storm prevented any 
fruits, except a few prisoners, who were cut orT from the rear guard. 

For his conduct in this defence, Macomb was brevetted a Major- 
General. On the conclusion of peace, he remained in the army,and was 
appointed to the command of the north-western frontier. In 1821, 
he removed to Washington, as chief of the corps of engineers. On the 
death of General Brown, Macomb became commander-in-chief of 
the army. His decease occurred at the capitol, June 25th, 1841. 



of Iial 

AMUEL SMITH, a Major-Genera! 
in the Maryland militia, claims a 
place in this gallery of portraits. It 
was his destiny to serve his country 
through two wars, and in each emi- 
nently to distinguish himself. In the 
! |^ Revolution, he held the rank of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel on the continental estab- 
lishment, and made the gallant defence 
of Fort Mifllin,one of the most brilliant 
affairs of the war. In the contest of 
1 8 1 2, he commanded the American army 
timore, and proved that, though advanced in 



years, he had lost none of the vigor and fire of his youth. He ran 
a civil career also of great splendor. There are few men who have 
shone with more equal lustre, in all capacities, than General Samuel 
Smith, or who survived so long to behold the increasing greatness 
of the little republic for which they bled in youth. 

Smith was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on the 27th 
of July, 1752. His father, shortly after the birth of the son, removed 
to Carlisle, in the same state, and finally, in 1760, settled in Baltimore. 
Here the elder Smith became a successful merchant. The son, having 
finished his education, at the age of fourteen was placed in his father's 
counting-room. He continued serving an apprenticeship here until 
his nineteenth year, when he was sent to Europe as supercargo in 
one of his father's vessels. He spent some time in travelling abroad, 
and on his return home, at the age of manhood, was taken into part- 
nership by his parent. But his bold and energetic mind was better 
adapted for the camp than the counting-house, and accordingly, when 
the War of Independence broke out, he solicitedand obtained a cap- 
taincy in the regiment of Colonel Smallwood. In that gallant band 
he was one of the most courageous. He rose rapidly to the rank 
of Major, and subsequently to that of Lieutenant-Colonel. In the 
latter capacity he won unfading laurels by his defence of Fort Mifilin, 
in 1777, holding the post for a space of seven weeks, against the 
combined land and naval forces of the enemy. His behavior on this 
occasion was so spirited, that Congress, by a resolution of the 4th 
of November, 1777, voted him a sword as some token of their 
approbation. Smith took part in the battle of Brandy wine ; endured 
the privations of Valley Forge ; and was subsequently present at 
Monmouth, the most fiercely contested combat in the north. On 
the conclusion of peace he retired to his adopted state. 

But he was not destined to remain in the private sphere to which 
he had so unpretendingly retired. An insurrection had broken out 
in the western part of Pennsylvania, in consequence of the excise 
laws passed by the federal government ; and Washington, convinced 
that mercy consisted in sharp and speedy remedies, called out an 
imposing force in order to quell the rebellion. Among other states 
Maryland was called on for her quota of troops. At the head of 
these, Smith was placed, with the rank of Brigadier-General in the 
militia. The insurrection having been peaceably quelled, he once 
more retired to private life. His fellow citizens, however, did not 
suffer him to remain unemployed. He had distinguished himself as 
an ardent advocate of the federal constitution, and indeed had no 
small share in procuring its adoption by Maryland : consequently he 


was now honored, by the city of Baltimore, with the post of repre- 
sentative in Congress, an office he continued to hold for many years. 
He was subsequently chosen United States Senator, and continued 
to be re-elected, for successive terms, during twenty-three years. In 
his legislative capacity he distinguished himself as eminently as 
formerly in military affairs. He was a close and logical debater: 
indefatigable in his duties ; and a resolute, persevering and energetic 
advocate of whatever he undertook. His name is found connected 
with most of the great political measures of his day. 

When the threatened descent of the British on Baltimore took 
place, in September, 1814, he assumed command of the defence, by 
right of his rank as Major-General of the militia. His dispositions 
were admirable, both in his preparatory measures, and on the two 
days of the conflict. In anticipation of the landing of the enemy, 
Smith detached General Strieker, on the 11th of September, towards 
North Point. The troops halted near the head of Bear Creek, seven 
miles from Baltimore, where they awaited during the night of the 
11th, further intelligence from the foe. On the following morning, 
the videttes brought in news that the British were landing, under 
cover of their gun-boats, near North Point. The Americans im- 
mediately took up a position at the union of two roads leading from 
the city to the Point; while an advance party, under Major Heath, 
was pushed forward to check the progress of the enemy's van. A 
skirmish in which General Ross, the British commander fell, was 
the result of this movement. Towards three o'clock in the afternoon, 
the enemy's advancing columns came in sight of the main body of 
our army, and, after a preliminary discharge of rockets, the action 
grew general and fierce along the whole line. For nearly an hour 
and a half General Strieker successfully maintained his ground ; but 
finally was forced to give way, and fell back to a new position. 
Half a mile in the rear of the spot where he now disposed his forces, 
was the line of intrenchments which had been drawn around the 
city : and the enemy, seeing this, considered it advisable to draw 
off his soldiers for the night. General Strieker was here reinforced 
by General Winder. Meantime other troops manned the intrench- 
ments, all resolute for the final struggle, which was expected on the 

Throughout the night, accordingly, there was but little sleep in 
the American camp, for many of those brave defenders had families 
in the city, and anxiety for their fate kept all watchful with suspense. 
The dawn at last came, and was ushered in by the sound of guns in 
the direction of P'ort McHenry, where the British lleet had opened a 
xvii 11 


bombardment. The land forces of the enemy were now in full view 
on the Philadelphia road, about a mile and a half in front of General 
Strieker's position ; and directly his masses were seen moving off to 
the right, as if with the design of making a circuit and assaulting the 
city on the York or Hartford roads. Smith promptly manoeuvred 
his forces to counteract this movement of the foe. Finding himself 
foiled, the British General concentrated his regiments in front, and 
advanced to within a mile of the intrenchments, as if with the 
intention o{ assaulting the works before night. This new disposition 
of the enemy led to a corresponding change in Smith's arrangements. 
He recalled Strieker and Winder, and placing them on the right of 
the British, held them ready to precipitate them on the (lank or rear 
of the foe, should an assault be made. Night fell, however, without 
any further demonstrations on the part of the enemy, and compara- 
tive silence gathered around the space between the two armies ; 
though still, in the direction of Fort McfJenry, the battle raged 
without intermission, bombs crossing and re-crossing, like wild 
portents, through the night. 

The attack on this fort had begun, as we have stated, at sunrise, 
on the 13th. The bomb-vessels of the British having advanced to 
within two miles of the place, anchored, on finding that their shells 
reached, and, for more than twenty-four hours, maintained an inces- 
sant fire. The garrison of Fort McHenry numbered about a thou- 
sand men, who were in the highest spirits, and prepared promptly 
to repel the attack of the enemy. Unfortunately, however, it was 
found that the range of their guns was too short to injure the foe, 
and of course the firing on their part was soon abandoned. All 
through that morning the Americans, compelled to inactivity, bore 
without shrinking, one of the most tremendous bombardments that 
ever took place on this continent. An incessant shower of shells 
rained down on the fort, exploding often in the midst of the enclo- 
sures; yet the men, though unprovided with bomb-proofs, remained 
courageously at their posts. Sometimes, as the hissing missile 
came whirling to the earth, it would be discovered that the fuse was 
not yet burned down ; and then, one of the boldest of the garrison 
would hastily extinguish it. At other times, as the shell buried 
itself in the ground, roaring ominously, the by-standers had no 
means of escape except to fling themselves flat on their faces, and 
sutler the explosion to expend itself around them. At still other 
times, the bomb would burst in the air, just before reaching its des- 
tination, scattering its iron fragments among the soldiers of the fort, 
maiming and killing in every direction. 


One of these missiles, about two o'clock, P. M., on the 13th, 

struck the carriage of a twenty-four pounder in the fort, dismount- 
ing the gun, killing a lieutenant, and wounding several men. The 
apparent confusion that reigned for awhile, induced the enemy to 
suppose that he had caused some fatal damage, when, in fact, the 
bustle was created by the endeavor to remount the gun. Deceived 
by this idea, the British grew more bold, advancing three of their 
bomb-vessels closer to the works. No sight conld have been more 
welcome to the Americans. Waiting until the ships had come 
within range, the garrison opened a well-aimed and rapid fire, which 
was the more severe in consequence of the inaction to which it 
had been compelled throughout the day. It was not long before the 
enemy was glad to retire to his old anchorage-ground. When the 
three vessels were thus seen in retreat, a cheer rose simultaneously 
from the main fort and from the two batteries beside it, which rose 
over all the noise of the bombardment, and dying off across the 
waters of the bay, was repeated again and again, until the heavens 
themselves seemed to tremble at the shout. 

Evening dTew on. The silence from the shore showed that the 
land forces were quietly lying on their arms; yet the fury of the 
assault on Fort Mellenry was not intermitted, but rather increased. 
As quiet gathered around nature, the hissing of the shells became 
louder, and the pathways, through which the eye had followed them 
with difficulty all day, now grew luminous, like the track of shoot- 
ing stars. Soon the black arch of heaven was seamed, to and fro, 
by the trail of innumerable shells; for, as the night advanced, the 
firing on the part of the enemy was redoubled. By the ghastly 
light flung across the landscape, two or three rocket-vessels and 
barges were discerned starting for the city, apparently loaded with 
scaling-ladders and men ; but the cannonade opened on them by the 
forts in the Patapseo, soon drove back the adventurous boats. Mid- 
night came, yet brought no cessation to. the strife. As the night 
wore, many a heart beat with terrible anxiety, lest, on the dawn of 
day, the Hag of America should be seen supplanted on the ramparts 
by that of Great Britain. Among others, there was one, a prisoner 
in the enemy's hands, who watched, through ten long hours of that 
terrible darkness, and who, when his eyes were greeted, at sunrise, 
by the sight of his country's ensign still waving over the fort, burst 
forth into exulting lyric, which will continue to be sung with enthu- 
siasm to the latest posterity. 

At seven o'clock, on the morning of the 14th, the bombardment 
ceased. During the night, Admiral Cochrane had communicated 


with Colonel Brook, on whom the command of the land forces had 
devolved ; and the result was, that the further prosecution of the 
enterprise was adjudged impracticable. Accordingly, the enemy 
immediately began a retreat. The bombardment, however, was 
still continued, in order to distract the attention of the Americans. 

The rain, which fell throughout most of the night, and rendered the 
darkness intense, assisted further to cover the retrogade movement ; 
and when it was discerned in the morning by our forces, the 
enemy had gained too great a distance to be pursued with any hopes 
of success, especially by troops exhausted by three days' marching 
and fighting. That evening the embarkation of the British began, 
from North Point, and was completed the next day, shortly after 
the hour of noon. The news of the final retirement of the enemy, 
was received with rapture in Baltimore, and heard throughout the 
country with the liveliest expressions of sympathetic joy. All now 
united to compliment the prudence, skill and energy of General 
Smith, while they did not forget also to remember the courage dis- 
played by his numerous subordinates. 

General Smith survived this battle for nearly twenty-five years. 
On one other occasion, it was reserved for him to play a prominent 
part. It was during the bank riots in Baltimore, in 1S36. When 
the spirit of license and outrage had attained to such a height that 
neither life nor property were any longer safe; when the public 
authorities were set at defiance, and the houses of the civic func- 
tionaries wantonly sacked, General Smith, as a last resort, though in 
his eighty-fourth year, placed himself at the head of such well- 
disposed citizens as were courageous enough to sustain him, ana 
issuing into the streets, carrying the flag of the United States, called 
on all friends of the laws to rally around him. The example of his 
grey hairs, the recollection of his many services, and the sight of 
the banner for which he had fought so frequently, thrilled the crowd 
with enthusiasm, aroused the dormant citizens to a sense of their 
duty, and struck dismay into the rioters. The law triumphed. 
There is no spectacle more grand than that of this aged veteran 
thus fearlessly risking his life against a lawless mob, to preserve 
those liberties, to gain which he had faced the armies of Great Bri- 
tain, sixty years before ! 

In October, 1S3G, in consequence of this act. General Smith was 
elected mayor of Baltimore, almost unanimously. He held the 
otiice until near the period of his decease. On the 22d of April, 
1839, this ased soldier died ; one of the last, as well as best, of the 
men of the Revolution ! 

fevf i 


■ i • 










HERE never, perhaps, was a warrior of 
greater resolution than Jackson. He was a 
man, as Emmett said, to burn every blade 
of grass before an enemy ; or, as the 
Prince of Orange even more heroically ex- 
pressed it, to die in the last ditch sooner than 
submit. He never trifled in great emergen- 
cies, never shrank from assuming the respon- 
sibility required by circumstances, but while 
others wasted precious moments in hesi- 
tation, acted, and with a terrible energy and 
promptitude, which appalled opposition. His determined will has 
passed into a proverb. Whatever he conceived to be right, that he 
fearlessly did, and would have attempted it, even if superhuman 
powers opposed him. He had the nerve of Cromwell, without his 
craft ; the headlong impetuosity of Murat, without his weakness ; the 




desperate resolution and confidence in himself, which carried Na 
poleon from victory to victory. Frequently, his wilfulness degene- 
rated into obstinacy, while his impulsive character sometimes 
hurried him into excess. But, nevertheless, if honesty, patriotism, 
and unflinching adherence to conviction, constitute the hero, then 
was Jackson one in the highest and fullest sense of that term. 

It was his terrible firmness of purpose, more than his skill in 
tactics, which made him so uniformly successful in war. He pos- 
sessed a tenacity that nothing could overcome. He would have 
stood up in single combat, and suffered himself to be hacked, piece- 
meal, but never surrendered. In an unsuccessful campaign, he 
would have struggled long after hope had left every other bosom, 
and then ravaged the line of his retreat with fire and sword, to 
harass his pursuers. It is now known that, if he had been defeated 
at New Orleans, he would have burned the city. His conduct in the 
Seminole campaign of 1818, -when he crossed the Spanish frontier, 
and hung two Englishmen who had fomented the disturbances, is 
another illustration of this point in his character. One less familiar, 
but equally striking, is his refusal to disband the volunteers under 
his command in 1812, when they were at a distance from home, and 
many of them sick, marching them back at the expense of the United 
States, and in direct opposition to orders from Washington. His 
political career furnishes numerous instances of this indomitable 
will. In short, he was inflexible in his own opinion, whether in 
military or civil life. Those who thought with him in politics, con- 
sidered him on this account, a hero ; those who differed with him, 
and party violence never raged greater than in his day, regarded 
him as preversely obstinate. To posterity must be left the task of 
deciding between the two. But all men agree that this firmness was 
invaluable in war, and that America has seen few Generals who 
can compete with the hero of New Orleans. 

Andrew Jackson was born at the Waxhaw settlement, South 
Carolina, on the 15th of March, 1767. His parents had emigrated 
from Ireland only two years before. The father died soon after the 
birth of the son. His mother, though in narrow pecuniary circum- 
stances, aspired to educate her orphan boy to be a minister of the 
gospel ; and, with this purpose in view, placed him at an academy, 
where he continued until the approach of the British army into the 
vicinity, induced him to assume arms. This was in 17Sl,when Jackson 
was only fourteen. He was soon taken prisoner, as well as an older 
brother, and both were cruelly maltreated by their captors, the 
brother especially so, for he died of his injuries shortly after being 


exchanged. The life of Andrew was only saved by receiving on 
his hand the blow intended for his head. The mother soon followed 
her son to the grave, and Andrew became sole heir of the small 
family estate. He now abandoned all thoughts of the ministry, and 
began to study law at Salisbury, North Carolina. In 17S6, he was 
admitted to the bar. Two years after, actuated by that ambition 
which even then carried so many ardent spirits westward, he removed 
to Nashville, at that time a new settlement on the frontier of North 

In 1790, what is now the state of Tennessee was organized into 
a territory, and Jackson received the appointment of United States 
Attorney. From this period he played a prominent part in the 
politics of the district. When the territory was erected into a state, 
in 1796, he was a leading member in the convention to frame a con- 
stitution. His professional career was attended with much success. 
He was even more distinguished, however, in the continual skir- 
mishes with the savages, that took place on that exposed frontier ; 
and the Indians, in compliment to his courage and skill, called him 
'• the Sharp Knife," and the " Pointed Arrow." On the adoption of 
the state constitution, he was chosen a representative to Congress, 
and in the succeeding year, a United States Senator. He disliked 
the intrigues of politics, however, and, after one session, resigned his 
seat. He was now appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Ten- 
nessee, but tliis honorable office also, he soon threw up. Retiring 
to a farm which he had purchased on the Cumberland river, in the 
vicinity of Nashville, he continued to reside there, declining all civil 
employments until the war of 1812 broke out. 

This contest found Jackson a Major-General of the militia. His 
ambition was decidedly military, and though he had refused all 
ordinary olfices, he now sought the commission of a Brigadier- 
General in the army of the United States. His competitor, Win- 
chester, triumphed over him ; but Jackson was not left without 
employment, being sent with nearly three thousand volunteers to 
Natchez, to guard that frontier against an apprehended visit of the 
Indians. The threatened tempest, however, blew over, and Jackson 
was ordered by the Secretary of War to disband his troops on the 
spot. This he refused to do, alleging, that as they were far from 
home, without funds, and many of them sick, such a proceeding 
would be unjust. He consequently kept them together, and led 
them back to Tennessee, where he disbanded them. The govern- 
ment accepted the explanation. In the autumn of 1813, he again 
took the field, at the head of one of the two divisions of Tennessee 


militia, called out to chastise the Creeks, in Georgia, and avenge 
the massacre at Fort Mimms. 

Accordingly, on the 2d of November, Jackson detached Brigadier- 
General Coffee on an expedition against Tallushatchee, which was 
completely successful, and a few days after, followed it up in person, 
by the great battle of Talledega, in which over three hundred of the 
Creeks fell. From this period, until the middle of January, 1814, 
he remained comparatively idle, in consequence of the term of most 
of his troops having expired, though, meantime, the campaign was 
prosecuted with considerable success, by Generals Cocke, Clairborne, 
Floyd, and others, at the head of different detachments. At last, on 
the 14th of January, Jackson was joined at Fort Strother by 
eight hundred fresh volunteers from Tennessee. His force 
was, by this, raised to nine hundred and thirty, exclusive of Indians. 
He immediately began offensive operations. On the 20th, while 
advancing into the heart of the enemy's country, he was joined by 
two hundred friendly Indians. On the 22d, he was attacked in his 
temporary camp at Tallapoosa, by a superior force of savages, who 
were, however, beaten off after a desperate struggle. The scarcity 
of supplies, and the number of his wounded, induced Jackson, on the 
following morning, to commence a retrograde movement towards 
Fort Strother. On the second day of his retreat he was attacked 
by the savages at Enotachopco creek, and, at first, owing to the 
flight of a portion of his troops, the Indians gained some advantage, 
but the regulars manfully standing their ground, the enemy was 
finally repulsed, with a loss of over two hundred of his warriors. 
The Americans were now permitted to prosecute their way without 
further molestation. 

On the 24th of March, Jackson having been reinforced, once more 
inarched into the heart of the Creek country. On the 27th, he had 
reached Horse-Shoe Bend, on the Tallapoosa, three miles beyond the 
spot where the fight of the 22d of January had occurred. Here, as 
the name implies, the river makes a curvature, and in the bend thus 
formed, the Indians had collected for a last desperate stand, fortifying 
the neck of land which led into their retreat, by a breastwork nearly 
eight feet in height, pierced with double rows of port-holes, and so 
constructed that no enemy could approach without being subjected 
to a double and cross fire. Jackson's first care was to line the oppo- 
site side of the river, so as to prevent the escape of the savages. He 
then advanced boldly to the attack of the intrenchments in front. 
The friendly Indians stationed on the banks, becoming warned of 
the battle, crossed over to the peninsula, and drove the Creeks 


into their fortifications. But failing to dislodge them from their 
works, Jackson, after ordering General Coffee's detachment to guard 
the banks, in place of the Indians, advanced to the storm. The 
troops, who had waited impatiently for this movement, received the 
command with loud shouts of joy. The struggle, for a few minutes, 
was awful. The hostile savages fought with the rage of wounded 
tigers, firing rapidly, and with deadly aim, through the port-holes ; 
while the Americans, advancing to the breastwork, struggled, 
muzzle to muzzle, in many cases the balls of the Indians being 
welded on the bayonets of the assailants. At last the intrenchments 
were carried. And now the rout and slaughter became fearful. 
Scarcely twenty of the foe escaped unhurt. Three hundred were 
taken prisoners. Five hundred and fifty-seven dead bodies were 
tound, among them that of Manahoee, the great prophet of the 
Creeks. The loss on Jackson's side, was forty-nine killed, and one 
hundred and fifty-four wounded. From that hour, the proud heart 
of the Creeks was broken. They never again lifted the hatchet 
against the United States, but on the 1st of August, sent their prin- 
cipal chiefs to Fort Jackson to sue for peace. 

This treaty had scarcely been completed, however, before the 
attention of Jackson was required to avert a greater danger. He 
had, after adjusting the Creek difficulties, fixed his head quarters 
at Mobile, and here, on the 27th of August, he received intelligence 
that three British vessels had arrived at Pensacola two days before, 
and after disembarking a large quantity of provisions and munitions 
of war, had placed a garrison of between two and three hundred 
troops in the fort. The express which brought this startling infor- 
mation, also announced that thirteen sail of the line, with ten thou- 
sand troops, and the requisite number of transports, were daily 
expected. On the receipt of this news, Jackson despatched a courier 
to the Governor of Tennessee, requesting that the whole quota of 
the militia of that state should be at once brought into the field. On 
the 15th of September, the British squadron from Pensacola, 
augmented by another ship, made an attack on Fort Bowyer, at the 
foot of Mobile bay, thirty miles below the town of the same name, 
where Jackson was established ; but they were repulsed with a 
slaughter almost unprecedented in the annals of war, one of the 
ships losing one hundred and forty-nine men, out of a crew of one 
hundred and seventy. Having received an accession of force from 
Tennessee, amounting to nearly two thousand, Jackson inarched to 
chastise the Spanish Governor of Pensacola, forallowing the British to 
fit outhostileexpeditionsin that port. He stormed one of the batteries of 
the town on the 7th of November, on which the Governor surren- 



dered the city and fort unconditionally. On this, the British squadron, 
consisting of seven armed vessels, sailed from the harbor. Having 
completed his object, Jackson now hurried to New Orleans, that 
place being threatened by a formidable expedition which had just 
sailed from Jamaica, with the motto of " beauty and booty," to 
stimulate the soldiers: an expedition, forming one of a series begun 
with the express intent, as Admiral Cochrane had officially declared. 
" to lay waste all towns and districts of the United States found 
accessible to the attack of British armaments." 

Jackson reached New Orleans on the 2d of December, and imme- 
diately began to place it in a condition of defence. It is well knowu 
that innumerable channels intersect the delta of the Mississippi, 
below the town. Few of these were properly fortified; and, in con- 
sequence, the alarm was general. Discontent, too, was abroad. 
The city corps had refused to turn out. Spies daily left the city to 
bear information to the enemy, yet the legislature hesitated to sus- 
pend the habeas corpus act. In this crisis, General Jackson acted 
with an energy, which, however despotic it seemed to its victims, 
probably saved the town. He proclaimed martial law, and laid an 
embargo on all vessels in the harbor, thus cutting off treasonable 
communication with the enemy. He called out the militia, en masse. 
He impressed the negroes to assist in the defence. A characteristic 
anecdote will show the vigor and promptitude with which he acted. 
He had taken the cotton of a merchant to use upon the lines, when 
the owner, indignant at this appropriation of his property, called at 
head-quarters to remonstrate. Jackson heard the complaint in 
silence. " All wrong, very wrong, as you say," he remarked in 
his impetuous manner, when the man had closed: "tell that sentry 
to walk in." The merchant, fancying he was about to have resti- 
tution, hurried to obey, and the sentry appeared. " Give that man 
your musket," said Jackson, addressing the soldier, and pointing to 
the merchant : then, turning to the astonished trader, he said sternly, 
" now sir, I will make affairs right — march down to the lines and 
defend your property." Arbitrary as such conduct appeared to the 
listener, it was, perhaps, necessary to the salvation of the city. It 
was a crisis when not only men's property, but their lives belonged 
no longer to themselves, but to the state. 

The British appeared off the mouth of the Mississippi on the 5th 
of December, only three days after the arrival of Jackson at New 
Orleans. One of those circumstances, which appear fortuitous, but 
which are, perhaps, ordained by a protecting Providence, had delayed 
the sailing of the expedition from Jamaica for ten days, and thus, by 
affording time for Jackson's arrival, saved the city. The occurrence, 


not generally known, was this. The fleet of Cochrane, with the 
troops of Packenham were at Jamaica, ready for the expedition, 
except that they were ordered to wait the arrival of a squadron 
from England under Captain Floyd. This squadron had reached 
the port of Fayal, as early as the 26th of September, but finding an 
American privateer, the General Armstrong, in the harbor, had 
determined to capture her. Two several attacks, however, were 
made on the Armstrong without success : the first by three boats, 
the last by sixteen. In these struggles the British lost two hundred 
of their best men. Finding that a third attack, still more imposing, 
was to be made, Captain Reid of the Armstrong scuttled and aban- 
doned her, taking refuge on shore under the Portuguese authorities. 
This assault was made in defiance of the sanctity of a neutral port; 
and when the commandant at Fayal remonstrated against the attack, 
he was told that if he attempted to protect the Armstrong, the British 
would fire on the town. No more spirited defence, than that of this 
little privateer, is recorded in the whole annals of naval history. 
But its greatest merit, though one little suspected at the time, was 
that, by causing a delay of ten days on the part of Captain Floyd, 
it protracted for just that period, his arrival at Jamaica, and the 
sailing of the fleet. If the squadron had not been detained at Fayal 
bv the Armstrong, it is almost certain that the British would have 
arrived off the Mississippi on the 25th of November. At that period 
Jackson had not reached New Orleans, and, as no adequate measures 
were being taken for its defence, the place must have fallen before 
he made his appearance on the 2d of December. 

The British had taken the precaution to make themselves tho- 
roughly acquainted with the topography of the coast, and discovering 
that the routes through Lakes Ponchartrain and Borgue were the 
most assailable means of access to the city, they resolved to lose no 
time in needless delays, but push on at once to the object of their 
desires. An unexpected difficulty, however, soon presented itself in 
a flotilla of American gun-boats, which had been sent to defend 
these passes. A sharp action ensued, in which the enemy, after a 
heavy loss, came off victorious. No obstacle now existing to their 
landing, the troops were disembarked on Pea Island, where some Spa- 
nish fishermen speedily betrayed that the pass of Bienvenu was as yet 
unguarded, and that a vigorous movement of five or six hours made 
from this point, would carry the assailants to the heart of New 
Orleans. Availing themselves of this information, a strong force 
was immediately transported across the river, and before noon on 
the 22d took up a position on Vivery's canal. 


It was at this spot, scarcely nine miles distant from the city, that 
a part of Jackson's staff accidentally discovered the enemy. The 
news spread consternation through the town. But, meantime, the 
American commander had been reinforced by four thousand Ten- 
nessee militia, and by the Baratarians, a body of half piratical men, 
inhabiting some islands on the coast, to whom an amnesty had been 
granted on the condition that they joined in the defence of New 
Orleans. Accordingly, leaving a force to guard the avenues to the 
city in his rear, Jackson marched out to assail the British with all his 
available troops, amounting to fifteen hundred men. His intention 
was to make a night attack on the front and flanks of the enemy ; 
but the plan failing in several important particulars, he ordered a 
retreat, and fell back, after a doubtful engagement, to a narrow 
plain on the road to New Orleans, flanked on the right by the Mis- 
sissippi, and on the left by on impregnable cypress swamp. The 
alacrity, however, with which he otfered in this early stage to meet 
the foe, inspired his army with resolution and checked the ardor of 
the enemy ! 

It had been the intention of General Jackson to march out into 
the open field, and renew the engagement in the morning, but sub- 
sequent reflection on the inferiority of his force induced him to 
resolve on a strictly defensive system. Accordingly, he began for- 
tifying his position with incredible alacrity. A ditch dug for agri- 
cultural purposes, ran along his front from the river to the swamp ; 
it was only left for him, therefore, to throw up an intrench men t and 
erect flanking batteries. Bales of cotton were successfully employed 
for this purpose. Bastions were hastily constructed and mounted 
with heavy camion, to enfilade the whole front. To render the 
position still more secure a battery of twenty guns, flanking the length 
of the parapet, was erected on the opposite bank of the Mississippi, 
and committed to the charge of Commodore Patterson of the navy, 
and a body of militia. 

The English force was under the command of Sir Edward Pack- 
enham, a brave and veteran soldier. This General at first deter- 
mined to make regular approaches to the works; but having failed 
in the attempt, in consequence of the superior weight of the Amen, 
can artillery, he resolved, with the impetuous hardihood he had 
acquired in the Peninsular war, to carry the intrenchments by 
assault, and thus put an end at once to the affair. With troops fresh 
from the Spanish campaigns, he did not doubt of complete suc- 
cess against the raw levies of which his spies informed him the force 
of General Jackson was entirely composed. He neglected, however, 


no advantage which strategy could give him ; for he employed his 
men in secretly widening the canal behind his army, by which boats 
might be brought up to the Mississippi, and troops ferried across to 
carry the battery we have spoken of, on the right bank of the river, 
so as to prevent the assailing columns from being raked by its fire, 
as they moved to attack the parapet. 

These preparations having all been completed by the night of the 
7th of January, Packenham determined on an assault before day- 
break of the ensuing day. Colonel Thornton, with about fourteen 
hundred men, was to cross over by night to the western bank of the 
Mississippi, and, storming the battery there, proceed up the river 
until he came opposite to New Orleans. Meantime, the main attack 
on the intienchments on the eastern bank was confided to two co- 
lumns ; the first led by General Gibbs, the second by General Keane. 
The reserve was commanded by General Lambert. Having made 
these dispositions, the soldiers were allowed some rest ; but many an 
eye refused to sleep ; and the sentry, as he walked his rounds, dreamed 
of past victories, or anticipated the morrow's glory. In the American 
camp all was still. The night was unusually cold, and sounds were 
distinguishable for a long distance; but nothing was heard from the 
British position, except an occasional murmur rising and falling on 
the night wind. 

Various delays occurred on the part of the enemy, to prevent 
Colonel Thornton from reaching his destination in time; and the 
night passed without Packenham receiving the expected news of his 
success. At length, that General became impatient, and, towards 
five o'clock, ordered the assault. Gibbs's column advanced first to 
the attack. Hut the wintry dawn had now begun to break, and the 
Americans, amid a storm of bombs and Congreve rockets, suddenly 
beheld the dark masses of the enemy, at the distance of nine hun- 
dred yards, moving rapidly across the plain. Instantly a tremen- 
dous fire was opened on them from the batteries. But the veterans 
of the 4th and 21st regiments, undaunted by the danger, pressed 
steadily forward. When they came within reach of the musketry 
of the militia, the crash of fire-arms joined its sharp explosions to 
vhe deep roar of the artillery, and burst after burst rolled off across 
the plain, resembling incessant and tremendous peals of thunder. 
Yet that splendid British infantry never flinched. The fire from the 
ramparts, like a stream of burning lava, now filled the intervening 
space ; but still undaunted, these veterans pushed on, closing up 
their front as one after another fell, and only pausing when they 
reached the slippery edge of the glacis. 


Here it was found that the scaling-ladders and fascines had been 
forgotten, and a halt occurred, until they could be sent for and 
brought up. All this time, the deadly rifles of the Americans were 
aimed at the British ranks, which soon, riddled through and through, 
fell back in disorder from the foot of the parapet. Seeing the con- 
fusion, Packenham himself galloped up. Dashing immediately to 
the head of the 44th regiment, he rallied the men, and led them to 
the foot of the glacis, his head uncovered, himself cheering them 
on. While in this very act, a ball struck him, and he fell mortally 
wounded. Appalled by this sight, his troops once more recoiled; 
but their officers, reminding them of past glories, again brought 
them up to the attack ; and, with desperate but unavailing courage, 
they strove to force their way over the ditch and up the fatal 
intrenchments. Quick and close, however, the rifles of the Ameri- 
cans met them at every turn. Again they recoiled. General Gibbs, 
who had succeeded Packenham, was struck down. But the reserve 
was now in full advance; and, notwithstanding the tempest of grape 
and shell which swept the plain, it continued to press on, led by the 
gallant Keane. Soon he, too, fell. But the regiment he led was a 
thousand strong, and composed wholly of Sutherland Highlanders. 
It had faced death in many a battle-field before. Burning to avenge 
the fall of three commanders in succession, it rushed on with inex- 
tinguishable fury, forcing the leading files before it, until the slope 
of the glacis was gained ; and here, though destitute of fascines or 
ladders, the men still pressed on, mounting on each others shoulders 
to gain a foothold in the works, where they fought with the ferocity 
of frantic lions, mad with rage and despair. Few of them, how- 
ever, reached this point ; for the rifles of the defenders cut them off 
almost to a man, before they crossed the ditch, and those who clam- 
bered up the intrenchments, were bayoneted as they appeared. In 
the midst of this terrific carnage, an oiricer on a white horse was 
seen dashing to the glacis. He fell, pierced by a ball, just as he 
reached the edge ; but the noble animal, plunging headlong for- 
ward, over the wounded and the dead, crossed the ditch, leaped ths 
intrenchments with one wild bound, and stood trembling in every 
limb, in the very heart of the American forces. The gallant animal 
was taken care of, and subsequently became a favorite with the 

Thrice the enemy advanced to the assault; thrice he was hurled 
back in wild disorder. Nothing could withstand the terrific fire of 
the Americans. The plain was already encumbered with nearly 
two thousand dead and wounded, and, as fast as the heads of 


columns appeared, they melted away before the grape-shot. On 
the left, some companies, which at first had penetrated to an unfi- 
nished intrenchment, were fast disappearing beneath the murderous 
cannonade. At places where the fiercest struggles had been made, 
the dead were piled in heaps. The fearful carnage of that day 
brought to many a mind the slaughter of the forlorn hope at Bada- 
joz ; and the British officer, who had succeeded to the command, 
almost gave way to audible lamentations, when he saw the full ex- 
tent of the carnage. 

The utter ruin of the enemy's army would have followed, but for 
the success of Colonel Thornton, on the right bank of the river. 
Jackson was forced, in consequence of this, to turn his attention in 
that direction ; and preparations were accordingly made to dislodge 
the foe from his captured position. Before, however, any move- 
ment was made, Thornton was withdrawn from the works, the 
British General not considering himself able to spare sufficient troops, 
after his severe losses, to hold it. Jackson hastened to regain the 
lost battery. The enemy now fell back to his old station, where he 
remained until the 18th, although continually annoyed by the artillery 
of the Americans, on both sides of the river. But, at midnight of 
tha: day, he precipitately retreated, and, regaining his boats, em- 
barked finally on board the shipping. The difficulties of a pursuit 
were so great, from the nature of the ground and other causes, that 
Jackson did not attempt seriously to harass the retreat. A few pri- 
soners were taken, and several transports captured. Thus was 
repelled an expedition, consisting of eleven thousand land troops, 
and four thousand seamen and marines; and which had been so 
confident of success, that it was accompanied by custom-house and 
other civil functionaries. 

For this brilliant victory, Jackson received the thanks of Congress 
and a gold medal. In ISIS, he was entrusted with the command 
of the troops destined to operate against the Seminolcs. His usual 
energy characterised him in this war. He penetrated info Florida, 
to the villages of the savages and fugitive slaves who had joined 
them, devastating their settlements, and carrying fire and sword 
Through all their region. Discovering that the Indians had been 
supplied with arms and ammunition from the Spanish posts in the 
vicinity, he seized these places, and executed two British subjects 
whom he found there, engaged in this lawless traffic. The contest 
was closed by the conquest of Florida. The posts taken by Jackson 
were, however, subsequently restored to Spain ; but an attempt, in 
Congress, to pass a vote of censure on the General, was defeated by 



a large majority. There can be no doubt, nevertheless, that the 
seizure of those posts was a violation of a neutral soil, though, per- 
haps, justified by tho emergency of the case, if not by the secret 
assistance rendered to the Indians by Spain. In 1821, by the pur- 
chase of Florida, the United States rendered any such arbitrary 
measures, for the future, unnecessary. Jackson was now appointed 
Governor of the new territory. But he did not long retain this office, 
resigning it in the following year, and retiring to his farm. 

In 1823, he was elected to the Senate of the United States; but, 
soon after, becoming a prominent candidate for the presidency, va- 
cated his seat. In the electoral college, for 1S24, he received ninety- 
nine votes j Mr. Adams, eighty-four ; Mr. Crawford, forty-one ; and 
Mr. Clay, thirty-seven. The election of a President consequently 
devolved on the House, when Mr. Adams was chosen. In 1828 
however, being again a candidate, he received one hundred and 
seventy-eight electoral votes, while Mr. Adams obtained but eighty- 
three. The history of his administration does not come within the 
seope of this work. In 1S32, he was again elected President by a 
majority of one hundred and seventy electoral votes over h'is antago- 
nist, Mr. Clay. In 1S3G, he retired to private life. 

From this period to that of his death, he resided on his farm, 
which he called " The Hermitage," near Nashville, Tennessee. He 
gradually became enfeebled in body, but retained his mental facul- 
ties in full force. A few years before his decease, he connected him- 
self with the Presbyterian church ; in the communion of which he 
continued, from that hour, a sincere and exemplary member. He 
died on tiie 8th of June, 1S45. 



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