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Title: A History, of the War of 1812-15 Between The United States and Great Britain
Author: Johnson, Rossiter
Language: English
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A HISTORY, OF THE WAR OF 1812-15 BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN

By Rossiter Johnson

Dodd, Mead and Company Publishers

1882

Dodd, Mead & Company.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

Causes of the War 1. Franklin's Prediction, 1.--British Feeling toward
the United States, 2.--The Unsurrendered Posts, 3.--Indian Troubles,
4.--Impressment of Seamen, 7.--The Decrees and Orders in Council,
13.--Declaration of War, 18.


CHAPTER II.

The Detroit Campaign, 21.--First Bloodshed, 21.--Attitude of
Political Parties, 22.--Plans for Invading Canada, 26.--Capture of
Michilimackinac, 30.--Engagements at the River Raisin and Maguaga,
31.--Battle of Chicago, 32.--Hull's Surrender, 36.


CHAPTER III.

Fights with the Indians, 38.--Tecumseh's Scheme, 38.--Harrison's March
to Fort Wayne, 39.--Defence of Fort Harrison, 41.--Defence of Fort
Madison, 43.--Ball's Fight, 44.


CHAPTER IV.

The Battle of Queenstown, 46.--Fight at Gananoqui, 46.--Expedition
against Ogdensburg, 47.--Elliott captures two War-vessels,
48.--Gathering of Forces on the Niagara, 49.--Battle of Queenstown,
50.--Death of General Brock, 55.


CHAPTER V.

War on the Ocean, 61.--The _President_ and the _Little Belt_,
62.--The _President_ and the _Belvidera_, 64.--Hull's Race, 66.--The
_Constitution_ and the _Guerriere_, 68.--Effect of the Victory, 71.--The
_Wasp_ and the _Frolic_, 73.--The _United States_ and the _Macedonian_,
76.--The _Constitution_ and the _Java_, 79.--Nelson's Prediction, 83.


CHAPTER VI.

Minor Battles in the West, 84.--Winchester's Expedition, 84.--Fight at
Frenchtown, 85.--Massacre at the Raisin, 87.--Siege of Fort Meigs, 90.


CHAPTER VII.

War on the Lakes, 98.--The Armaments, 98.--Preliminary Operations,
99.--Expedition against York, 100.--Death of General Pike, 103.--Capture
of Fort George, 107.--Attack on Sackett's Harbor, 112.--Battle of Stony
Creek, 118.


CHAPTER VIII.

Battle of the Thames, 140--Harrison's Advance, 140.--Proctor's Retreat
141.--Nature of the Ground, 141.--Disposition of the Indians, 143.--The
Battle, 144.--Death of Tecumseh, 146.--Flight of Proctor, 146.--Results
of the Campaign, 148.


CHAPTER IX.

Wilkinson's Expedition, 149.--Armstrong's Plans, 149.--Position of the
Troops, 150.--Descent of the St. Lawrence, 152--Battle of Chrysler's
Field, 154.--Hampton's Defeat, 159.--Cost of the Campaign,
160.--Effects on the Niagara Frontier, 161.--Capture of Fort Niagara,
163.--Destruction of Buffalo and other Villages, 166.


CHAPTER X.

War in the South, 168.--Engagement at Lewistown, 168.--Fight in Delaware
Bay, 169.--Burning of Havre de Grace, Georgetown, and Fredericktown,
171.--Battle at Craney Island, 172.--Destruction of Hampton,
176.--Troubles with the Southern Indians, 178.--Fight at Burnt
Corn Creek, 179.--Massacre at Fort Mims, 182.--Jackson's Campaign,
183.--Fights at Tallus-chatches, Talladega, the Hillabee Towns, Autosse,
and Econochaca, 183.--Dale's Canoe Fight, 188.


CHAPTER XI.

Naval Battles of 1813, 195.--The _Hornet_ and the _Peacock_, 195.--The
_Chesapeake_ and the _Shannon_, 197.--The _Argus_ and the _Pelican_,
201.--The _Enterprise_ and the _Boxer_, 202.--Decatur Blockaded at New
London, 204.--A New Embargo, 206.


CHAPTER XII.

Privateers, 207.--Their Number and Importance, 207.--Jefferson's Opinion
of them, 208.--A London Journal's Prediction, 211.--Some of their
Captures, and some of their Battles, 212.--The _Yankee's_ Laughable
Exploit, 222.


CHAPTER XIII.

Peace Negotiations, 223.--Campaign against the Creeks, 223.--Condition
of Affairs at the Opening of the Third Year, 223.--Congressional
Appropriations, 224--Russian Offers of Mediation, 225.--Jackson's
Preparations, 227.--Battles of Emucfau, Enotachopco, and Horseshoe Bend,
227.


CHAPTER XIV.

Brown's Campaign on the Niagara, 231.--The March to Buffalo,
231.--Capture of Fort Erie, 232.--Battle of Chippewa, 234.--Brown's
Plans, 238.--Battle of Lundy's Lane, 240.--Siege of Fort Erie by the
British, 245.


CHAPTER XV.

The Second Invasion of New York, 251.--Fight at La Colie Mill,
251.--Ship-building, 253.--Yeo's Attack on Oswego, 254.--Affairs at
Charlotte and Poultneyville, 255.--Fight at Sandy Creek, 257.--Izard's
Failure on the Niagara, 258.--Expedition against Michilimackinac,
250.--Prevost's Advance into New York, 260.--Its Purpose, 261.--Battle
of Plattsburg, 265.


CHAPTER XVI.

Operations Along the Coast, 268.--Capture of Eastport and Castine,
268.--Occupation of Territory in Maine, 269.--Destruction of the Frigate
_Adams_, 270.--Bombardment of Stonington, 271.--Affairs at Wareham,
Scituate, and Boothbay, 273.


CHAPTER XVII.

The Washington Campaign, 274.--Ross's Expedition against Washington,
276.--Battle of Bladensburg, 278.--Destruction of the Capital,
282.--Capitulation of Alexandria, 283.--Comments of the London Times,
284.--Expedition against Baltimore, 285.--Death of Sir Peter
Parker, 286.--Battle of North Point, 286.--Death of General Ross,
287.--Bombardment of Fort McHenry, 288.--How a Famous Song was written,
289.


CHAPTER XVIII.

Naval Battles of 1814, 290,--Porter's Cruise in the Essex, 290.--His
Campaign against the Typees, 296.--Destruction of the British Whaling
Interest in the Pacific, 310.--Battle with the Phoebe and the Cherub,
312.--The Peacock and the Epervier, 320.--The Wasp and the Reindeer,
321.--The Wasp and the Avon, 322.--Destruction of the General Armstrong,
323.--Loss of the President, 325.--The Constitution Captures the Cyane
and the Levant, 325.--The Hornet and the Penguin, 325.


CHAPTER XIX.

The Hartford Convention, 326.--Attitude of the Federalists, Real and
Imputed, 326.--The Convention at Hartford, 328.--Its Popular Reputation,
330.--What General Scott did not say at Chippewa, 330.


CHAPTER XX.

The Campaign on the Gulf Coast, 332.--British Occupation of Pensacola,
332.--Negotiations with Lafitte, 333.--Expedition against Mobile,
333.--Capture of Pensacola, 334.--Defence of New Orleans, 336.--The
Battles before the City, 337.--Defeat of the British, 344.--Losses, 345.


CHAPTER XXI.

Peace, 346.--The Treaty of Ghent, 346.--Treatment of Prisoners,
348.--Losses and Gains by the War, 349.--Conclusion, 350.



A HISTORY OF THE WAR OF 1812-15.

{001}



CHAPTER I.--CAUSES OF THE WAR.


_Franklin's Prediction--British Feeling toward the United States--The
Unsurrendered Posts--Indian Troubles--Impressment of Seamen--The Decrees
and Orders in Council--Declaration of War._


|The offender, says an Italian proverb, never forgives; and it is a
singular fact that the deepest resentments and the most implacable
hatreds are not those arising from a sense of injuries received,
but from injuries inflicted. The victim of a deliberate wrong seldom
treasures up a purpose of revenge, or demands anything more than a
restoration of his rights; but the oppressor always hates those who have
escaped from his oppression.

That wise old philosopher, Ben Franklin, who died within seven years
after the acknowledgment of our country as a separate nation in 1783,
foresaw, even then, what did not take place till more than twenty years
after his death. He declared that the war which had just closed in the
surrender of Cornwallis was only the war of Revolution, and that the war
of Independence was yet to be fought. {002}When, in June, 1785, George
III. received John Adams as United States Minister at his court,
he said: "I was the last man in the kingdom, Sir, to consent to the
independence of America; but, now it is granted, I shall be the last man
in the world to sanction a violation of it." If the King was sincere
in this declaration, he must have had--as Lincoln said of himself when
President--very little influence with the Administration; for, almost
from the first, there was systematic disregard of the rights of the
new nation, with an evident purpose to humiliate her people and cripple
their commerce.

It was hard for the British Ministry and British commanders to realize
that those whom they had so lately attempted to chastise as rebels, that
they might again tax them as subjects, were now, after their triumph in
a long war, and by the terms of a solemn treaty, entitled to the same
privileges on the ocean, and the same courtesies in diplomacy, that
were accorded to the oldest nation of Europe. They knew as little of the
spirit of the American people and the mighty destinies within the coming
century, as of the resources of the vast continent which lay behind that
thin line of civilization along the Atlantic coast.

This failure to realize, or reluctance to admit, that the people of
America were no longer British sub{003}jects, and that the United
States was an independent nation, was forcibly illustrated in England's
disregard, for thirty years, of an important portion of the Treaty of
1783. It was there stipulated that the military posts on our western
frontier should be surrendered to our Government. Yet not only did the
British forces retain possession of them, but from them they supplied
the Indians with arms and ammunition, and instigated savage hostilities
against the American settlements. Attempts have been made to deny this,
but the proof is unquestionable.

Lord Dorchester, Governor of Canada, called a council of the Indian
tribes, engaged to supply them with munitions of war, encouraged them to
enmity against the United States, and gave them to understand that
they would have the co-operation of his Government. These facts were
published in British newspapers, and when the British Minister was asked
to account for them, he could give no satisfactory answer. In pursuance
of this policy, when war broke out, in 1812, the English commanders not
only employed Indian allies, but offered and paid a regular bounty for
American scalps. It seems incredible that such things could have been
done, only seventy years ago, by one of the most enlightened governments
on earth. And yet in our own day we have seen the performance repeated,
{004}when the English in South Africa armed the native savages with
the best English rifles, that they might make war upon the peaceful and
industrious Boers of the Transvaal Republic.

But our people had a grievance, of more than twenty years' standing,
which was even more serious than this. While the frontiersman was
contending with British treachery and Indian ferocity, which combined
to hinder the development of our inland resources, the American
sailor--then the best in the world, as was proved by the result of the
war--was confronted by a monstrous policy intended to check our growing
commerce and recruit the English navy at our expense.

England was at this time the greatest commercial nation in the world.
Her merchant ships and whalers were found on every sea, gathering and
distributing the productions of every land. In herself she was but an
island, not larger than one of our States--a very beautiful and fertile
island, it is true; but if her jurisdiction had not extended beyond its
borders, she would have been hardly more important than Switzerland or
Sweden. But in her colonies and her commerce she was powerful. And now
the finest of those colonies, casting off her authority in the only
successful rebellion ever waged against it, were rapidly building up
a mercantile marine {005}that threatened to rival her own. They had
thousands of miles of seacoast, with innumerable fine harbors; they
had behind them, not a crowded island, but a virgin continent; the
construction of their government and society was such that the poorest
man before the mast might not unreasonably hope some day to command a
ship. With all this, they were not involved in the wars which were then
distracting Europe.

Being neutrals, of course they enjoyed those advantages which England
has never been slow to reap when she herself has been a neutral while
her neighbors were at war. Their ships could carry goods which in any
other ships would have been seized by hostile cruisers. England was
now--as she truly said, in extenuation of her depredation on American
commerce--struggling for her very existence, against mighty armies led
by the ablest general that had appeared since Alexander. Many of the
most desirable ports were closed to her merchantmen, her entire coast
was declared by Napoleon to be under blockade; and it was exasperating
in the last degree to see these misfortunes redounding to the advantage
of a people whom she had so lately treated as rebels and outlaws, whose
military prowess she had affected to despise, until it had disarmed
her legions and conquered an honorable peace. {006}The motive that
controlled British policy was plainly revealed in an editorial article
which appeared in the London _Independent Whig_ (January 10th, 1813),
after the war had been begun and the British public had been astounded
by the capture of two or three of their finest frigates. "Accustomed, as
we have hitherto been, to a long and uninterrupted tide of success upon
the watery element, and claiming an absolute and exclusive sovereignty
over the ocean, to be defeated there, where we securely rested our
proudest hopes and wishes, might reasonably be expected to check our
insolence and mortify our pride. In this view of the case, and if we
could not flatter ourselves that it would have the effect of inducing us
to abate somewhat of our unwarrantable pretensions, and listen to terms
of moderation and forbearance, our regret would be sensibly diminished;
since even the misfortune, severe as it is, might be converted into a
great and lasting benefit to the nation at large. But the mischief will
not confine itself here; the charm of the invincibility of the British
navy, like that of the Grecian warrior, being destroyed, the terror
that has long preceded our flag, and commanded the abject homage of
surrounding nations, will henceforward be dissipated, and every maritime
power with whom we may be involved in war will fight with redoubled
zeal, ar{007}dently and anxiously hoping to lower our ascendency
and establish the freedom of the seas." That was it exactly; they were
afraid somebody would establish the freedom of the seas, and at that
time the Americans seemed most likely to do it.

During the Napoleonic wars, in the early years of the present century,
England's navy consisted of about one thousand vessels. As she was
recruiting this vast squadron by perpetual press-gangs, and maintaining
its discipline by unstinted flogging, while at the same time the
flourishing merchant marine of the United States was paying more liberal
wages to men before the mast than could be obtained on the English
merchantmen, it might have been expected that the number of desertions
would only be limited by the number of opportunities to desert. Many
of the deserters undoubtedly found employment on American ships, where
British captains soon established the custom of searching for and
reclaiming them. This was a gross violation of the sovereignty of the
United States, for the deck of an American vessel is to all intents and
purposes American territory; yet our Government permitted it, and only
complained of what were considered its incidental abuses.

The troubles that followed from this beginning remind us of the fable of
the camel and the tailor. {008}England's next step was to claim that no
British subject had a right to enter any military or marine service
but the British, and that any who did so might be taken by British
authorities wherever found--just as if they were deserters.

But presently it appeared that something more was needed in order to
give Great Britain the full benefit of these assumptions. An English
war-vessel stops an American merchantman on the high sea, and sends an
officer with armed men on board to inspect the crew and take off any
that are British subjects. The officer selects some of the ablest seamen
he finds, and claims them. Immediately a dispute arises; the seamen
say they are American citizens--or at least not British subjects; the
officer says they were born subjects of the English king, and can never
throw off their allegiance. Here is a question of fact, and by all the
principles of law and justice it would devolve upon the officer to prove
his claim. But as the purpose was, not to do justice, but to recruit the
British navy, the admission of any such principle would hardly answer
the purpose. So the British Government set up the doctrine that the
burden of proof rested with the accused; that is, any sailor who
was unable to prove on the spot, to the satisfaction of the boarding
officer, that he was _not_ a British subject, was to be {009}considered
as such, and carried off to serve against his will on a British ship.

The English naval commanders were now fully equipped for this new
method of recruiting, and it soon became the practice for them to board
American merchantmen and take off as many of the best sailors as they
happened to be in need of at the time, with very little reference
to their nationality. Some of the men thus forcibly carried off were
released by order of the Admiralty, on the application of the American
Consul, with the apology that, as English and Americans spoke the
same language and were of the same race, it was often difficult to
distinguish between them. But as a matter of fact the sailors thus
impressed included men of nearly every European nationality--Germans,
Swedes, Danes, Portuguese, and even negroes. In 1811 it was believed
that more than six thousand American sailors were serving under
compulsion in the British navy; and Mr. Lyman, United States Consul at
London, estimated the number at fourteen thousand.

This was only the natural result of the original error committed by
our Government when it admit ted the right to search for and carry away
deserters. And the impressments took place not only on the high seas but
often within the three miles from shore to which a maritime country's
jurisdiction extends, {010}and sometimes in the very harbors of the
United States. Coasting and fishing schooners were robbed of their men,
and occasionally fired upon and plundered; while of larger vessels bound
for distant waters, the crews were sometimes so depleted by visit from a
British man-of-war that the voyage was broken up and the ship compelled
to return to port.

The greatest of these outrages was the capture of the _Chesapeake_, a
United States frigate, by the British man-of-war _Leopard_, June 23d,
1806. The _Chesapeake_, which had just left Hampton Roads for a cruise,
had not been put in fighting trim; not a single gun was ready for use.
Her commander, Commodore James Barron, refused to permit a search for
British deserters, and the _Leopard_ thereupon fired several broadsides
into her, when she struck her flag. Three of her crew were killed, and
eighteen wounded. The _Leopard_ carried away four of her men, claiming
them as deserters; but it was afterward proved that three of them
were Americans, and they were released, while the fourth was tried and
executed at Halifax.

When the _Chesapeake_ returned to Norfolk, Va., with the news,
it created the greatest excitement the country had seen since the
Revolutionary war. Indignation meetings were held, and the people seemed
almost unanimous in a desire to plunge at {011}once into war. A schooner
was sent to England by our Government, carrying instructions to the
American Minister to demand apology and reparation. These were made,
after a fashion; but the English Government refused to give up the
right of search. President Jefferson, who thought anything, under any
circumstances, was better than war, issued a proclamation ordering all
British vessels of war then in United States waters to leave at once.

Meanwhile, England had attempted to revive what was known as "the rule
of 1756." During the war of that year she had tried to establish a rule
that neutral nations were not at liberty to trade with the colonies of
a belligerent power from which, in times of peace, they were excluded
by the parent state. For instance, if in time of peace France permitted
none but her own vessels to trade at the ports of certain of her
colonies, she should not be allowed, when at war, to have that trade
carried on for her in vessels belonging to a neutral nation; and if such
vessels attempted it, they should be liable to capture and confiscation
by cruisers of the nation which was at war with France. Such a
regulation of course belongs to the domain of international law, and
cannot be established by one nation alone. This rule had been frequently
disregarded by England herself, and had never received the sanction of
{012}other powers; but by orders in council, of November 6th, 1793, she
secretly instructed her naval commanders to enforce it against American
vessels trading to the French colonies of the West Indies. The United
States Government sent commissioners to London, English commissioners
were appointed to meet them, and a treaty of "amity, commerce, and
navigation" was concluded, which was ratified by both governments in
1795. Yet the capture and condemnation of American vessels went on
almost as before.

In the early European wars of this century, the days of paper
blockade--a blockade which consists merely in a proclamation, without
the presence of armed vessels to enforce it--were not yet over, and on
May 16th, 1806, England declared the whole coast of the Continent, from
Brest to the mouth of the Elbe, to be in a state of blockade. Napoleon
retaliated by issuing from Berlin a counter decree, dated November
21st, 1806, which declared the entire coast of Great Britain to be under
blockade, and prohibited any vessel which sailed from a British port
from entering a Continental port. England then, by orders in council,
published November 17th, 1807, prohibited all neutral trade with France
and her allies, except in vessels that had first entered a British port.
As paper and ink were cheap, and {013}by this time so little was left of
the rights of neutrals that it was hardly worth while to regard them at
all, Napoleon tried his hand at one more decree. Under date of Milan,
December 17th, 1807, he proclaimed that any vessel which should submit
to search by British cruisers, or pay any tax to the British Government,
should be forfeit as good prize.

These so-called measures of retaliation--which became famous as the
"orders in council," and the "Berlin and Milan decrees"--had very
little effect upon the people who were at war, but they laid some of the
heaviest penalties of war upon the one maritime nation that was at
peace with all. Instead of resorting to war at once, the United
States Government, being as well able as any other to issue a foolish
proclamation, laid an embargo, December 22d, 1807, upon all shipping
in American ports, prohibiting exportations therefrom. This measure
met with violent opposition in New England, which was more largely
interested in commerce than any other part of the country. The coast of
New England presented innumerable harbors, and her forests were full of
the finest ship-timber, while in agriculture she could not compete
with the States having richer soils and a less rigorous climate.
Cotton-spinning was in its infancy, and the manufactures that were to
employ her water-powers had not been {014}developed. She naturally and
properly looked to the carrying trade as her best means of livelihood.
The orders in council and the Berlin and Milan decrees imposed great
risks and unjust restrictions upon it, but did not altogether destroy
it; the embargo suppressed it at once.

In March, 1809, Congress repealed the embargo, and substituted a system
of non-importation and non-intercourse with France and Great Britain.
Voyages to their dominions, and trade in articles produced by them, were
prohibited; but it was provided that whenever either of those nations
should repeal its decrees against neutral commerce, the restriction
should be removed as to that nation.

This at last produced some effect, and the French Government revoked the
Berlin and Milan decrees, the revocation to take effect on the 1st of
November, 1810; the letter of the French Minister communicating the fact
to the American Minister adding that it was "clearly understood that
the English orders in council were to be revoked at the same time." In
August of that year, Hon. William Pinkney, United States Minister at
London, laid this before the British Government, but was told that the
English decrees would be revoked "after the French revocation should
have actually taken place." This was a most palpable evasion, since
it {015}is very common for treaties and governmental orders to contain
clauses which render them operative only in certain contingencies, and
it was the easiest thing in the world for England to give her revocation
precisely the same form as that of France, when each would have put the
other in force on the date named. If any further proof had been
wanted that the British Government was determined to suppress American
commerce, at least till her own ships could resume the carrying trade of
the world, it was supplied when in 1812 Lord Castlereagh, Minister for
Foreign Affairs, declared officially that "the decrees of Berlin and
Milan must not be repealed singly and specially, in relation to the
United States, but must be repealed also as to all other neutral
nations; and that in no less extent of a repeal of the French decrees
had the British Government pledged itself to repeal the orders in
council." That is, the rights of the United States as a neutral nation
were not to be regarded by England, unless the United States could
induce or compel France to regard not only these rights but those of all
other neutral nations!

With this tangle of orders, decrees, and proclamations, with an
important part of the Treaty of 1783 unfulfilled, with unlawful
impressments daily taking place on the high seas, and with no
disposition on the part of the chief aggressor to right these wrongs,
{016}it is difficult to see how negotiations could have been continued
longer, or the alternative of war avoided. On the first day of June,
1812, President Madison sent a message to Congress, in which he set
forth the facts that necessitated war; Congress accordingly declared war
on the 18th, and the next day the President proclaimed it. On the 23d,
before this news was received, England revoked her orders in council,
thus removing one of the grievances, but still leaving those which amply
justified the declaration.

It thus appears that the immediate and specific causes of the war of
1812 between the United States and Great Britain were complex; but the
general cause, the philosophic reason, was simply the determined purpose
manifested by England to nullify and render valueless the political
independence gained by the American colonies in the Revolution.

Since the inauguration of President Jefferson, in 1801, the Government
had been in the hands of the Republicans, and all measures looking
toward war with England were opposed by the party out of power--the
Federalists. The young reader must not be confused by the change of
names which political parties have undergone between that day and this.
The Republican party of Jefferson's day was {017}the predecessor of what
is now called the Democratic party; while the Republican party of our
own day is to some extent the successor of the Federal party of that
day. Presidents Washington and Adams were Federalists, or what would now
be called Republicans; Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were
Republicans, or what would now be called Democrats.

The Federalists in Congress protested against the declaration of war;
and this protest was repeated in every possible form by the Federal
newspapers, by mass-meetings, in numerous political pamphlets, and even
in many pulpits. The opposition was especially strong in the New England
States. The arguments of those who opposed the war were, that the
country was not prepared for such a struggle, could not afford it,
and would find it a hopeless undertaking; that the war policy had been
forced upon Madison's administration by the Republican party, in order
to strengthen that party and keep it in power; that if we had cause
for war with England, we had cause for war with France also, and it was
unreasonable to declare war against one of those powers and not against
both. The last argument was the one most vehemently urged, and the war
party was denounced and sneered at as making our Government a tool
of France. {018}There was a certain amount of truth in each of these
propositions. The country was poorly prepared for war at all, least of
all with the most powerful of nations. Madison probably had been given
to understand that unless he recommended a declaration of war, he need
not expect a renomination at the hands of his party. And we certainly
had cause of war with France, whose cruisers had captured or destroyed
many of our merchantmen. But the position of the Federalists on this
question furnishes a singular example of the fact that an argument may
sometimes be true in each of its parts, and yet incorrect in its grand
conclusion. It seldom happens that any people are prepared for a just
and defensive war; they begin their preparations for such a contest
after the necessity is upon them. While a portion of the Republican
party were undoubtedly actuated by selfish motives, as is the case
with some portion of every party, the greater part were unquestionably
patriotic, and advocated war because they believed it to be necessary.
The crowning argument--that the United States had a grievance
against France as well as England, and should make war on both if on
either--would have been unanswerable if it had been a moral warfare that
was in question. But in military matters it is necessary to consider
what is practicable as well as what is logi{019}cal. For our
Government to attempt to fight England and France at the same time,
would have been simply suicidal. A good general strives to divide his
foes, instead of uniting them. The shrewd thing to do was, to declare
war against one only, and by saying nothing of any grievance against the
other, make of that other either an ally or a neutral. Then if the
war was successful on our part, it would put an end to the outrages
complained of, not only on the part of the nation with whom we had
fought, but also on that of the other; or if not, a war with the
second offender would almost necessarily have the same result. The
only question was, with which of those great European powers we should
attempt to cope in battle. It was not difficult to decide. England was
by far the greater offender. Not only had she done more than France to
cripple our commerce, but she still held military posts on our frontier
which she had solemnly agreed to give up, and kept the savages in
a state of perpetual hostility to our western pioneers. England had
colonies contiguous to our territory on the north, which we might make
the battle-ground; France had no territory that would serve us for such
a purpose. England was the power that our people had been compelled to
fight thirty years before, to escape from oppression; France was
the power that {020}had assisted us in that war. Mr. Madison's
Administration was right in the conclusion that war could no longer be
avoided, if the United States was to maintain an honorable place among
nations; and right in the determination to wage it against England
alone. But for the manner in which it began and conducted that war, the
Administration was open to the severest criticism.



CHAPTER II. THE DETROIT CAMPAIGN.

{021}


_First Bloodshed--Attitude of Political Parties--Plans for Invading
Canada--Capture of Michilimackinac--Engagements at the River Raisin and
Maguaga--Battle of Chicago--Hull's Surrender._


|It was perhaps characteristic of the conduct of the war, that the first
blood spilled should be American blood, shed by Americans. This occurred
in a riot, occasioned by high party feeling, and it is a curious fact
that it took place in the same city where the first blood was shed, also
by riot, in the great war of the Rebellion, half a century later. In the
night of June 22d, three days after the proclamation of war, a mob
in Baltimore sacked the office of the _Federal Republican_, edited by
Alexander Hanson, because he had opposed the war policy. The mob also
attacked the residences of several prominent Federalists, and burned one
of them. Vessels in the harbor, too, were visited and plundered. About
a month later Hanson resumed the publication of his paper, and in the
night of July 26th the mob gathered again. This had been expected, and
Hanson was ready for them. A large {022}number of his friends, including
Generals James M. Lingan and Henry Lee, offered to assist him in
protecting his property. When the rioters burst into the building, they
were at once fired upon, and one of them was killed and several were
wounded. The authorities were slow and timid in dealing with the riot;
and when at length a force of militia was called out, instead of firing
upon the mob, or capturing the ringleaders, they arrested Hanson and his
friends, and lodged them in jail. The rioters, thus encouraged by those
whose business it was to punish them, attacked the jail the next night,
murdered General Lingan, injured General Lee so that he was a cripple
for the rest of his life, and beat several of the other victims and
subjected them to torture. The leaders of the mob were brought to trial,
but were acquitted!

In this state of affairs, the war party in the country being but little
stronger than the peace party, the youngest and almost the weakest of
civilized nations went to war with one of the oldest and most powerful.
The regular army of the United States numbered only six thousand men;
but Congress had passed an act authorizing its increase to twenty-five
thousand, and in addition to this the President was empowered to call
for fifty thousand volunteers, and to use the militia to the extent of
one hundred {023}thousand. Henry Dearborn, of Massachusetts, was made
a major-general and appointed to command the land forces. Against the
thousand vessels and one hundred and forty-four thousand sailors of the
British navy, the Americans had twenty war-ships and a few gunboats, the
whole carrying about three hundred guns.

But these figures, taken alone, are deceptive; since a very large part
of the British force was engaged in the European wars, and the practical
question was, what force the United States could bring against so much
as England could spare for operations on the high seas and on this side
of the Atlantic. In that comparison, the discrepancy was not so great,
and the United States had an enormous element of strength in her fine
merchant marine. Her commerce being temporarily suspended to a large
degree, there was an abundance both of ships and sailors, from which to
build up a navy and fit out a fleet of privateers. Indeed, privateering
was the business that now offered the largest prizes to mariners and
ship-owners. Yet so blind was President Madison's Administration to the
country's main strength and advantage, that he actually proposed to lay
up all the naval vessels, as the only means of saving them from capture.
Of what use it would be to save from capture war-vessels which were not
to {024}sail the sea in time of war, he seems not to have thought. From
this fatal error he was saved by the pluck and foresight of Captains
Stewart and Bain-bridge. Those two officers happened fortunately to
be in Washington at the time, and succeeded in persuading the
Administration to give up this plan and order the vessels fitted for sea
at once.

War with Great Britain being determined upon, the plan of campaign that
first and most strongly presented itself to the Administration was the
conquest of the British provinces on our northern border. This had
been attempted during the Revolution without success, but none the
less confidence was felt in it now. And it was certainly correct in
principle, though it proved wofully disastrous in the execution. It
is observable that in all recent wars, the party on whose ground the
fighting has taken place has been in the end the losing party. Thus the
Mexican war in 1846-7 was fought in Mexican territory, and the Mexicans
were defeated. The Crimean war was fought in Russian territory, and the
Russians were defeated. The war between France and Austria, in 1859,
was fought in Austrian territory, and the Austrians were defeated. The
Schleswig-Holstein war was fought in Danish territory, and the Danes
were defeated. The war between Prussia and Austria, in 1866, was
fought in {025}Austrian territory, and the Austrians were defeated. The
Franco-German war of 1870 was fought in French territory, and France was
defeated. The Russo-Turkish war of 1877 was fought in Turkish territory,
and the Turks were defeated. The war of the American Rebellion was
fought in territory claimed by the rebels, and they were defeated. It
only needs that a war should continue long enough for us to see where
the battle-ground is to be, and we can then tell what will be its
result. The reason is obvious. A nation that is strong enough to carry
the war into its enemy's country, and keep it there, will certainly
prove strong enough to win in the end, unless interference by some other
power prevents it; while a nation that is too weak to keep war, with
all its devastation and ruin, out of its territory, must certainly be
defeated unless assisted by some neighboring people. The invaders
may, and probably will, lose the greater number of men in the pitched
battles; but it is not their harvests that will be trampled, not their
mills that will be burned, not their bridges that will be blown up, not
their homes that will be desolated, not their families that must fly
for shelter to the caves and the forests. Their sources of supply are
untouched. This principle was recognized by Scipio, when he declared
that the war with Carthage "must be carried into Africa." {026}As
England claimed to be mistress of the seas, and practically the claim
was almost true, the determination to send our little navy and a fleet
of privateers against her was essentially carrying the war into English
territory. And as this part of the contest was conducted with skill and
valor, it was gloriously successful.

An invasion of Canada being determined upon, the first question that
necessarily arose was, at what point that country should first be
attacked. To any one not skilled in military science the most obvious
plan would seem the best--to march as large a force as possible, without
delay, into Canada at the nearest point. A young officer, Major Jesup,
of Kentucky, sent a memorial to the Secretary of War, in which he set
forth a totally different plan from this. He proposed that a strong
expedition should be fitted out to capture and hold Halifax, which was
then a city of fifteen thousand inhabitants, with the most important
harbor in the Canadian provinces. As a precedent, he could refer to the
capture of Louis-burg in 1748. But the Secretary, Hon. William Eustis,
of Massachusetts, spoke of it contemptuously as "a very pretty plan,"
and set it aside. Yet it was sound in principle, and if properly carried
out could hardly have failed to secure important results. In striking an
enemy on the flank, it is {027}always desirable, to choose that flank
by which he holds communication with his base. A blow on the other
flank may inflict injury, but it only drives him back toward his base. A
movement that cuts him off from such communication compels him either
to surrender or to fight at great disadvantage Canada's base--for many
supplies, and largely for soldiers--was England. The port of Quebec
was frozen up nearly half the year, and the occupation of Halifax by
an American force would have gone far toward severing the connection
between the provinces and the mother country. That harbor, too, was
all-important for the refuge and refitting of British naval vessels on
this side of the Atlantic.

Looking at the matter as purely a military problem, it was a pity that
this brilliant plan was not adopted. But in a larger consideration it
is probably fortunate for us that it was not. It might have
resulted--indeed, that was contemplated in the plan--in leaving the
Americans, at the close of the war, in possession of Canada. As the
structure of our government almost precludes the holding of conquered
provinces as such for any length of time, the Canadas must have soon
become States of the Republic. But, so far from that being desirable in
1815, it may be doubted whether even yet the time has arrived when it
would be wise to incorporate {028}that undesirable population, in a body
as they are, with the people of the United States.

In planning for the invasion of Canada, the Administration counted
largely upon a supposed readiness of the Canadians to throw off their
allegiance to Great Britain and join with the United States. Such
expectations have almost never been realized, and in this instance they
were completely disappointed.

In the preceding February, William Hull, Governor of the Territory of
Michigan, who had rendered distinguished service in the Revolution, had
been made a brigadier-general and placed in command of the forces in
Ohio, with orders to march them to Detroit, to protect the Territory
against the Indians, who were becoming troublesome. In June he was
in command of about two thousand men, in northern Ohio, moving slowly
through the wilderness. On the day when war was declared, June 18th,
the Secretary of War wrote him two letters. The first, in which the
declaration was not mentioned, was despatched by a special messenger,
and reached General Hull on the 24th. The other informed him of the
declaration of war, but was sent by mail to Cleveland, there to take its
chance of reaching the General by whatever conveyance might be found.
The consequence was, that he did not {029}receive it till the 2d of
July. But every British commander in Canada learned the news several
days earlier.

Hull arrived at Detroit on the 5th of July, and set about organizing his
forces. On the 9th he received from the War Department orders to begin
the invasion of Canada by taking possession of Malden, fifteen miles
below Detroit, on the other side of the river, if he thought he could do
so with safety to his own posts.

He crossed on the 12th, and issued a proclamation to the Canadians. In
this he told them that he came to do no injury to peaceable citizens,
who might remain at their homes and pursue their usual occupations in
security; that he neither asked nor needed their help, but would accept
the services of such as might volunteer; and that no quarter would be
given to any who adopted Indian modes of warfare or were found fighting
in company with the savages who were accustomed to scalp prisoners and
murder non-combatants. After the campaign had resulted disastrously,
General Hull was censured and ridiculed for this proclamation; but a
copy had been transmitted to the Secretary of War, and approved by him;
and indeed, if a proclamation was to be issued, it is difficult to find
any serious fault with Hull's. The error was in issuing any at all--a
{030}thing which a general seldom does with any good effect.

Hull fortified his camp on the east side of the river, and while waiting
for his artillery sent out reconnoitring parties toward Fort Malden,
and detachments to bring in supplies. As his troops grew impatient, he
called a council of war, explained the situation to his officers, and
offered to lead them in an attempt to carry the fort by storm, without
waiting for artillery, if they thought their men could be relied upon
for such an enterprise. Colonel Miller answered that his regiment of
regulars could be depended upon for anything they might be ordered to
do; but the three militia colonels very wisely answered that raw
militia could not be expected to storm a fortified place, unaided by
artillery--one of the most hazardous of all military exploits.

So it was decided to defer the attack, and in a few days came the news
that on the declaration of war, a force of over six hundred--British
and Indians--had promptly moved against the American post at
Michilimackinac--on the rocky little island of Mackinaw, commanding
the strait between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan--and the garrison
of sixty-one officers and men capitulated on the 16th of July. This
disaster to the Americans roused the Indians to renewed hostility
against them, while it propor{031}tionately disheartened Hull, and
seems to have been the first step in the breaking down of his courage.
After a few skirmishes, he recrossed to Detroit on the 7th of August.

Meanwhile the British Colonel Proctor had arrived at Malden with
reënforcements, and on Hull's withdrawal to Detroit he threw a force
across the river to intercept his supplies. This force consisted of a
small number of British regulars and a considerable number of Indians
commanded by the famous Tecumseh.

Learning that a supply train, accompanied by a few volunteers, was
coming to him and had got as far as the River Raisin, about thirty-five
miles south of Detroit, General Hull sent out a detachment of about two
hundred men, under Major Thomas B. Van Horne, to meet it and escort
it to camp. This detachment was attacked by the British and savages
at Brownstown, twenty miles from Detroit. Van Horne was surprised, and
retreated to the edge of a wood. His men behaved badly, and could not be
got into line, another retreat was ordered, and finally they ran away
in confusion, having lost eighteen killed, twelve wounded, and seventy
missing.

Hull sent out another detachment, of six hundred men, under
Lieutenant-Colonel James Miller, to open communication with the supply
train, which {032}was more fortunate. At Maguaga, fourteen miles from
Detroit, they came upon the enemy intrenched behind a breastwork of
logs. The British were commanded by Major Muir, the savages by Tecumseh.

Miller at once ordered a bayonet charge, which his men executed in
gallant style. The enemy were driven from their works, after some hard
fighting, and pursued for two miles. They finally reached their boats,
and crossed to Malden, but nearly a hundred Indians lay dead on the
field, and the English had lost fifteen killed and forty wounded. The
American loss was fifteen killed and sixty wounded. Instead of pushing
on to the River Raisin, and securing the supplies. Colonel Miller
returned with his command to Detroit.

As the direct road on which all these operations had taken place lay
along the river-bank, in sight of the enemy and exposed to the fire of
his gunboats, Hull now sent out a detachment under Colonels McArthur and
Cass, to escort the train by a circuitous route, farther from the river.

During this gloomy state of things at Detroit, a bloody affair took
place on ground that is now within the city of Chicago. Fort Dearborn
stood at the mouth of Chicago River, and was occupied by a garrison
of about fifty soldiers, with several families. Captain Nathan Heald,
commanding the {033}post, had been ordered by General Hull to abandon it
and remove his force to Detroit. With so small a force, moving more than
two hundred miles through a wilderness in time of war, it was especially
desirable to retain the good will of the Indians. Captain Heald
accordingly called a council of those who professed to be friendly,
told them of his intended movement, and promised to give them all the
property in the fort that he could not take with him, at which they
were greatly pleased. But in the night, knowing their intemperance and
fearing their treachery, he destroyed all the alcohol, firearms, and
gunpowder which he could not take away. These were the very articles
that the Indians most highly valued, and when, after his departure next
morning (August 15th), they discovered the trick that had been played
them, they were very much enraged, and hurried on to overtake him. He
was moving slowly southward along the shore of the lake, when the crest
of a low range of sand-hills on his right was suddenly lighted up with a
blaze of musketry. The savages were there in ambush, mercilessly firing
upon the little caravan. As quickly as possible the wagons were drawn up
together, and the women and children given shelter in and behind them,
while the soldiers stood their ground, and returned the fire of the
Indians. It was a brave {034}and bloody fight, and when some of the men
had fallen the women took up their rifles and fired upon the savages
with all the courage and coolness of soldiers. But after heavy losses,
the survivors of the party were compelled to surrender. In the course of
the fight, an Indian had made his way to the wagons, and, springing into
one in which twelve children had been placed, tomahawked every one of
them. The victorious savages scalped all the wounded, claiming that they
had not been included in the capitulation, and the bloody trophies were
sold to Colonel Proctor, who had offered a premium for American scalps.

The fight near Fort Dearborn took place on the same day that the
detachment under Colonels McArthur and Cass left Detroit. The next day,
August 15th, the British General Isaac Brock, who had arrived at Malden
a few days before and assumed command there, formally demanded the
surrender of Detroit. This demand included a plain threat of massacre in
case of refusal. Said Brock in his letter: "It is far from my intention
to join in a war of extermination; but you must be aware that the
numerous bodies of Indians who have attached themselves to my troops
will be beyond my control the moment the contest commences." This is a
fine example of the art of putting things; The reader {035}would suppose
from Brock's words--"the Indians who have attached themselves to my
troops"--that the savages in red skins had insisted on accompanying the
expedition in spite of the most strenuous efforts on the part of the
savages in red coats to shake them off; whereas Brock had just held a
formal council with the Indians, and regularly arranged the terms of
alliance. Two years later, when peace was being negotiated, the British
commissioners spoke of these Indians, not as an irresponsible force, but
as regular allies, who must share in the treaty.

General Hull gave a defiant reply, ordered McArthur and Cass to return
at once with their detachment, and made admirable arrangements to defend
the place. In the afternoon there was an artillery duel between two
twenty-four pounders in the fort and a British battery at Sandwich on
the opposite side of the river.

Brock's force, according to his own testimony, numbered 1330 men,
including 600 Indians, and he had also two ships of war. Hull had
present for duty about 1000 men. * Brock sent a large body of Indians
across the river that night, at a point five

* It is impossible to reconcile the conflicting statements as to the
numbers on either side.

{036}miles below the fort, and early in the morning crossed with the
remainder of his troops, and at once marched on the place. Hull had
posted his regulars in the fort, and his militia in the town, where the
stout palings that surrounded the little kitchen gardens gave them an
admirable shelter. The two twenty-four pounders were loaded heavily
with grape and placed so as to command the road by which the enemy
was approaching, in close order, twelve deep. Never was there a better
opportunity to do wholesale execution by a single discharge. Everybody
was watching in breathless expectation to see the match applied and the
murderous iron go surging through those beautiful ranks, when, to the
astonishment cf friend and foe alike, a white flag was hung out upon
the wall of the fort. Brock himself was surprised, when, sending to know
what it meant, he learned that Hull had determined to surrender.
The articles of capitulation were drawn up, and the American general
surrendered not merely the fort and its garrison, but the whole
Territory of Michigan, of which he was Governor. Thus ended this
miserable campaign.

Hull's officers were incensed at his action, and he was subsequently
court-martialled, convicted of cowardice, and condemned to death; but
the President pardoned him, in consideration of his {037}age and his
services in the Revolution. The points of his defence were: that an
army in a situation like his, cut off from its supplies, must surrender
sooner or later; that if he had given battle, it would have exposed
all the inhabitants of the Territory to Indian barbarities; that his
situation was the fault of the Administration, rather than his own; that
his force was inferior to Brock's; and that his provisions were nearly
exhausted. Benedict Arnold himself was hardly held in greater contempt
by the American people than was General Hull for years after his trial.
Many believed him to be more traitor than coward. This state of feeling
was largely due to Colonel Lewis Cass--nearly forty years later a
candidate for the Presidency--who hurried to Washington with the news,
and greatly exaggerated the circumstances that bore against Hull. Cass's
action in this matter was exceedingly discreditable. On one point, the
important question of supplies, a letter written by him two days before
the surrender was flatly contradicted by his testimony at the trial.
Subsequent investigations, if they do not exonerate General Hull, have
at least greatly modified the blame attached to him.



CHAPTER III. FIGHTS WITH THE INDIANS.

{038}


_Tecumseh's Scheme--Harrison's March to Fort Wayne--Defence of Fort
Harrison--Defence of Fort Madison--Ball's Fight._


|The great Indian leader, Tecumseh, cherished a design similar to
that of Pontiac in the previous century. He wanted to unite all the
northwestern tribes in an effort to drive the white man out of the
country, or at least out of the Northwestern Territory. For the
prosecution of this design the disasters which the Americans had
sustained in the fall of Michilimackinac, Fort Dearborn, and Detroit
seemed an auspicious opening, and Tecumseh endeavored to follow it up
promptly with attacks on the other frontier posts held by United States
troops. The most important of these were Fort Wayne, on the present site
of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Fort Harrison, on the Wabash, above Terre
Haute.

A force of Kentuckians had been gathered in August and placed under
command of General William Henry Harrison, afterward President of the
United States, destined for the reënforcement of {039}Hull at Detroit.
But after the news of his surrender, it was directed to the relief of
Fort Wayne, to reach which required a long march through the wilderness
of western Ohio. A journal kept by one of the soldiers on this march,
Elias Darnell, is still extant. It contains many amusing and suggestive
anecdotes. Under date of September 5th he says: "General Harrison,
having paraded the remaining part of the army in a circle in close
order, delivered a speech to them, stating that he had just received
intelligence from Fort Wayne; that it was in great danger of being taken
by the Indians and British; he said that we were under the necessity of
making a forced march to their relief. He read some of the articles
of war, and stated the absolute necessity of such regulations and
restrictions in an army, and if there were any who could not feel
willing to submit to those articles and go on with him, they might then
return home. One man, belonging to Colonel Scott's regiment, made a
choice of returning home, rather than submit to those terms. Some of his
acquaintances got a permit to escort him part of the way home. Two of
them got him upon a rail and carried him to the river; a crowd followed
after; they ducked him several times in the water, and washed away all
his patriotism." The danger from firearms in the hands of undisciplined
volun{040}teers is shown by these passages: "One of Captain McGowen's
company was accidentally shot through the body by one of the sentinels."
"A man was accidentally shot through the head by one of the mounted
riflemen."

"One of the light horsemen wounded a man as he was feeding his horse,
believing him to be an Indian." The privations of such an expedition are
well illustrated by this: "We marched through some first-rate woodland,
and through a prairie of the best quality. It is badly watered; the
water in the wagon-ruts was the only drink we could get to cool our
scorching thirst, and but very little of that." And the romantic
incidents by this: "The tomb of a chief was discovered; it was built on
the ground with timber and clay, so that no rain or air could enter. The
chief was laid on his blanket, his head toward sunrise, his rifle by his
side, his tin pan on his breast, with a spoon in it; he was ornamented
in their style, with ear-rings, brooches, etc."

Fort Wayne, which was well provisioned and had a garrison of about
seventy men, commanded by Captain Rhea, was besieged by the Indians for
two weeks. A portion of General Harmar's expedition had been defeated by
the savages on this spot twenty-two years before. The fort now had four
small field-pieces, and was otherwise well equipped. {041}The Indians at
first professed to be friendly, and tried by all means to surprise the
garrison. Then they mounted logs to look like siege guns. But the wary
Captain Rhea was not to be deceived, and on the approach of Harrison's
expedition, September 12th, the besiegers decamped. Their villages and
cornfields in the neighborhood were destroyed.

Fort Harrison was less fortunate than Fort Wayne. It was commanded
by Captain Zachary Taylor, who was afterward President of the United
States. His force was very small, and had been reduced by sickness to
about fifteen effective men. On the 3d of September two young settlers
were killed and scalped near the fort by Indians. The next day thirty or
forty of the savages appeared with a white flag, asked for admission to
the fort, and wanted something to eat. Taylor had been warned to
expect an attack, was on his guard, and refused to open the gates.
Near midnight a block-house which formed part of the outer line of
fortifications was found to be on fire. The crowd of savages outside was
now swelled to several hundreds, and what with their horrible yelling
and the cries of nine women and children inside the fort, and
the rapidly spreading flames, the little garrison was thrown into
considerable confusion. The destruction of the block-house would open
a gap through which the {042}Indians would quickly pour in a swarm, and
then woe to the little band of whites! But Captain Taylor never lost his
coolness for a moment. He ordered the part of the roof of the barracks
which was nearest to the fire to be thrown down, and the end of the
barracks kept wet. The invalids and convalescents manned the two
bastions and the other blockhouse, and kept up a fire on the Indians,
to protect the men who were at work on the roof. This fight against
a double foe was kept up for eight hours; and the garrison not only
prevented the fire from spreading, but erected a temporary breastwork
to cover the gap made by the destruction of the blockhouse, and thus
completely foiled the Indians, who disappeared next day, driving off as
many as possible of the cattle belonging to the neighboring farmers. Of
the garrison, two men were killed and two wounded. For this skilful
and gallant action, Taylor was made a major. A passage in his official
report of the affair is interesting, not as having any bearing on the
result, but because by detailing the experience of two individuals
it gives us a vivid idea of the manner in which such contests were
conducted. He says: "One man lost his life by being too anxious; he got
into one of the galleys in the bastions, and fired over the pickets,
and called out to his comrades that he had killed an Indian, and
{043}neglecting to stoop down, in an instant he was shot dead. One
of the men that jumped the pickets returned an hour before day, and,
running up toward the gate, begged for God's sake for it to be opened.
I suspected it to be a stratagem of the Indians to get in, as I did not
recollect the voice; I directed the men in the bastion, where I happened
to be, to shoot him, let him be who he would; and one of them fired at
him, but fortunately he ran up to the other bastion, where they knew
his voice, and Dr. Clark directed him to lie down close to the pickets,
behind an empty barrel that happened to be there, and at daylight I had
him let in. His arm was broke in a most shocking manner, which he says
was done by the Indians--which I suppose was the cause of his returning.
The other they caught about one hundred and thirty yards from the
garrison, and cut him all to pieces."

Fort Madison, which had been built in an exposed and badly chosen
situation on the bank of the Mississippi, near the site of St. Louis,
was attacked on the 5th of September by more than two hundred Indians,
Winnebagos. They approached stealthily, caught one of the garrison
outside of the fort, and shot and scalped him within sight of his
comrades on the walls. Firing was kept up on both sides for two days,
but with little effect. On the 7th the sav{044}ages displayed on poles
the head and heart of the man they had killed, and later in the day
tried to destroy the buildings by shooting upon the roofs arrows to
which they had tied combustible matter and set it on fire. As at Fort
Harrison, the appearance of fire created a panic among the men; but the
commander, Lieutenant Hamilton, was equal to the occasion. He ordered
eight old gun-barrels to be made into syringes, and small holes to
be broken through the roof from the inside. Thrusting up the syringes
through these holes, the men were able in a few minutes to make the roof
as wet as if a heavy shower had fallen, which completely baffled the
design of the enemy. On the 8th the Indians took possession of an old
stable near the fort, and renewed the fight; but a few cannon-shot were
sent crashing through the stable, while the gun-barrel syringes did duty
as before, and the savages then withdrew.

Besides these actions at the forts, there were numerous encounters
between small parties of white men and Indians, in which often great
skill and courage were displayed. One of the most noteworthy was Colonel
Ball's fight. That officer was descending the bank of Sandusky River
with twenty-two mounted men, when a party of Indians about equal to
their own numbers fired upon them from {045}ambush. Ball and his men
charged into the ambuscade, drove out the savages, and killed the
chiefs. Ball was dismounted, and struggling with a gigantic chief, when
one of his men came up and shot the Indian. The remaining Indians
then became furious, and gave the signal for no quarter. Ball's men
understood the situation, and fought without flinching, till they had
killed every one of their antagonists. This affair had a wholesome
effect upon the Indians of that region, and for some time the settlers
were unmolested.



CHAPTER IV. THE 'BATTLE OF QUEENSTOWN.

{046}


_Fight at Gananoqui--Expedition against Ogdensburg--Elliott captures
two War-vessels--Gathering of Forces on the Niagara--Battle of
Queenstown--Death of General Brock._


|Hull's surrender by no means put an end to the design of invading
Canada, but neither did it have any effect in changing the vicious plan
of striking the enemy on the wrong flank.

In the night of September 20th, Captain Benjamin Forsyth embarked at
Cape Vincent, New York, with about a hundred men, and in the morning
landed near the village of Gananoqui, Canada. Here an engagement
took place with about an equal number of British troops--regulars and
militia--at the close of which the enemy fled, leaving ten men dead on
the field and several wounded and prisoners. Captain Forsyth then burned
the military storehouse--which was the object of his expedition--paroled
the captured militia, and returned to the American shore with a few
regulars as prisoners of war and a considerable quantity of arms and
ammunition. One man of his party had been killed. {047}In retaliation,
the Canadians fitted out a much more formidable expedition against
Ogdensburg. It consisted of about seven hundred and fifty men, who on
the 2d of October embarked in forty boats, and under the escort of
two gunboats moved up the St. Lawrence. At the same time, the British
batteries at Prescott, opposite Ogdensburg, opened fire on that place,
which was returned by an American battery. The next day was spent
in preparations, and in the forenoon of Sunday, the 4th, the final
embarkation was made from Prescott, in twenty-five boats and the two
gunboats. As a blind, they proceeded up the river past Ogdensburg for
some distance. Then suddenly they turned about and bore down upon that
place, while at the same instant the British batteries reopened fire on
the village. The American battery, together with a company of riflemen,
all under command of General Jacob Brown, reserved fire till the
flotilla was within point-blank range, and then opened all at once,
the fire was returned, and kept up steadily for an hour. Two of the
boats were so damaged that they had to be abandoned, and another, with
its crew, was captured. The expedition then returned to Prescott without
having effected a landing on American soil.

In the surrender of Detroit was included the brig-of-war _Adams_, which
left the Americans with no {048}naval force whatever on the upper
lakes. Lieutenant Jesse D. Elliott, of the navy, was sent to Buffalo to
organize a flotilla, and soon after a detachment of sailors to man it
was ordered thither from New York. In October the _Adams_, which the
British had renamed _Detroit_, and a smaller vessel, the _Caledonia_,
which had taken part in the capture of Michilimackinac, came down Lake
Erie, and cast anchor near Fort Erie. Elliott formed a plan for their
capture, and with a force of fifty sailors and fifty soldiers embarked
in boats at midnight of the 8th. They rowed silently across the river,
and before they were discovered leaped upon the decks of the vessels,
secured the crews, weighed anchor, and headed for the American shore. As
the wind was too light to carry them up stream, they were obliged to run
down past the British batteries. The _Caledonia_, which had a valuable
cargo of furs, was run ashore at Black Rock and secured. The _Detroit_
fought the enemy's batteries while unsuccessful efforts were made to
tow her beyond their reach. Finally she drifted ashore at Squaw Island,
where her captors abandoned her, taking away their prisoners. A party of
British soldiers subsequently boarded her, but were driven off by fire
from a battery. In the course of the day she underwent a heavy fire from
both sides, and in the evening a British party were {049}preparing to
recover her, when they were anticipated by an American party who boarded
her and set her on fire. For this exploit, in which half a dozen of his
men were killed, Congress gave Lieutenant Elliott a vote of thanks and a
sword.

These comparatively trifling incidents of border war were succeeded by
one much more serious, though not more effective. In the summer General
Dearborn had entered into an armistice with Sir George Prevost, the
British commander in Canada, which set free the enemy's troops on the
Niagara frontier, who were promptly moved against Hull at Detroit. That
campaign being finished, a large part of them was drawn back to the line
of the Niagara, and when in the autumn a movement in that quarter was
contemplated by the Americans, they were confronted by a considerable
force at every point where a crossing was possible, while General Brock,
the victor of Detroit, was on the ground, commanding the whole, and
ready to concentrate them at any point that might be attacked. He
expected the crossing to take place at the mouth of the river.

General Stephen Van Rensselaer, commanding all the forces on the
American side of the Niagara, determined to cross from Lewiston, at
the foot of the rapids, seven miles below the great Falls, and seize
Queenstown. The importance of the place arose {050}from the fact that
it was the terminus of the portage between Lake Ontario and the upper
lakes. At this point the high ground through which the great Chasm of
the river below the Falls has been cut slopes down to a lower plateau,
on which stands the village of Queenstown.

The British had one piece of artillery on the Heights, south of the
village, and another on the bank of the river a mile below. It was
believed by many that General Van Rensselaer, who had been a prominent
Federalist, was opposed to the war and purposely delayed moving against
the enemy. Whether this was true or not, the discontent with his
tardiness was so loudly expressed and had begun so to demoralize his
troops, that at last he acknowledged himself compelled by it to move. He
had minute information as to the situation and strength of each post
of the enemy on the western bank of the river, and could choose his
own point for crossing. He had about six thousand troops under his
command--regulars, volunteers, and militia. The immediate command of the
attacking force was assigned to his cousin, Lieutenant-Colonel Solomon
Van Rensselaer, which occasioned serious dissatisfaction, because he was
only an officer of New York militia, while some of the officers who had
been ordered to join the expedition were commissioned in {051}the United
States regular army, and therefore ranked him.

Thirteen large boats, capable of carrying 340 men, with their
equipments, were brought on wagons and launched at Lewiston on the 10th
of October, and arrangements were made for crossing before daylight the
next morning.

That night a cold, northeast storm set in, and the troops, who were
promptly brought to the rendezvous, stood shivering for hours in the
rain and darkness, on the river-bank, waiting for the boats, which, did
not come. At length day dawned, and the crossing had to be postponed. It
afterward appeared that the boats had been intrusted to one Lieutenant
Sims, who was said to have taken them up the river, far beyond the
point at which they were wanted, and then abandoned the expedition. No
sufficient motive has ever been assigned for this extraordinary conduct
on the part of the lieutenant. It has been suggested that he was so
incensed at seeing the command given to an officer of militia, that he
was willing to destroy his own reputation, if he had any, for the sake
of frustrating the movement.

Two days later the attempt was renewed. Three hundred regulars under
Lieutenant-Colonel John Chrystie, and an equal number of militia under
{052}Colonel Van Rensselaer, were to cross the river before daybreak of
the 13th, and storm the Heights of Queenstown, and the remainder of the
troops to follow and reenforce them. Lieutenant-Colonel Winfield Scott
arrived from Buffalo on the evening of the 12th, and asked leave to join
the expedition, but was refused. Yet he placed a battery on Lewiston
Heights, to protect the troops while they were crossing.

It was still cold and stormy when the embarkation took place. All the
regulars and a few of the militia crossed, and ten of the boats returned
for a second load. The other three boats, in one of which was Chrystie,
had missed their way in going over.

A force of the enemy, under Captain Dennis, moved down promptly to
resist the landing, and some of the Americans were killed or wounded
before they stepped on shore. Captain John E. Wool, being the senior
officer present, assumed the command, and quickly moved his troops up
the bank, where they formed in line at the foot of the Heights. The
enemy was reenforced almost at the same time, and attacked the Americans
in front and on the right flank with artillery and musketry. Wool stood
his ground, though he had no artillery, and a short but bloody fight
ensued. Of the ten officers of regulars, two were killed, and four,
including Wool himself, {053}severely wounded. The left wing was
composed of the militia. There the fighting was less severe, but
Lieutenant-Colonel Van Rensselaer was so seriously wounded that he was
obliged to withdraw from the contest and recross the river. The steady
and well-directed fire of Wool's men drove the enemy's left wing back
into the village; but his right wing, stationed on the Heights, was
unmoved. Annoyed by the fire from that quarter, the Americans fell
back to the river-bank to re-form, and were soon reenforced by another
company of regulars.

Receiving leave, rather than orders, from Van Rensselaer to capture the
Heights, Wool placed the fresh troops on his right, and set out upon the
task, while Lieutenant Lush followed in rear of the column, with
orders to shoot down any man who faltered. Wool first moved his command
southward along the water's edge, the bank sheltering them from the
sight of the enemy, and then at the point where the gorge of the river
made a sharp edge, as it were, to the Heights began the ascent, still
out of sight of the battery-men. In many places the pathway was so steep
and rugged that the soldiers had to use their muskets like alpenstocks,
and climb by seizing the bushes, and "boost" one another. Wool was
foremost in the scramble, and near the top found a fisherman's path
which led to the plateau, {054}and had been left unguarded because it
was supposed to be impassable. By this path they gained the Summit, and
silently filed out upon the plain to the rear and right of the British
battery.

Meanwhile General Brock, hearing the sounds of battle, had ridden up
rapidly from Fort George at the mouth of the river, and now stood near
this battery, watching the operations below. A sudden volley of musketry
in the rear startled him, and the appearance of Wool's column rushing
down upon the battery caused him to retreat down the slope without
waiting to mount his horse, followed by his staff and the artillerymen,
and their entire infantry support. When the sun rose, a few minutes
later, it shone upon the American flag floating over the captured works.

Brock sent orders to General Sheaffe at Fort George to bring up
reënforcements, and at the same time to open an artillery fire on Fort
Niagara, on the opposite bank; for the British commander had been all
the while of opinion that the movement on Queenstown was but a feint,
and that the real attack would be made at the mouth of the river.
Without waiting for the reënforcements. Brock placed himself at the head
of the troops that had just been driven from the Heights, and the troops
in the village, and attempted to recapture the lost position. As the
{055}assaulting force moved up the slope, it bore to the west, to
envelop the left flank of the Americans. Wool sent a detachment to
check this movement; but his men were too few, and his whole command was
forced back till it stood with a powerful enemy in front and a precipice
behind it. At this point of time, a captain raised a white handkerchief
on the point of a bayonet; but in an instant Wool tore it down with his
own hands, and then, addressing a few inspiriting words to his men, he
persuaded them to re-form their somewhat broken ranks, and keep up a
steady and effective fire. When their ammunition was nearly exhausted,
they made a gallant bayonet charge which drove the enemy down the slope.

Brock rallied his troops for another assault, received a few
reënforcements, and was just setting the column in motion when a bullet
struck his breast and he fell mortally wounded. His troops, now under
command of Lieutenant-Colonel McDonell, rushed forward with the cry of
"Revenge the General!" but to no purpose. Wool's little band stood firm,
and drove back the enemy once more with serious loss, McDonell being
mortally wounded, and the two officers next in command disabled, while
ten men and an Indian Chief remained with the Americans as prisoners.
The troops who had {056}accomplished this gallant feat were recruits who
had never seen service before, and their leader, now but twenty-three
years of age, had not received a military education, but was a
bookseller and then a law-student, until commissioned as a captain.

About ten o'clock reënforcements were sent over to Wool, and
Lieutenant-Colonels Winfield Scott and John Chrystie, and General
William Wadsworth, soon followed them. The last-named officer, who was
in plain clothes, modestly made known his rank, but insisted that the
command should be assumed by Scott, whom he heartily and efficiently
supported. * Wool was now, from loss of blood, obliged to withdraw from
the field. Scott had about six hundred men--three hundred and fifty
regulars and two hundred and fifty militia. He placed them in position
to repel any attack of the enemy, and at the same time to cover the
crossing of the remaining militia, which was to be sent over to him at
once.

All this time General Roger H. Sheaffe was hurrying up from Fort George
with troops, in obedience to the orders sent to him by Brock in the
morning. He arrived on the field, and was ready for action

* He was uncle of General James S. Wadsworth, who was killed in the
battle of the Wilderness in 1864.

{057}about two o'clock. His entire force consisted of about thirteen
hundred soldiers and five hundred Indians.

The militia on the American shore could overlook the field of battle,
and saw the approach of Sheaffe. But when General Van Rensselaer
attempted to move them across the river to the support of their
victorious but hard-pressed countrymen, they refused to stir. The law
provides that militia shall not be compelled to serve beyond the bounds
of the State against their will; the men fell back upon this privilege,
and all entreaty was in vain. This action--or non-action--on the part
of the militia has subjected them to severe censure, and has uniformly
been attributed to pure cowardice. But while it was probably not
altogether justifiable, there were some circumstances, not generally
mentioned, which partially excuse it. For instance, they knew that,
through gross mismanagement, all the boats, except one small scow, had
been allowed to float off down the current or be captured by the enemy;
and hence if they crossed it must be by a small boatload at a time,
instead of in a body.

In spite of this disappointment, Scott resolved to make the best fight
he could with what troops he had. The first attack was made on his left
flank by the Indians, who were commanded by John Brant, {058}a son of
the Joseph Brant of Revolutionary fame. This attack Scott repelled with
gallant bayonet charges; but when about four o'clock Sheaffe moved up
his whole force, and doubled back the right flank, the Americans were
obliged to retreat. A few let themselves down the precipice, clambering
from ledge to ledge and bush bush to bush, but when they reached the
water's edge there were no boats to receive them. The greater part
retreated a short distance along the road leading from Queenstown to the
Falls; but seeing escape was impossible, they surrendered in a body. To
do this, they had to send a flag of trace through the line of Indians,
and it was three times fired upon before it finally reached the British
commander. The last time it was borne by Scott in person.

So fended the battle of Queenstown, which was a very remarkable action,
and with better management might have had a different termination.
General Van Rensselaer, in his official despatches, labored to create
the impression that the refusal of the militia to cross the stream
was the whole cause of the final disaster, and at the same time he
studiously avoided mentioning the names of the officers--Wool and
Scott--to whom was due the credit for all the successes and glory of the
day.

The Americans, in this series of engagements, {059}lost about ninety men
killed, a hundred wounded, and nearly a thousand taken prisoners. The
British loss has never been determined. The American prisoners were sent
to Quebec, where twenty-three Irishmen were separated from the others
and sent to England to be tried for treason, on the ground that they
were British subjects and had been fighting against their own flag. As
soon as the American authorities had an equal number of prisoners in
their possession they placed them in close confinement, and gave
notice that their fate would be determined by that of the twenty-three
Irishmen. People who know nothing of historical experience in such
matters always cry out against any proposal of retaliation, arguing that
it will simply result in the murder of all the prisoners on both sides.
As a matter of fact, when retaliation is promptly and firmly threatened
for violation of the laws of war, it always has the effect of stopping
the outrage. And so it proved in this case; for twenty-one of the
captured Irishmen lived to return to their adopted country. The other
two died in prison.

During the funeral of General Brock, minute guns were fired by the
Americans on the eastern bank of the river, "as a mark of respect to a
brave enemy." There was perhaps no harm in this little bit of sentiment,
though if the Americans remembered that {060}two months before, in
demanding the surrender of Detroit, General Brock had threatened to
let loose a horde of savages upon the garrison and town, if he were
compelled to capture it by force, they must have seen that their minute
guns were supremely illogical, not to say silly. Brownell, in one of his
best poems, expresses the true sentiment for such a case:=

```"The Muse would weep for the brave,

````But how shall she chant the wrong?

```When, for the wrongs that were,

````Hath she lilted a single stave?

```Know, proud hearts, that, with her,

````'Tis not enough to be brave."=



CHAPTER V. WAR ON THE OCEAN.

{061}


_The President and the Little Belt--The President and the
Belvidera--Hull's Race--The Constitution and the Guerriere--Effect
of the Victory--The Wasp and the Frolic--The United States and the
Macedonian--The Constitution and the Java--Nelson's Prediction._


|While the year 1812 brought nothing but disaster to the land forces
of the United States, on the ocean it was fruitful of victories that
astonished the world. It is greatly to the credit of President Madison
that he followed the advice of Captains Stewart and Bainbridge, in
opposition to his entire Cabinet, to develop and use the navy, instead
of laying it up. That was not only the wise but the appropriate thing to
do. This was pre-eminently a sailors' war, entered upon chiefly for
the purpose of protecting American seamen from impressment in a foreign
service, and its ultimate result would be a settlement of the question
whether American ships were to be at liberty to sail the high seas at
all, or whether, as a poet of our day puts it, the Atlantic Ocean was to
be considered merely John Bull's back yard. It was the wise thing to do,
because, if a na{062}tion determines to go to war at all, it should do
it in earnest; and the most effective war is made when the earliest and
most persistent blows are directed at the enemy's vital part. Of all
Great Britain's possessions that could be reached by balls or bayonets,
her ships at sea were the most important to her. Canada might be
overrun, or even conquered, and she would hardly feel its loss--or at
least she could exist without it; but anything that weakened her navy
and deranged her commerce would make every Englishman feel the penalties
of war.

A slight foretaste of what American seamanship and gunnery might do had
been afforded by an affair that took place a year before the war
broke out. The American frigate _President_, of forty-four guns, with
Commodore John Rodgers on board, was cruising off Sandy Hook in May,
1811, searching for an English frigate that had taken a sailor from an
American brig, when she sighted a strange craft. In answer to her hail,
the stranger fired a shotted gun, and the shot struck the mainmast. The
_President_ promptly returned the fire, and in a few minutes broadsides
and musketry blazed out from both vessels. As soon as Rodgers perceived
the inferiority of his antagonist, he ordered his gunners to cease
firing; but no sooner were his guns silent than the stranger opened
again. With another broadside or {063}two the _President_ completely
crippled her, and then hailed and got an answer. As darkness now came
on, Rodgers lay to for the night, keeping lights displayed, in case the
stranger should need assistance. In the morning he sent an officer on
board, who learned that she was the British ship Little Belt; that she
was badly damaged, and had lost thirty-one men killed or wounded. But
she declined receiving any assistance. On board the President one
boy had been slightly wounded. Each vessel sailed for home, and each
commander told his own story, the two accounts being widely different.
The version here given is that of the American officers. According
to the English captain, the _President_ began the action by firing a
broadside into the unoffending _Little Belt_. Each government accepted
the statement of its own officers, and there the matter rested.

It was this same vessel, the _President_, that fought the first action
of the war. With news of the declaration came orders to Commodore
Rodgers, then in New York, to sail on a cruise against the enemy. Within
one hour he was ready. The _Hornet_, of eighteen guns, Captain Lawrence,
was ready at the same time, and the _Essex_, of thirty-two guns, Captain
Porter, a few hours later.

Information had been received that a large fleet of English merchantmen
had left Jamaica, under {064}a strong convoy, for England, and on the
21st of June, Rodgers left the port of New York with his squadron, in
search of them. He did not find them; but on the morning of the 23d
a sail appeared in sight, which proved to be the British frigate
_Belvidera_, and the _President_ gave chase. About four o'clock in the
afternoon the vessels were within gunshot, and Rodgers opened fire with
his bow-guns, sighting and discharging the first one himself. The ball
struck the rudder-coat of the _Belvidera_, and passed into the gun-room.
The next shot struck the muzzle of one of her stern-chasers. The third
killed two men and wounded five. At the fourth shot the gun burst,
blowing up the forecastle deck, on which Rodgers was standing, and
hurling him into the air. The explosion also killed or wounded sixteen
men. This caused a lull in the action, and the _Belvidera's_ men went
back to their guns and returned the fire with considerable effect. The
_President_ soon began to forge ahead, when the _Belvidera_ cut loose
her anchors, stove her boats and threw them overboard, started fourteen
tons of water, and thus lightened, managed to escape, and a few days
afterward made the port of Halifax. The total loss of the _President_,
killed and wounded, in this action, was twenty-two; that of the
_Belvidera_, about half as many. {065}An English privateer was captured
by the _Hornet_ on the 9th of July, and subsequently seven merchantmen,
and an American vessel that had been captured by the enemy was retaken.

When the _Belvidera_ carried into Halifax the news of the declaration
of war, and that the American cruisers were out, a squadron of five
vessels, under Captain Vere Broke in the _Shannon_, was sent out to
destroy Rodgers. They did not find him, but they captured several
American merchantmen off the port of New York, and also took, after a
smart chase, the little brig-of-war _Nautilus_.

The Essex, which had left port a little later than the _President_ and
_Hornet_, took several prizes, one of them being a transport filled with
soldiers. She was chased by the _Alert_, of twenty guns, and fired upon.
The _Essex_ was armed with carronades, guns not intended for work
at long distances. Waiting till the enemy had come pretty near, she
suddenly opened her broadside, and in eight minutes the _Alert_ struck
her colors.

The great war-game on the ocean began in earnest when Captain Isaac Hull
sailed from the Chesapeake in July, in the _Constitution_, a frigate
of forty-four guns. On the 17th he came in sight of five vessels, which
proved to be Broke's squadron, and the next day he was surrounded by
them. As the wind was {066}very light, he resorted to "kedging" to keep
out of reach of them. This consisted in sending a boat ahead for perhaps
half a mile, with a kedge anchor and lines. The kedge was then dropped,
and the lines carried back to the ship. These being fastened to the
windlass, the crew, by turning it and winding them up, pulled the vessel
up to the anchor. While this was being done, the boat was going ahead
with another kedge and lines, to repeat the operation and make it
continuous. The flagship of the British squadron was pretty close in
chase when the American frigate was thus seen to be walking away from
it. The enemy soon found out how the mysterious movement was made, and
resorted to the same expedient. But it was not possible to approach very
near by this means, as it would have brought his boat under the fire
of the American's stern-guns. Captain Hull had cut away some of the
woodwork and run two twenty-four pounders out at his cabin windows, and
also mounted a long gun on his spar deck as a stern-chaser. Whenever
there was a little wind, every vessel set every stitch of canvas she
could carry, and all the nicest arts of seamanship were resorted to to
gain the slightest advantage. Eleven ships were in sight most of the
time, all participating in the contest. An American merchantman appeared
to windward, and the British vessels, {067}not wishing to leave the
chase, displayed an American ensign to decoy her within reach of their
guns. Thereupon the _Constitution_ hoisted an English flag, to warn her
off. This exciting race was kept up for three days. In the evening of
the second day, it was evident that a heavy squall was coming up. Just
before it struck the _Constitution_, all the light canvas was furled,
and the ship was brought under short sail in a few minutes. When the
pursuing vessels observed this, they began at once to let go and haul
down without waiting for the wind. Presently the squall came, and with
it a rainstorm that hid the vessels from one another. As soon as this
happened, the _Constitution_ sheeted home and hoisted her fore and main
topgallant sails, and while her pursuers were steering in different
directions to avoid the force of the squall, and believed her to be
borne down by the pressure of the wind, she was sailing straight away
from them at the rate of eleven knots an hour. When the squall was over,
the nearest vessel of the British squadron was seen to be a long way
astern, and to have fallen off two points to leeward, while the slowest
ones were so far behind as to be almost out of sight. The chase was kept
up during the night, but in the morning was found to be so hopeless that
it was abandoned.

This contest, though a mere race, attended with {068}no fighting, no
damage of any kind, and only a negative result, is famous in the annals
of the ocean. It was a fine instance of that superior seamanship
which stood the American sailor in good stead throughout the war, and
contributed quite as much as his valor to the brilliant victories that
rendered Great Britain no longer the mistress of the seas.

Hull made sail for Boston, and after a short stay in that port sailed
again on the 2d of August. He cruised along eastward as far as the Gulf
of St. Lawrence, where he captured and burned two small prizes, and then
stood southward. In the afternoon of the 19th a sail was descried from
the masthead, and the _Constitution_ at once gave chase. Within an hour
and a half she was near enough to the stranger to see that she was a
frigate; and a little later she laid her maintopsail aback and waited
for the _Constitution_, evidently anxious for a contest.

Hull immediately put his vessel in complete trim for a fight, cleared
for action, and beat to quarters. At five o'clock the English frigate,
which proved to be the _Guerriere_, of thirty-eight guns, Captain
Dacres, hoisted three ensigns and opened fire. The _Constitution_
approached cautiously, so as to avoid being raked, firing occasionally,
but reserving most of her guns for close action.

After an hour of this, the _Guerriere_ indicated her {069}readiness for
a square fight, yard-arm to yard-arm, and the _Constitution_ set her
sails to draw alongside. The fire from both ships became gradually
heavier, and in ten minutes the mizzen-mast of the _Guerriere_ was shot
away. The _Constitution_ then passed slowly ahead, keeping up a constant
fire, her guns being double shotted with grape and round shot, and
attempted to get a position across the bows of the enemy and rake her.
But in trying to avoid being herself raked while gaining this position,
she luffed short, and fell foul of her enemy. At this moment the cabin
of the _Constitution_ took fire from the flash of the _Guerriere's_
guns, and for a while it looked as if she would fare hardly. But by
the energy and skill of Lieutenant B. V. Hoffman, who commanded in the
cabin, the fire was extinguished, confusion prevented, and a gun of the
_Guerriere_ that might have repeated the mischief disabled.

The instant the vessels came together, each attempted to board the
other; but a close and deadly fire of musketry prevented. On the
American side, Lieutenant Morris, Master Alwyn, and Mr. Bush, Lieutenant
of Marines, sprang to the taffrail to lead their men, when they were all
shot down. Finding it impossible to board, the _Constitution_ filled
her sails and shot ahead, and a moment later the _Guerriere's_ foremast
fell, and carried the mainmast, with it. This {070}reduced her to a
wreck, and as a heavy sea was on she was helpless. The _Constitution_
hauled off a short distance, repaired damages, and at seven o'clock wore
round and took a position for raking. An ensign that had been hoisted
on the stump of the mizzen-mast was at once hauled down in token of
surrender, and the prize was won. A lieutenant sent on board returned
with the news that she was one of the squadron that had so lately chased
the _Constitution_.

The victor kept near her prize through the night, and at daylight the
officer in charge reported that the _Guerriere_ had four feet of
water in the hold and was in danger of sinking. Captain Hull therefore
transferred the prisoners to his own vessel, recalled the prize crew,
and set the wreck on fire. In fifteen minutes the flames reached the
magazine, and the hulk that still remained of the proud English frigate
was blown to pieces.

In this battle the _Constitution_ lost seven men killed and seven
wounded. Her rigging suffered considerably, but her hull was only
very slightly damaged. The _Guerriere_ lost seventy-nine men killed
or wounded. The location of this battle may be found by drawing a line
directly east from the point of Cape Cod, and another directly south
from Cape Race; the point of intersection will be very near the
bat{071}tle-ground. It is a little south of the track of steamers
between New York and Liverpool.

The news of this victory was a startling revelation, on both sides of
the Atlantic. In expressing their contempt for the American navy, the
English journals had especially ridiculed the _Constitution_, as "a
bunch of pine boards, under a bit of striped bunting." This bunch of
boards had now outsailed a squadron of eleven British war-vessels, and
in a fight of half an hour had reduced one of their frigates to a wreck
and made her strike her colors. It was true that the American ship was
slightly superior in number of men and guns; but this would not account
for the superiority of seamanship, the better gun-practice, and the
enormous difference in losses. Captain Dacres, who was afterward put on
trial for losing his ship, asserted that he had sent away a considerable
number of his men in prizes; that he had several Americans in his crew
who refused to fight against their countrymen, and that he permitted
them to go below. But all allowances that could be made did not change
the essential character of the victory. Only a short time before, the
London Courier had said, "There is not a frigate in the American navy
able to cope with the _Guerriere_."

Captain Hull, who was now in his thirty-eighth year, had entered the
navy at the age of twenty{072}three, and had gained distinction in the
war with Tripoli. When he landed in Boston with his prisoners, nearly
the whole population of the town turned out to greet him. Flags and
streamers were displayed on every hand, decorated arches spanned the
streets, and a banquet was spread for him and his crew. He made a sort
of triumphal progress to New York and Philadelphia, where similar honors
were paid him, and handsome swords and snuffboxes presented to him.
Congress voted him a gold medal, to each of his commissioned officers a
silver medal, and fifty thousand dollars to the crew as prize money.

In his official report the Captain said: "It gives me great pleasure to
say that, from the smallest boy in the ship to the oldest seaman, not
a look of fear was seen. They all went into action giving three cheers,
and requesting to be laid close alongside the enemy." The London _Times_
said: "It is not merely that an English frigate has been taken, after
what we are free to confess may be called a brave resistance, but
that it has been taken by a new enemy, an enemy unaccustomed to such
triumphs, and likely to be rendered insolent and confident by them.
He must be a weak politician who does not see how important the first
triumph is, in giving a tone and character to the war. Never before
in the {073}history of the world did an English frigate strike to
an American; and though we cannot say that Captain Dacres, under all
circumstances, is punishable for this act, yet we do say there are
commanders in the English navy who would a thousand times have rather
gone down with their colors flying than have set their brother officers
so fatal an example."

The next naval contest, in the order of time, was that of the _Wasp_ and
the _Frolic_, one of the bloodiest of the war. The _Wasp_, an American
sloop-of-war, of eighteen guns, commanded by Captain Jacob Jones, was a
very fast sailer, and had gone to Europe with despatches, when the war
broke out. On her return she was refitted with all haste and sent out
on a cruise. In the night of October 17th, about five hundred miles
off Cape Hatteras, she sighted a fleet of six English merchantmen under
convoy of the _Frolic_, a brig, of twenty-two guns, Captain Whinyates.
Four of the merchantmen were armed.

The next morning, the sea being somewhat rough, the _Wasp_ was put under
short canvas and got into fighting trim, and then bore down upon the
_Frolic_, which kept herself between her convoy and the enemy. She also
was under short canvas, and her main-yard was on deck. About half past
eleven o'clock the _Wasp_ came up close on the starboard side of the
_Frolic_, and broadsides were exchanged at {074}the distance of only
sixty yards. The fire of the Englishman was the more rapid, but that
of the American was the more deliberate and effective. In a little
over four minutes the _Wasp's_ maintopmast was shot off and with the
maintopsail-yard fell across the braces, rendering the head-yards
unmanageable. A few minutes later her gaff and mizzen-topgallant-mast
were shot down; and before the action was over, every brace and most of
the rigging was carried away. The shot of the _Wasp_ was directed mainly
at her enemy's hull, and the firing on both sides was kept up with great
spirit, little or no attempt being made to manoeuvre, and the vessels
gradually approaching each other. At last they were so near that the
American gunners touched the side of the _Frolic_ with their rammers,
her bowsprit passed over the _Wasp's_ quarterdeck, and the latter was
brought directly across the Englishman's bows, in position for raking.
Captain Jones ordered a broadside; and when it was fired, the muzzles of
two of the guns were actually in the bow ports of the _Frolic_, and the
discharge swept her from stem to stern.

As no sign of submission had come from the enemy, Captain Jones was
about to repeat the raking, but was prevented by the impetuosity of his
crew. A sailor named John Lang, who had once {075}been impressed on a
British man-of-war, hot for revenge, sprang upon the bowsprit of the
_Frolic_, cutlass in hand, and was followed by Lieutenant Biddle and an
impromptu boarding-party. They met no opposition. Two or three officers,
wounded and bleeding, were standing on the after-part of the deck; there
was a cool-headed old seaman at the wheel; and dead and wounded sailors
were lying about in all directions. The officers threw down their
swords, and Lieutenant Biddle sprang into the rigging and hauled down
the British flag. The battle had lasted forty-three minutes. On board
the _Wasp_, five men had been killed and five wounded. The loss on
the _Frolic_ has never been ascertained, it was at least seventy-five.
Captain Whinyates, in his official report, said that not twenty of his
men escaped injury.

The two vessels were separated, and in a few minutes both masts of the
_Frolic_ fell. Arrangements were made for sending her into Charleston
with a prize crew, while the Wasp should repair damages and continue
her cruise. But before this plan could even be fairly entered upon, the
British ship-of-the-line _Poictiers_, carrying seventy-four guns, hove
in sight, and speedily made prize of both vessels and took them to
Bermuda.

On the same day when this action took place. {076}Commodore Stephen
Decatur, cruising in the frigate _United States_, captured the British
packet _Swallow_, which had on board a large quantity of specie. He
continued his cruise eastward, and only a week later (October 25th),
at a point about midway between the Azores and the Cape Verd Islands,
sighted a large vessel to windward, which proved to be the English
frigate _Macedonian_, carrying forty-nine guns, Captain Carden. She was
somewhat smaller than the _United States,_ and had fewer men. Decatur
made up to the stranger; but she had the advantage of the wind, and for
some time managed to keep out of reach. At length, after considerable
manoeuvring, the distance was shortened, and both vessels opened fire
with their long guns. The gunnery of the American was superior, and
while sustaining little injury herself she inflicted serious damage upon
her antagonist. At the end of half an hour, the distance had been
still more diminished, so that the carronades were brought into use. A
carronade is a short gun, throwing a comparatively large ball with not
very great velocity. The size of the ball and its slower motion cause
it to splinter and tear a ragged hole in the side of a ship, where
a smaller shot with a greater velocity would pass through and make a
smooth round hole, which could easily be plugged up again. {077}As the
_Macedonian_ became disabled, she fell off to leeward, while the United
States passed ahead and to windward, and then tacked and came up under
her lee. The firing, which had been entirely with artillery, now ceased
on both sides. The _Macedonian's_ mizzen-mast was gone, her main and
foretopmasts carried away, her main-yard cut in two, and her ensign had
disappeared. The _United States_ hailed her, and was answered that she
had struck her colors. She had received a hundred shot in her hull, most
of them in the waist. She went into the action with three hundred men,
of whom she lost thirty-six killed and sixty-eight wounded. On board
were seven impressed American sailors, two of whom were killed. On the
_United States_ five men were killed and seven wounded. Her rigging was
considerably cut, but otherwise she received very little injury.

Decatur took his prize to New York, going in by way of Long Island
Sound, where he arrived on New Year's day, 1813. He was received with a
great ovation, and there were banquets, orations; and public rejoicings
unlimited. Congress, following the precedent set in the case of Hull,
voted a gold medal to the commander, and a silver one to each of his
commissioned officers.

A member of the British Parliament, making a {078}speech concerning this
affair, said he "lamented that, with the navy of Great Britain against
that of America, which consisted of only four frigates and two sloops,
two of our finest frigates were now in their possession, captured
by only two of theirs. This was a reverse which English officers
and English sailors had not before been used to, and from such a
contemptible navy as that of America had always been held, no one could
suppose such an event could have taken place."

And the London _Independent Whig_ was constrained to say: "A powerful
and rival nation is now rapidly rising in the west, whose remonstrances
we have hitherto derided, but whose resentment we shall soon be taught
to feel; who for our follies or our crimes seems destined to retaliate
on us the miseries we have inflicted on defenceless and oppressed
states, to share with us the fertile products of the ocean, and snatch
from our feeble and decrepit hands the imperial trident of the main."

But the cup of English humiliation was not yet full. The Americans had
another able commander, with a stanch ship and a fearless crew, who now
came in for his turn. This was Commodore William Bainbridge, who sailed
from Boston late in October, on board the _Constitution_, the same
vessel with which Hull had conquered the _Guerriere_. In com{079}pany
with her sailed the brig _Hornet_, of eighteen guns, commanded by
Captain James Lawrence.

They cruised southward, and in December the _Hornet_ was left at San
Salvador, or Bahia, Brazil, to blockade an English brig that was on the
point of sailing with a large amount of specie on board. Lawrence had
sent in a challenge to fight the two brigs, on even terms, just outside
the harbor, but the English captain declined.

The _Constitution_ continued her cruise, and on the 29th, off
the Brazilian coast, sighted the English frigate _Java_, carrying
thirty-eight guns, Captain Lambert. Bainbridge tacked and drew the
stranger off the land, which was not more than thirty miles distant, and
when far enough away stood toward him. The enemy seemed quite as anxious
for a contest, and about two o'clock it began. The firing was heavy and
continuous. The _Java_ had the advantage of the wind, and attempted to
cross the _Constitution's_ bow, to rake her. But the latter wore, and
avoided it. This manoeuvre was repeated several times, and at length the
_Constitution_, though her wheel had been shot away, making it difficult
to manage the steering-gear, succeeded in getting the coveted position,
and raked her antagonist.

The Java, which had been badly damaged, ran down Upon the _Constitution_
with the intention of {080}boarding. But her jibboom became entangled
in the _Constitution's_ mizzen-rigging, and she was held there and raked
mercilessly. At this time her bowsprit and foremast were shot away.

The two vessels now separated, and after considerable manoeuvring came
together again, yard-arm and yard-arm, and reopened their broadsides.
Now the _Java's_ mizzen-mast tumbled, and her main-mast was the only
stick left standing. The _Constitution_ then hauled off, and spent an
hour in repairing damages, at the end of which time she wore round and
stood across her antagonist's bow, when the English colors were struck.

The action had lasted an hour and fifty-five minutes. The _Constitution_
had lost nine men killed and twenty-five wounded, Commodore Bainbridge
being slightly wounded. The loss on board the _Java_ was variously
stated; the lowest estimate made it twenty-two killed and one hundred
and one wounded. Bainbridge said that sixty were killed. Captain Lambert
was mortally wounded. The whole number on board was four hundred,
including General Hislop and his staff and other officers, who were on
their way to the East Indies.

The _Java_ was a complete wreck, and after a day or two it was
determined to blow her up, which was done after all the prisoners and
wounded had been {081}carefully removed. She might have been towed into
Bahia; but Brazil was friendly to Great Britain, and Bainbridge did not
want to trust his prize in a Brazilian harbor. He, however, landed his
prisoners there, and paroled them.

The _Constitution_--which received the name of "_Old Ironsides_," on
account of escaping serious damage in this action--arrived at Boston in
February. Here the same welcome that had been given to Hull and Decatur
was extended to Bainbridge. The cities of New York and Albany gave
him gold snuff-boxes, Philadelphia gave him a service of silver, and
Congress voted the usual medals, with fifty thousand dollars of prize
money for the crew.

In the first six months of the war, the little American navy, for which
Congress had done nothing, and from which nothing had been expected, had
six encounters with English cruisers, and in every one was victorious.
These defeats were a sore trouble to English naval historians, who have
ever since been laboring to explain them away. They have invented
all sorts of ingenious theories to account for them; but it has never
occurred to them to adopt the simple explanation that they _were_
defeats, brought about by superior seamanship and gunnery, backed up
by the consciousness of a just cause, on the part of the Americans. The
favorite explanation {082}has been, that the American so-called frigates
were seventy-four-gun ships in disguise; that the English crews were all
green hands, and their numbers were not full at that. A few years later,
General Scott met at a dinner in London a young British naval officer,
who superciliously inquired, "whether the Americans continued to build
line-of-battle ships, and to call them frigates."

"We have borrowed a great many excellent things from the mother
country," answered Scott, "and some that discredit both parties. Among
the latter is the practice in question. Thus when you took from France
the _Guerrière_, she mounted forty-nine guns, and you instantly rated
her on your list a thirty-six-gun frigate; but when we captured her from
you, we found on board the same number, forty-nine guns!"

During this same half year, nearly three hundred British merchantmen had
been captured and brought into American ports. In this work the little
navy had been assisted by a large number of privateers, which had
sailed from our ports, under letters of marque, and had not only helped
themselves to the rich spoils of British commerce, but had occasionally
fought with armed cruisers.

These disasters were no more than had been predicted by Lord Nelson, the
greatest of English admirals. After watching the evolutions of an
Ameri{083}can squadron commanded by Commodore Richard Dale, in the bay of
Gibraltar, he is reported to have said to an American gentleman who was
on board his flagship that "there was in those transatlantic ships a
nucleus of trouble for the maritime power of Great Britain. We have
nothing to fear from anything on this side of the Atlantic; but the
manner in which those ships are handled makes me think that there may be
a time when we shall have trouble from the other."



CHAPTER VI. MINOR BATTLES IN THE WEST.

{084}


_Winchester's Expedition--Fight at Frenchtown--Massacre at the
Raisin--Siege of Fort Meigs._


|At the opening of the year 1813, General William Henry Harrison, who
had won a high reputation by his victory over the Indians at Tippecanoe
in 1811, being now in command of the forces in the West, endeavored
to concentrate them for a movement against the British and savages at
Detroit and Malden. An expedition composed mainly of Kentucky troops,
under General James Winchester, was making its way northward through
Ohio to join him; and Leslie Coombs, of Kentucky, accompanied by a
single guide, went through the woods more than a hundred miles on foot
to inform Harrison of their approach.

When Winchester's expedition reached the rapids of the Miami, he was met
by messengers from the pioneers about the River Raisin, informing him
that the enemy was organizing a movement against the settlements there,
and imploring him to protect them. A detachment of six hundred and sixty
men, {085}under Colonels Lewis and Allen, was sent forward, and pushing
on with the greatest possible rapidity, marching a part of the way over
the frozen surface of Lake Erie, reached Frenchtown, on the Raisin,
where Monroe, Michigan, now stands, on the 18th of January.

That place had been occupied a few days before by a hundred English and
four hundred Indians, who now took the alarm and prepared to resist the
advancing expedition. As he approached the village, Colonel Lewis formed
his command in columns, and moved forward in the face of a heavy fire
of musketry and artillery. The enemy was posted behind the houses and
garden fences of the village, which stood on the north side of the
river; and the Americans, who had no artillery, crossed over on the ice
and at once made a charge. Finding themselves attacked vigorously in
front and on the left flank at the same time, the British retreated
about half a mile, and took a new position in the woods, where they were
partly protected by fallen timber. Colonel Lewis sent a detachment to
strike this position on its right flank; and as soon as he heard the
firing there, Colonel Allen attacked it in front. The enemy retreated
slowly, fighting at every step, and the Americans steadily pressed
their advantage till dark, when they returned to the village and
en{086}camped. They had lost twelve men killed and fifty-five wounded. The
loss of the enemy was not ascertained, but they left fifteen men dead on
the field where the first engagement took place.

The news of this victory was sent at once to General Winchester, who
came up promptly with a reënforcement of two hundred and fifty men. It
was expected that the place would be attacked by a heavier British force
from Malden, which was but eighteen miles distant, and preparations were
made for constructing a fortified camp. But the enemy came before this
could be completed. In the night of January 21st, Colonel Henry Proctor,
with a force of about eleven hundred, British and savages, moved from
Malden, and early in the morning of the 22d the American sentries were
surprised. No pickets had been thrown out, and the troops were hardly
brought into line when a heavy fire of artillery and small arms was
opened, both in front and on the flanks, the yells of the savages being
heard in the intervals of the discharges.

The attack in front was met and repelled by a steady fire, the Americans
being considerably sheltered by the stout garden fences. On the right
flank the attack was not so well resisted, and that wing was soon
broken. It was rallied by Winchester, and reenforced by Lewis; but the
enemy, seeing his ad{087}vantage, followed it up, and the whole
wing, reenforcements and all, was swept away, the remnant retreating in
disorder across the river.

All efforts to rally the fugitives were vain, and in a little while the
Indians overwhelmed the left wing also. The disorganized troops of this
wing attempted to escape by a road that led to the rapids of the Raisin;
but the savages were posted all along behind the fences, and shot down
great numbers of them. They then took to the woods directly west of the
village; but here also were savages lying in wait, and it is said that
nearly a hundred were tomahawked and scalped before they had gone as
many yards. One party of nearly twenty men surrendered, but all except
the lieutenant in command were at once massacred by their treacherous
captors. Another party of forty were overtaken after they had retreated
three miles, and compelled to surrender, when more than half of them
were murdered in cold blood. General Winchester and Colonel Lewis were
captured by the Indians, but Proctor, with some difficulty, got them
under his protection. Colonel Allen, after trying without success to
rally his men, retreated alone nearly two miles, and there sat down on
a log, being too much enfeebled by wounds to go farther. An Indian
chief came up and demanded his surrender, promising protection; but
{088}almost immediately followed two others, who evidently intended to
scalp him. Allen killed one of them with a single blow of his sword, and
was immediately shot by the other.

Meanwhile the centre of the American line could not be dislodged
from its position behind the fences. It was composed of Kentucky
sharpshooters, and some idea of the havoc they made among the British
regulars may be gained from the fact that out of sixteen men in charge
of one gun thirteen were killed. Appalled at such losses, Proctor
bethought him of a cheaper method than continued fighting. He
represented to General Winchester, now a prisoner in his hands, that
unless an immediate surrender were made, the result would be a complete
massacre of the Americans. Winchester's fears were so wrought upon that
he sent, by a flag of truce, orders to Major Madison to surrender. As he
had no right to give orders of any kind while a prisoner in the hands
of the enemy, Madison refused to obey, but offered to surrender on
condition that safety and protection should be guaranteed to him and
his men. When Proctor found he could not get the place in any other
way without a great sacrifice of his troops, he agreed to the terms
proposed, and the surrender took place.

But no sooner had the gallant little band become {089}prisoners, than
Proctor, like many other British officers of that day, forgot his
promise, and the savages began to plunder the prisoners, unhindered by
their English allies. Thereupon the Americans resumed their arms, and by
a vigorous bayonet charge drove off the Indians.

The next day the British force started for Malden, taking with it all
the prisoners who were able to march. The badly-wounded were left at
French-town, with no guard but a British major and the interpreters.
The injured men were taken into the houses, and attended by two American
surgeons. On the morning of the 23d, about two hundred Indians who had
accompanied Proctor as far as Stony Creek, and there had a carouse,
returned to French-town, held a council, and resolved to kill all the
prisoners who could not march away with them. They then proceeded at
once to plunder the whole village, tomahawk the wounded men, and set
fire to the houses. They perpetrated such outrages and cruelties that
most of the historians have shrunk from detailing them. Many prisoners
who managed to crawl out of the burning buildings were thrown back into
the flames. A few of the strongest were marched off with the savages
toward Malden; but as one by one they became exhausted, they were
mercilessly tomahawked and scalped. These scalps {090}were carried to
the British headquarters, where the savages received the premium for
them.

Of the American force engaged in this affair, three hundred and
ninety-seven were killed, five hundred and thirty-seven were prisoners,
and but thirty-three escaped. The British are said to have lost
twenty-four killed and a hundred and fifty-eight wounded. The loss of
the Indians is unknown.

After the disaster at the River Raisin, General Harrison concentrated
his remaining troops--twelve hundred men--and built Fort Meigs, at the
foot of the rapids of the Maumee. This work was on the right bank of
the stream, on high ground, and enclosed about eight acres. There were
several strong block-houses, and considerable artillery.

General Proctor, with a force of about one thousand British and twelve
hundred Indians, and two gunboats, set out on an expedition against this
post in April. He crossed the lake, ascended the river, and on the 28th
landed about two miles below the fort, but on the opposite bank. Here
he erected a battery, and subsequently he planted two others, above the
fort but on the left bank, and one below and very near it on the right
bank. The Indians, commanded by the famous Tecumseh, were landed on the
right bank, to invest the fort in the rear. The batteries opened fire on
the 1st of May, and {091}kept it up steadily four days; but it had very
little effect, owing largely to a traverse twelve feet high and twenty
feet thick which the garrison had constructed while the batteries were
being erected. Proctor on the third day demanded a surrender, with the
usual threat of massacre.

Learning that General Green Clay was coming to him with a reënforcement
of eleven hundred Kentuckians, Harrison had sent word to him to hurry
forward as fast as possible. At midnight on the 4th of May, two officers
and fifteen men from this force descended the river and entered the
fort, with the news that Clay was but eighteen miles distant. Harrison
sent orders to him to send eight hundred of his men across the river at
a point a mile and a half above the fort, thence to march down the left
bank and capture and destroy the enemy's batteries; the remaining three
hundred to march down the right bank and fight their way through the
Indians to the fort.

The detachment landed on the left bank, commanded by Colonel Dudley,
moved silently down upon the British batteries, and then, raising a
terrific yell, were upon them before the enemy could realize that he
was attacked. The guns were spiked and their carriages destroyed; but
instead of crossing to the fort at once, as Harrison's orders
direct{092}ed, the victors, flushed with their success, were drawn into a
running fight with some Indians, and finally fell into an ambush, and
all but about a hundred and fifty were either captured or killed. That
number reached their boats and crossed.

The detachment on the right bank, under General Clay himself, had some
difficulty in landing, and lost a few men in fighting its way through
the Indians, but ultimately reached the fort. While these movements were
going on, three hundred and fifty men of the garrison, under Colonel
John Miller, made a sortie against the battery on the right bank,
captured it, spiked the guns, and returned with forty-three prisoners.

When Clay's troops reached the fort, they were joined by another
sallying party, and the combined force moved against the Indians, whom
Tecumseh commanded in person, and drove them through the woods at the
point of the bayonet. Tecumseh attempted to move a force of British and
Indians upon their left flank and rear, to cut off their return to
the fort, but this movement was frustrated by Harrison, who understood
Indian warfare quite as well as the great chief himself.

Proctor's savage allies, disgusted at his want of success, now began to
desert him, and he was obliged to raise the siege and retreat. This
he did {093}not do, however, without keeping up his reputation for
treachery and cold-blooded cruelty. His prisoners were taken to old Fort
Miami, a short distance down stream, where the savages were allowed to
murder more than twenty of them. Captain Wood, an eye-witness, says:
"The Indians were permitted to garnish the surrounding rampart, and
to amuse themselves by loading and firing at the crowd, or at any
particular individual. Those who preferred to inflict a still more cruel
and savage death selected their victims, led them to the gateway, and
there, under the eye of General Proctor, and in the presence of the
whole British army, tomahawked and scalped them." It is said that the
horrible work was stopped by Tecumseh, who, coming up when it was at
its height, buried his hatchet in the head of a chief engaged in the
massacre, crying: "For shame!--it is a disgrace to kill a defenceless
prisoner!" "In this single act," says the witness who narrates it,"
Tecumseh displayed more humanity, magnanimity, and civilization than
Proctor, with all his British associates in command, displayed through
the whole war on the northwestern frontiers."

The total loss to the Americans in these actions was eighty-one men
killed, two hundred and sixty-nine wounded, and four hundred and
sixty-seven made prisoners. It is uncertain what the British {094}loss
was, but it was probably somewhat smaller than that of the Americans.

In July, Proctor and Tecumseh, with a combined English and savage force
of about five thousand, returned to Fort Meigs and attempted to draw
out the garrison by strategy; but Harrison was, as usual, too shrewd for
them, and they turned their attention to Fort Stephenson. This was an
oblong stockade fort, about a hundred yards long and fifty yards wide,
with high pickets, surrounded by a deep ditch or moat. There was a
strong block-house at each corner. It was on the Sandusky, where the
town of Fremont, Ohio, now stands. The garrison consisted of one hundred
and sixty men, commanded by Major George Croghan.

The British sailed around into Sandusky Bay, and up the river, while
their savage allies marched overland and invested the fort in the rear,
to prevent the approach of reënforcements. Harrison believed the fort to
be untenable, and had sent orders to Croghan to abandon and destroy
it; but these orders did not reach the Major till retreat had become
impossible.

On the 1st of August Proctor sent in a flag of truce, and demanded an
immediate surrender, accompanied with the usual threat that if it were
refused the Indians would massacre the entire garrison as {095}soon as
the place was taken. The ensign who met the flag made answer that Major
Croghan and his men had determined "to defend the fort, or be buried in
it." Proctor opened fire from his gunboats and four guns which he had
placed in battery on shore, and bombarded the fort continuously for two
days and nights. As this fire was directed mainly against the northwest
angle, Croghan expected the main attack to be made at that point, and
prepared for it. Besides strengthening the walls with bags of sand and
bags of flour, he placed his only gun, a six-pounder, where it would
enfilade the ditch on that side, loaded it with a double charge of
slugs, and masked it.

It was after sunset on the 3d when the storming parties approached.
Two columns passed around the western side of the fort, to threaten the
southern face, while a third, commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel Short,
approached the northwest angle. When it was within twenty yards, the
Kentucky riflemen gave it a volley that thinned the ranks, but did not
stop its progress. The Lieutenant-Colonel and a large number of his
men scaled the outer line of pickets, and poured into the ditch. "Now,
then," he shouted, "scale the pickets, and show the d----d Yankee
rascals no quarter!"

The next moment, Croghan's single piece of artil{096}lery was unmasked
and fired. It completely swept the ditch, cutting down nearly every
soldier in it, while a volley of rifle-balls finished the bloody work.
Lieutenant-Colonel Short, who was mortally wounded, immediately raised
his handkerchief on the point of his sword, to ask for quarter.

Another column of red-coats attempted the task at which the first had
so wofully failed, and the deadly performance of the howitzer and the
rifles was repeated. The columns that approached the fort on the south
were driven off by a single volley, and the battle was ended. In the
night the British gathered up their dead and wounded, and the next
morning they were seen to sail away, leaving behind a quantity of
military stores. They acknowledged a loss of twenty-seven killed and
seventy wounded; but it was probably much larger. One American was
killed, and seven wounded.



CHAPTER VII. WAR ON THE LAKES.

{097}


_The Armaments--Preliminary Operations--Expedition against York
--Death of General Pike--Capture of Fort George--Attack on Sackett's
Harbor--Battle of Stony Creek._


|The importance of the great navigable lakes lying between the United
States and Canada had not been overlooked by either party to this
war. As soon as it broke out, both began preparations to secure the
ascendency on those waters--which, besides its direct advantages, would
be almost necessary to either in making invasions around the coasts. A
large portion of the shores on both sides--more especially, perhaps, on
the American side--was at that time a wilderness, and the few open ports
would naturally hold out strong temptations to the enemy.

The chief advantage was with the British, both because the oldest and
largest settlements were on their side of the lakes, and because they
had possession of the St. Lawrence River, which made it easy for them
to bring up supplies from the seaboard. The Americans, however, had
regularly trained naval officers in command of their few vessels on
{098}lakes Ontario and Champlain, while the English had not. The largest
American vessel on the lower lakes was the _Oneida_, of sixteen guns;
the largest British vessel, the _Royal George_, of twenty-two. The enemy
also had several other vessels, carrying from a dozen to sixteen guns
each, which it would be useless to specify, as their names and character
were several times changed during the war. As soon as hostilities
were declared, both sides began building new ships and arming merchant
schooners.

In July, 1812, the British fleet had made an attempt to capture the
_Oneida_ and a prize schooner, both of which were at Sackett's Harbor.
Lieutenant-Commander Woolsey anchored the _Oneida_ in the harbor, where
she could command the entrance, placed half of her guns in a battery
on shore, and easily drove off the enemy's fleet, whose performance
exhibited very little of the character of serious warfare.

In October, of that year, Captain Isaac Chauncey arrived at Sackett's
Harbor, with authority to organize a fleet. He brought from New York
forty ship-carpenters and a hundred officers and seamen, and a supply of
naval stores. He bought ten or a dozen schooners, armed them--generally
with long swivel guns--and fitted them up for naval service as well
as their character would admit. These, with the {099}_Oneida_, carried
forty guns and four hundred and thirty men.

Chauncey's first exploit with this fleet was to chase the _Royal George_
into the harbor of Kingston, and attack the batteries there; but nothing
was accomplished by it save the capture of two small prizes. He lost one
man killed and eight wounded--five by the bursting of a gun. About the
same time (November, 1812), an expedition was made to clear the Canadian
shore of batteries at the head of Niagara River. Four hundred soldiers
and sailors, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Boerstler and Captain King,
crossed from Black Rock in twenty boats, assaulted the batteries, and
after desperate fighting captured them. They then spiked all the
guns, burned the barracks, and retreated to the shore. The usual bad
management seems to have entered into this, as into all the other
enterprises of the sort, and the boats were not at hand for the
recrossing; in consequence of which Captain King and sixty of his men
were made prisoners.

Nothing can be done on the lakes in winter, as the harbors are closed by
ice; but the building of vessels went on, and with the opening of spring
General Dearborn and Commodore Chauncey began operations which showed
no lack of activity and energy, however well or ill judged they may have
been. {100}York (now Toronto) was at this time the capital ===of Upper
Canada. It was a place of about twelve hundred inhabitants, situated
on a beautiful landlocked bay, about two by three miles in extent. The
British were known to have a large vessel there, the _Prince Regent_,
and to be building another. Mainly for the purpose of seizing this
vessel, and destroying the one on the stocks, General Dearborn planned
an expedition against York. He had seventeen hundred men available for
the purpose, and Commodore Chauncey had fourteen vessels.

The expedition was organized, and sailed from Sackett's Harbor on the
25th of April. The winds were unfavorable, and the passage was somewhat
tedious; but the fleet arrived off the harbor of York on the 27th. The
intention was to land the troops by means of boats, at a point about two
and a half miles west of the town, the guns of the fleet covering the
landing, and march at once on the defences of the place, where General
Roger H. Sheaffe was in command. But the water was rough, and the boats
were driven half a mile farther westward, where they were compelled to
land with but little protection from the vessels.

Here a body of British and Indians, concealed in the edge of a wood,
were ready to receive them.

A column of riflemen, under Major Forsyth, were {101}in the first boats,
and as they approached the shore the enemy opened upon them with a
destructive fire. Forsyth lost a considerable number of men before he
could land. But his riflemen stood up in the boats and returned the fire
with some effect, and he was followed quickly by a battalion of infantry
under Major King, and this by the main body under General Zebulon M.
Pike, who was in immediate command of the entire military force. The
fleet at the same time contrived to throw a few effective shots into the
woods, and the landing was effected without confusion.

The skirmishing party of British and Indians had been gradually
strengthened till, by the time General Pike's forces were on shore, they
had an almost equal force to dispute their passage toward the town. The
enemy were still in the woods, and as soon as the Americans had been
formed in battle order they advanced. The nature of the ground made
it almost impossible to move or use their artillery; but the enemy had
three pieces, with which they attacked the flanks of the column.
The fighting soon became hot and deadly. There were charges and
counter-charges, one and another part of either line alternately giving
way and rallying again; but on the whole the advantage was with the
Americans, and the British were gradually forced {102}back into the
outer defences. The Indians are said to have fled from the field early
in the action.

The approach to the town, along the shore, was crossed by numerous
streams and ravines, and the enemy destroyed the bridges behind them as
they retired. Two pieces of artillery were with great difficulty taken
across one of these ravines and placed where they could be brought to
bear on the enemy.

The orders to the infantry were, to advance with unloaded muskets and
carry the first battery at the point of the bayonet. This was easily
done, as the enemy only remained long enough to discharge two or three
cannon-shots hastily, and then fell back to his second battery, nearer
the town.

General Pike led the column forward at once to the second battery, which
the enemy also abandoned, after spiking the guns. Here he discovered
that the barracks, three hundred yards still nearer to the town,
appeared to be evacuated. Suspecting that there might be some scheme on
the part of the enemy for drawing him into a disadvantageous position,
where a stand would be made, he halted at the second battery, and sent
forward Lieutenant Riddle with a few men to find out the true state of
affairs.

The Lieutenant found the barracks deserted, and was about to return
with the information, when sud{103}denly the ground was shaken by
a terrific explosion, and in a moment the air was darkened by flying
boards, timbers, and stones, bars of iron, shells, and shot. The
magazine, containing five hundred barrels of powder, had been blown
up. It was situated in a little ravine, the bank of which protected
Lieutenant Riddle's party, all of whom escaped. But a considerable
number of the beams and masses of masonry, passing over their heads,
fell within the battery. General Pike, who had just been removing a
wounded prisoner to a place of safety, at the moment was seated on
a stump, questioning a British sergeant who had been captured in the
woods. As the shower of débris came down within the battery, the General
was crushed to the earth by a section of stone wall, and two of his
aides and the wounded sergeant were also struck down--all of them being
fatally injured. By this explosion, fifty-two Americans were killed
outright, and one hundred and eighty wounded. About forty British
soldiers also, who were near the magazine, were killed.

General Pike being disabled, the command devolved upon Colonel Cromwell
Pearce, who pushed on with his troops as soon as possible, though not
in time to prevent the escape of the British General Sheaffe and all his
regulars who remained unharmed. Sheaffe drew up terms of capitulation,
and left {104}them in the hands of the officer who commanded the
militia. As the Americans approached the town, they were met by this
officer with the offer to surrender, the capitulation to include the
town and all government stores therein. While the parley was going
on, Sheaffe destroyed most of the military stores, set fire to the
war-vessel that was on the stocks, and made off, but his baggage and
private papers were captured. Two hundred and ninety officers and
men--of the British navy and militia--became prisoners and were paroled.
General Pike had enjoined upon his soldiers the duty of protecting
private property in the town, and given orders that marauding should
be punished with death. His wishes were carefully observed; but the
government buildings were burned.

General Pike, when his wound was found to be mortal, was borne off to
the fleet. A little while afterward the British flag that had floated
over York was brought to him. He asked to have it placed under his head,
and in a few minutes calmly expired. He was but thirty-four years of
age, but had performed valuable services for his country, especially in
the command of two exploring expeditions, one about the headwaters of
the Mississippi, and the other in what is now western Louisiana and
Texas--of both of which he published accounts. {105}The war-vessel that
the Americans expected to capture at York had left the harbor two days
before their arrival. The troops abandoned the place, and on the 1st of
May were taken again on board the fleet, which as soon as the weather
would permit, on the 8th, sailed away. In this expedition the loss of
the American land forces was fourteen killed and twenty-three wounded,
besides those who suffered from the explosion of the magazine. In the
fleet, seventeen men were killed or wounded. The British regulars lost
sixty-two killed and ninety wounded; the loss of the Indians and militia
was unknown.

Two episodes of this battle have been discussed with considerable
warmth. The first is the explosion of the magazine. It is not certain
that this was done purposely. General Sheaffe, in his report, attributed
it to "an unfortunate accident," but two English historians speak of it
with commendation as a regularly laid plan. American writers who condemn
it have done so on the ground that, as the commanding General had
made arrangements for a surrender, the place was virtually surrendered
already, and he therefore had no farther right to destroy life or even
property. Commodore Chauncey probably gave the correct view of the
matter when he wrote: "I'm much inclined to believe that General Sheaffe
was correct when he stated that it was accidental. {106}Nor could I
condemn the enemy, even if a train had been laid. It is a perfectly
legitimate mode of defence, as every student of history knows; and why
should we censure the garrison for thus employing an acknowledged means
of defence, to check the progress of an invader?" If the surrender had
not virtually taken place, it is difficult to see why the defenders
of the town are to be any more blamed for firing a stone wall at their
enemy than they would have been for firing a thousand bullets.

The other point discussed is the burning of the government buildings.
They were undoubtedly set on fire, though without orders from
headquarters. It was said that the soldiers were incensed at finding a
human scalp--presumably that of an American, taken by some Indian, and
sold to the British authorities for the proffered premium--hanging on
the wall of the legislative chamber. This scalp and the Speaker's mace
were sent to Washington, where the British troops found them when they,
in turn, burned our government buildings a little more than a year
later.

When Chauncey's fleet left the harbor of York, it sailed due south, and
landed the troops at a point four miles east from the mouth of Niagara
River, where they went into camp. From here a small expedition was
fitted out under Lieutenant Petti{107}grew, of the navy, who with
a hundred men sailed in two schooners to the head of Lake Ontario, to
capture a large quantity of stores deposited there. They landed on the
10th of May, drove off the guard, burned the buildings, and brought away
the stores. Chauncey himself, with the remainder of the fleet, carried
the wounded to Sackett's Harbor, whence he returned on the 25th with
provisions, guns, and a reënforcement of about three hundred and fifty
men.

General Dearborn immediately planned the capture of Fort George, just
above the village of Newark, on the western side of the Niagara, two
miles from its mouth. It was arranged that the troops should be landed
on the lake shore, and, marching southward and eastward, attack the
British works from the land side. The enterprise was admirably planned,
and brilliantly executed. The water at the proposed landing-place was
carefully sounded, and the stations marked with buoys. A considerable
number of boats, to be used in landing the forces, had been built on the
shore of the river, were launched on May 26th, and immediately drew the
fire of the enemy's batteries.

Before daylight on the morning of the 27th, the fleet weighed anchor.
Five of the vessels took positions where they could annoy with
a cross-fire the {108}batteries that were within gunshot of the
landing-place. Others took position for the immediate protection of the
troops, and at the same time Fort Niagara opened fire on Fort George,
which was returned with spirit. All the batteries on the river joined
in the contest, and there was a grand chorus of artillery firing. The
battery immediately opposite Fort George was the most effective, and
considerably damaged that work.

The troops were under the personal command of General Boyd, who had
succeeded General Pike. With him were many most skilful and efficient
officers, some of whom afterward became famous. The gallant Major
Forsyth was there, with his riflemen, and Colonel Macomb with his
artillery. Winfield Scott, then a colonel, was there, and Captain Oliver
Hazard Perry had hurried down from Lake Erie, to offer his services and
take part in the enterprise.

The preparations for the defence had been quite as well made as those
for the attack. When the boats loaded with troops approached the shore,
a column of two hundred men, posted in a ravine, opened a sharp fire
on them. The fire was returned from the boats, which moved on without
stopping for a moment or being thrown into any confusion. Captain
Hindman, of the artillery, was the first man to land on the enemy's
coast; and many of the {109}officers and men were so eager to follow him
that they leaped into the water and waded ashore.

The fire of some of the vessels was brought to bear upon the enemy
in the ravine; and as soon as the advance column landed, it formed in
battle order and moved forward to the charge. The enemy soon gave way,
but retired slowly, and at the same time a second and stronger column,
which had been posted in another ravine, half a mile in the rear, moved
forward to protect the retreat of the advance guard and oppose the
progress of the Americans.

Every step thus far had been contested, and the roar of cannon and
rattle of small arms, both on the water and on shore, had been almost
incessant from the beginning of the engagement. But the bloodiest work
was to come. The combined columns of British troops, numbering eight
hundred or more, took a strong position at the top of a steep bank. The
advance, under Colonel Scott, moved directly against this position; but
as his men attempted to climb the bank in the face of the enemy, they
were mercilessly cut down by a sharp and steady fire. Three times they
tried to reach the top, and three times were driven back. But when
Colonel Moses Porter's light artillery and a portion of Boyd's brigade
had come up to his assistance, Scott was at length enabled to carry the
height. {110}The victory at this point decided the day. The flying
enemy were pursued as far as the village of Newark, at which point Scott
detached a force to cut off the retreat westward toward Burlington,
while with the remainder of his troops he pressed on at once to Fort
George. This work had been so much damaged by the bombardment, and the
garrison now left in it was so small, that it was easily captured. As
Scott approached it, one of the magazines was exploded, and a heavy
stick of timber struck him and knocked him from his horse. Hurrying
forward, the soldiers in the advance discovered that trains had been
laid for the explosion of two other magazines, and they were just in
time to put out the matches. When the gates of the fort were broken
open, Scott was the first man to enter, and with his own hands he hauled
down the British flag. Close behind him was Colonel Moses Porter, who
could not help exclaiming, "Confound your long legs, Scott, you have got
in before me!"

A few prisoners were taken with the fort; but Scott, bent upon making
his victory complete, made but a brief halt there, and then hurried on
his forces in pursuit of the retreating enemy. Twice orders were sent to
him to turn back, and both times he refused to obey them. "Your General
does not know," said he to a lieutenant who brought one of {111}these
orders, "that I have the enemy within my power; in seventy minutes I
shall capture his whole force." Colonel Burn, who ranked Scott, but
had consented to serve under him, had crossed the river with a troop
of cavalry, and was waiting for another now in midstream, to land, when
with his whole force he was to join the pursuit. But the fifteen minutes
thus lost in waiting enabled General Boyd to ride up in person and
peremptorily order the pursuit discontinued, which of course put an
end to it. Just why the General did this--whether he feared the victory
might be turned into a disaster, or was only apprehensive that Colonel
Scott was getting too much glory--has never been explained.

In this action, which was over by noon, the Americans lost one hundred
and fifty-three men, killed or wounded. The British loss, as nearly as
can be ascertained, was two hundred and seventy-one killed or wounded,
and over six hundred unwounded prisoners, five hundred of whom were
militia and were paroled.

The British seized the opportunity while Dearborn and his forces were
absent on this expedition near the western end of Lake Ontario, to make
an attack on Sackett's Harbor, at the eastern. The importance of that
place to the Americans consisted mainly in the fact that they had
established there a {112}large depot of naval and military stores, and
were building ships.

The expedition sailed from Kingston in four war-vessels, a brig, two
schooners, and two gunboats, all under command of Sir James Lucas
Yeo. The land forces, commanded by General Prevost, numbered about
a thousand, besides a party of Indians, said to have numbered three
hundred.

About noon of the 28th the squadron appeared off Sackett's Harbor, and
preparations for landing were made. But after the troops had been in
the boats about half an hour, an order was issued--for some mysterious
reason, which has never been explained--commanding them all to return to
the ships, which then stood off for Kingston. But while this was
going on, a fleet of nineteen boats was observed near the south shore,
bringing American reenforcements from Oswego to the Harbor. The Indians;
who thought they were there to fight, and could not understand why they
should return to the ships without firing a gun, disobeyed the order,
and paddled off to attack the Americans in the boats. The squadron
then wore round again, and sent out boatloads of troops to the
assistance of the Indians, who drove ashore and captured twelve of the
American boats, after their occupants had escaped to the woods. The
other seven reached the Harbor. {113}This little affair inspired the
British General with new courage, and he resumed the purpose of landing
his whole force for an attack on the village.

But meanwhile the Americans were busily preparing for defence.
Lieutenant-Colonel Electus Backus, who commanded the remnant of regular
troops left at the post, had sent word the evening before to General
Jacob Brown, of the militia, who had been requested by General Dearborn
to take command in case of an attack during his absence. A militia force
numbering about five hundred was hastily gathered from the surrounding
country, and added to the small body of regulars and volunteers, The
militia were posted behind a ridge of sand which had been thrown up
west of the village, where their fire would sweep that part of the shore
which offered the only good landing-place for the enemy. On their
right were posted the volunteers, with a single piece of artillery. The
regulars were formed near their camp about a mile distant.

Early in the morning of the 29th the enemy landed. As their boats
approached the shore, the militia and volunteers rose and fired into
them, and were fired upon in return by two gunboats that had been sent
to cover the landing. The enemy's boats then pulled around to the other
side of Horse Island, which is near the mouth of the harbor, landed, and
{114}marched steadily across the narrow causeway that connects it
with the mainland. As they approached the ridge, the militia gave them
another volley, and then fled to the woods, abandoning the piece of
artillery. Colonel Mills was killed while trying to hold them to their
work. General Brown, who was borne away with the fugitives, succeeded in
rallying about eighty of them, whom he posted behind a huge fallen tree,
at the edge of a small open field. From this cover they gave the still
advancing enemy three or four volleys, and then retreated.

Thus the left of the American line was completely swept away. The right,
composed of volunteers, gave way more slowly, and retired in good order
along the shore, skirmishing all the way with the enemy's advance, till
they reached and formed in line with the regulars. They were annoyed on
the way by the enemy's gunboats, which swept portions of the road with
grapeshot; but on the other hand the enemy suffered considerably from
the fire of their rifles and from parties of regulars sent out by
Colonel Backus to join in the skirmishing.

The volunteers took position on the left of the second line of defence.
The right was occupied by dismounted light dragoons, and the centre by
regular infantry and artillery. The enemy, elated, as he had cause to
be, at his first success, came steadily {115}on to attack this line,
and as he approached was subjected to an artillery fire from a small work
called Fort Tompkins. He struck the right flank of the Americans, but
found it made of different stuff from militia. Again and again the
attempt was made to force this part of the line; but the dragoons,
commanded by Backus in person, stood firm, delivered their fire with
coolness, and drove back the assailants. The fight was kept up for an
hour, and at length the weight of numbers told, and the Americans fell
back.

A portion of them next took possession of the log barracks, and here
made a third stand. The enemy came on as gallantly as ever, intent upon
driving everything before him. Colonel Gray, Quartermaster-General,
led the red-coats, and as they came up to the attack, an American
drummer-boy picked up a musket, levelled it at the Colonel, and shot him
down. Lieutenant Fanning, who had been severely wounded at York, and
was not expected to be on duty, took charge of a gun. As the enemy
approached, he carefully sighted the piece, and gave them three rounds
of grapeshot in quick succession, which broke the force of their onset,
and they began to fall back in some disorder. At this moment Colonel
Backus fell mortally wounded.

The officer in charge of the stores had been in{116}structed to set
fire to them in case the enemy seemed likely to capture the place.
Seeing the probability of this, he now applied the torch, not only to
the storehouses but also to a new vessel that was almost ready to be
launched, and to one that had been recently captured from the enemy.

With the Americans driven to their last stronghold, and the smoke from
their burning stores rolling over their heads, the day appeared to be
irretrievably lost. But though the enemy was strong in good troops,
gallantly led, he had a weak spot in the constitutional timidity of the
commander, Sir George Prevost. And General Brown at this point of
time made a fortunate movement which struck that weak spot in a most
effective way. He had succeeded in rallying about three hundred of the
militia, with whom he suddenly emerged from the woods, and made a feint
of marching for the boats by which the expedition had landed. Sir George
took the alarm at once, imagining he was to be surrounded by a superior
force and entrapped. He therefore issued an order for retreat, and his
victorious forces withdrew to their ships without securing any result of
their victory, or even bearing off their wounded. A reënforcement of
six hundred men, under Lieutenant-Colonel Tuttle, who had inarched
forty miles in one day, reached the vil {117}lage just as the enemy were
pushing off in their boats.

The Americans succeeded in putting out the fires, but not till half a
million dollars' worth of stores had been destroyed. The new ship was
but little injured, as her timbers were so green they would not burn
readily. The prize vessel was on fire, and she had considerable powder
in her hold; but Lieutenant Talman, at the risk of his life, boarded
her, suppressed the flames, and brought her off to a place of safety at
a distance from the burning buildings.

Sir George, not content with making a needless fiasco of his expedition,
made himself ridiculous by sending a flag of true to demand the
surrender of the village and the military post, which of course was
refused. He then sent another flag, asking that his dead and wounded
might be properly cared for, and on receiving assurances that they
would, sailed away with the whole fleet.

The loss of the Americans in this action was about one hundred and
seventy, killed, wounded, or missing; that of the British, about two
hundred and sixty.

A few days after the loss of Fort George, General Vincent concentrated
the British forces at Beaver Dams, and retreated westward to Burlington
Bay, the head of Lake Ontario, where he intrenched him{118}self on the
heights. General Dearborn, after being baffled for some time by false
information which Vincent had caused to be conveyed to him, at length
found out where he had gone, and sent the brigades of Winder and
Chandler after him. The Americans, following the "ridge road" that
skirts the whole shore of the lake, came up with the enemy's pickets at
Stony Creek, a small stream that crosses the road at right angles, on
the 5th of June. There was considerable skirmishing, and the enemy's
pickets were driven in.

General Chandler, with a wise caution thus far seldom displayed, placed
a company of artillery at the mouth of the creek, three miles from the
road, to cover a landing of boats expected there, with the rest of his
forces took a strong position on the high eastern bank of the creek,
where the road crosses it, threw out pickets in all directions, gave
orders how the line should be formed in case of an attack, and ordered
that the artillery horses be kept harnessed.

One regiment at first encamped in the low meadows on the western bank,
but after nightfall it withdrew to the heights, leaving its camp-fires
burning, A picket guard that had been posted at a little chapel a
quarter of a mile in advance was left there.

The officer in command of the enemy's rear guard had sent word
to General Vincent that the Ameri{119}cans were in straggling
detachments, and if the first were attacked at once it could easily
be defeated before the others came up to its support. The General
therefore, as he had little chance of further retreat, planned a night
attack. A little before midnight of the 5th he left his camp, at the
head of about a thousand men, and marched stealthily back by the road
he had come, to surprise his foe. The night was absolutely dark, and
the sentinels at the little chapel were suddenly seized and silently
bayoneted before they could fire their muskets or make any outcry. The
assassination of pickets is one of the sickening incidents of war that
seldom find mention in the reports of the general or the pages of the
romantic historian, but that cost many a poor fellow his life without
even the pitiful compensation of what is called glory.

Seeing the camp-fires in the meadow, with no signs of life among them,
the British forces imagined that the Americans were all asleep and would
fall an easy prey to massacre. They advanced confidently, and as they
reached the deserted fires sprang among them with a hideous yell--in
which part of the performance they were materially assisted by a few
score Indian allies--expecting to see their foes arise from the ground,
and rub their eyes open just in time to catch the gleam of the British
bayonets and {120}savage tomahawks before they were buried in American
flesh.

Instead of this, while they stood dazed among the waning camp-fires,
looking about in vain for somebody to massacre, the line on the heights
blazed out with musketry and artillery, and the shot tore its way
through the ranks of the red-coats. But the English soldier has always
been good at obeying orders, and as soon as this volley revealed the
whereabouts of the Americans, their enemy pressed on in the face of the
fire, climbed the bank, entered the lines in the darkness, and captured
several guns, the artillerists not being able to distinguish friend from
foe.

Then began a horrible mêlée, in which nearly every man fought on his own
account, and many of them could not tell whether they were striking at
comrades or enemies. Hearing a few shots fired in the rear of his camp,
General Chandler imagined he was attacked from that direction also,
and faced about a portion of his line, which increased the dreadful
confusion. After this wild work in the darkness and tumult, the British
managed somehow to retreat, carrying off with them two pieces of
artillery, which, however, were afterward recovered.

When the morning dawned, it was found that the American commanders,
Chandler and Winder, were {121}both prisoners in the hands of the enemy;
while the British commander, Vincent, had been thrown from his horse,
lost his way in the woods, and after floundering about all night was
discovered in a most pitiful and ridiculous plight. Chandler was taken
while trying to manoeuvre a British regiment, which he had stumbled upon
in the darkness and mistaken for one of his own.

In this affair the Americans lost one hundred and fifty-four men,
killed, wounded, or missing; the British, two hundred and fourteen. The
victory, so far as there was any, must be accorded to the British, since
it broke the advance of the Americans and caused them to turn back.
When they had retreated as far as Forty-Mile Creek, they were attacked
simultaneously on both flanks--on the land side by a band of Indians,
and on the water side by the fleet under Sir James Yeo. But they
succeeded in repelling both enemies, and returned to Fort George with
the loss only of a part of their baggage, which was conveyed in boats.

After this, Yeo coasted along the shore and captured stores in
Charlotte, at the mouth of the Genesee, and in Sodus, on the bay of that
name. As he met with some resistance at Sodus, and had difficulty in
finding the stores, which were hidden, he burned the buildings there.
{122}There was a British depot of supplies at Beaver Dams, about seven
miles southwest of Queenstown and the same distance northwest of the
Falls. General Dearborn planned its capture, and on the 23d of June sent
against it, from Fort George, an expedition of five hundred and seventy
men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles G. Boerstler. The enemy had
strong works at Beaver Dams, but at this time they were not very well
manned.

The Americans, who had about fifteen miles to march, started in the
evening, with the intention of surprising and capturing the post in the
morning. But the enemy had been apprised of the movement, and when the
Americans reached the present site of Thorold they fell into an ambush,
where they were suddenly attacked by four hundred and fifty Indians,
commanded by John Brant (son of the celebrated Mohawk chief, Joseph
Brant) and Captain Kerr. Though surprised, Boerstler was not confused.
He coolly but quickly formed his men in battle order, and charged
through the woods in the direction of the attack. To little purpose,
however, as the wily savages, following their usual tactics, fled before
the line of bayonets, and soon attacked the Americans from another
direction, firing from the thickets and other hiding-places. After
keeping up a desultory contest of this sort for three hours, with
{123}no prospect of any termination, Boerstler fell back to a position
in an open field, encountering on the way a body of Canadian militia.
Scarcely had he taken this new position, to wait for reënforcements
which he had asked General Dearborn to send, when a small detachment
of British regulars approached to reconnoitre. They were commanded by
a Lieutenant Fitzgibbon, who had been warned of the ap proach of the
Americans by a woman who had walked nineteen miles to tell him.

Seeing that his enemy was somewhat disordered, and not disposed, to take
the offensive, Fitzgibbon, though he had but forty-seven men, conceived
the idea of capturing the whole force by one of those tricks which
are generally supposed to be peculiarly Yankee. Displaying his little
detachment in such a way as to make it appear to be the advance of a
much larger body of troops, he sent a flag of truce to Boerstler and
boldly demanded an immediate surrender, saying that fifteen hundred
regulars and seven hundred Indians were but a short distance in the
rear, and would soon come up. For the truth of this he gave his word,
"on the honor of a British soldier." Boerstler, supposing escape would
be impossible, surrendered, on condition that his men should be paroled
and permitted to return to the United States. A Major De Haren, who
had been {124}sent for in all haste by Fitzgibbon, now came up with two
hundred additional troops, and received the surrender, which included
five hundred and forty-two men, two guns, and a stand of colors. Major
Chapin, who was present, says: "The articles of capitulation were no
sooner signed than they were violated. The Indians immediately commenced
their depredations, and plundered the officers of their side arms. The
soldiers, too, were stripped of every article of clothing to which the
savages took a fancy, such as hats, coats, shoes, etc." The British
commander also violated the articles by refusing to permit the militia
to be paroled, whereupon many of them rose upon the guards, overpowered
them, and escaped, taking some of the guards along as prisoners.

This ridiculous affair excited the deepest indignation throughout the
country; and, in obedience to public sentiment, the President soon
removed General Dearborn from command.

It was hardly more than a fortnight later, July 11th, when
Lieutenant-Colonel Bisshopp planned an attack on Black Rock, a few
miles north of Buffalo, where the Americans had a dockyard and large
storehouses. With about three hundred men, before daylight of July 11th,
he crossed the river in boats, surprised and took possession of the
place. {125}and proceeded to burn and plunder as rapidly as possible. He
set fire to the block-houses, the barracks, the navy-yard buildings,
and a schooner that lay at the wharf, and carried off a considerable
quantity of stores. But before he could accomplish all this, General
Peter B. Porter had got together a small force, consisting of regulars,
volunteers, militia, and a few friendly Indians, and vigorously
attacked the invaders. A fight of twenty minutes' duration ended in the
precipitate retreat of the British, who left behind them a captain and
nine men killed or wounded, and fifteen prisoners. After the boats
had pushed off, the Americans renewed their fire, by which Bisshopp,
commander of the expedition, was killed, and many of his men were either
killed or wounded. The loss of the Americans was three men killed and
three wounded. That of the enemy is supposed to have been about seventy.
They had carried off four guns, besides spiking all they left. Bisshopp,
who had proved himself an energetic and skilful officer, was a serious
loss.

Commodore Chauncey, who was a most meritorious naval commander, though
he never made a very brilliant reputation, was all this summer trying to
bring Sir James Yeo to a decisive battle on Lake Ontario; but Sir James
had a genius for not fighting, and could only be chased to shelter
under the {126}guns of the British forts. It was said also that his
instructions forbade his fighting except under the most favorable
circumstances. Once there seemed to be a prospect of a square battle
near the mouth of the Niagara, in August; but Chauncey's plan was
frustrated by the captains of two of his schooners, who in disobedience
of orders tried to get to windward of the British line, and were
captured. On the 28th of September there was a partial engagement
between the two squadrons; but from their unequal sailing, it was only
possible to bring three of the American vessels into action. One of
these was badly crippled, but another handled the British flagship so
severely that she crowded on all canvas and made off, followed by the
entire fleet, which the Americans could not overtake. On the 5th of
October Chauncey gave chase to a squadron which proved to be seven
British gunboats used as transports. One of them was burned, one
escaped, and the other five were captured, together with more than two
hundred and sixty men. Two of the prizes were those taken from Chauncey
near the Niagara.

These successes left Lake Ontario virtually in the possession of the
Americans; and meanwhile the command of Lake Erie had been gained by a
most brilliant and memorable battle. During the winter {127}of 1812-13
two large brigs, intended to carry twenty guns each, and several
gunboats and schooners were built at Presque Isle (now Erie, Pa.), where
there was a fine harbor. For this work a force of carpenters was sent
from New York. The timber of which they were to construct the vessels
was growing in the woods, and the trees had to be felled and worked
up at once; there was no time to wait for the wood to season. All the
ironwork, canvas, cordage, and stores had to be brought from New York or
Philadelphia, and as there was neither railroad nor canal, and much
of the intervening country was a wilderness, the difficulties of
transportation were very great. A bar at the mouth of the harbor, on
which there was but seven feet of water, prevented the British cruisers
from sailing in and destroying the vessels before they were launched.

Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, who, though quite young, had seen
considerable service afloat, was ordered from the seaboard to take
command on Lake Erie, and arrived at Buffalo in March. His volunteer
service in the attack on Fort George has been already mentioned. The
fall of that work was followed by the abandonment of Fort Erie, which
released the vessels that had been blockaded by its guns in the upper
part of the Niagara, and early in June they rendezvoused at Presque
Isle. {128}Perry now had his entire force in one harbor, and pushed on
his equipment with the greatest possible speed. One of the new brigs was
made his flagship, and was named the _Lawrence_. The bar that had thus
far protected the fleet was now a hindrance to its sailing, for it could
be passed by the larger vessels only in calm weather, and even then they
must be lightened of their guns and heavy stores. The British commander,
Captain R. H. Barclay, was watching with his entire fleet for Perry to
come out. If, as is supposed, he intended to attack him while crossing
the bar, when he could probably have won a victory, he lost his
opportunity by attending to pleasure before duty. A gentleman living on
the northern shore of the lake invited him to dinner one Sunday, and he
crossed over with his whole squadron. At the same time the water became
smooth, and Perry, who had been eagerly watching for such a chance,
proceeded to take out his fleet at once.

The _Lawrence_, which was his heaviest vessel, was provided with a large
scow on each side, and on her arrival at the bar these scows were nearly
filled with water, and sunk very low. Great beams were then passed
through her port-holes, the ends projecting over the scows. Piles of
blocks were provided for these ends to rest upon, and then the holes in
the scows were plugged up, and the water pumped out. {129}As the scows
rose, they lifted the brig with them. But though her guns had been taken
out and left on the beach, as well as all other heavy articles that
could be removed, she still drew too much water to pass the bar. Another
lift was made, which occupied the night, and finally she floated across.
The other brig, the _Niagara_, was not quite so large, and was taken
over with less difficulty. The lighter vessels had crossed the bar
without assistance; and on the approach of the English squadron at
eight o'clock the next morning, it was received with a cannonade, which,
though it did no harm, prevented Barclay from running in close and
seizing the prey he had been so long watching for. The _Lawrence's_ guns
were taken on board as soon as she was afloat outside, and the broadside
was trained to bear on the enemy.

This was Monday, the 5th of August, and Perry was now afloat on Lake
Erie with ten vessels, carrying fifty-five guns and--after he had
received several reënforcements--about four hundred men. Captain Barclay
had about the same number of men, in six vessels, carrying sixty-five
guns, his flagship being the _Detroit_. As soon as the American fleet
was fairly over the bar, the British sailed away up the lake, and it
took Perry a month to find them and bring them to action. He was at
Put-in-Bay; in {130}one of the islands near the western end of the lake,
when at sunrise on the morning of September 10th the British fleet was
sighted from the masthead, bearing down from the northwest, apparently
bent on having a fight.

Perry had given the commanders of his several vessels careful
instructions what to do in case of an engagement, ending with the remark
that "they could not be out of their proper places if they laid their
enemy close alongside." Within an hour after the enemy was sighted, the
squadron was beating out of the bay. The wind was from the southwest,
which made it impossible for the Americans to get the weather-gage,
unless by circumnavigating some of the islands. As there was apparently
no time for this, Perry determined to accept the chances of battle
without that advantage, and accordingly passed to leeward of the
islands. But fortune favored him unexpectedly, for the wind soon shifted
to the southeast, giving him the weather-gage, which for vessels armed
as his were was very important.

At ten o'clock the British squadron, having failed in manoeuvres for the
weather-gage, hove to, in line of battle, with their bows to the west
and south, and awaited the approach of their enemy, now about nine miles
distant. One of the smaller vessels was at the head of the line, and
the _Detroit_, Barclay's {131}flagship, next; then came another small
vessel, and then the _Queen Charlotte_, a large one, and then the two
remaining small ones. The British vessels were all freshly painted, and
had new canvas, presenting a handsome appearance to the eye of a sailor.

As Perry approached and observed this order, he formed his own line to
correspond with it. He placed two schooners in the van, one carrying
four guns and the other two; then his flagship, the _Lawrence_; then the
_Caledonia_, of three guns; then the _Niagara_, of twenty; and then the
other vessels, which, however, as the wind was light, did not come up
very promptly. The orders were, that the vessels should be but half a
cable's length apart.

As he approached the enemy. Perry displayed a blue flag bearing the
words, "Don't give up the ship." * A few minutes before twelve o'clock,
a bugle was sounded on the British flagship, which was answered by
cheers from all the other vessels in the line, and followed by the
discharge of one of her long guns, pointed at the Lawrence. As the
American was still a mile and a half distant, the shot fell short; but
this space was being gradually lessened, and the battle was soon fairly
opened. One of the two schooners in the van replied with a

* For the origin of this motto, see page 199.

{132}long gun, while the _Lawrence_, being armed with carronades, bore
down upon the British flagship, to engage her at short range. This she
succeeded in doing, but not without suffering considerably, and the
three largest of the British vessels concentrated their fire on her. The
two foremost schooners fought their long guns well; but as they had been
ordered to keep to windward of the flagship (that is, a little farther
from the enemy) they did not draw off any of the fire from her. But,
after two hours of this, the _Niagara_ drew ahead of the _Caledonia_,
thus assuming the place in the line next to the _Lawrence_, and fought
most gallantly; still, this hardly lessened the fire that was poured
into the flagship, which the enemy seemed determined to sink. Many of
her spars were shot away, all of her guns on the starboard side, but
one, were rendered useless, and of a hundred men on board, twenty-two
were killed and sixty-one wounded--a proportion of casualties that had
never been equalled in any similar battle.

The _Lawrence_ dropped out of the fight, and Perry transferred his flag
to the _Niagara_, which pulled ahead to a position for engaging the
_Detroit_. When the enemy saw the flag come down, they supposed they had
gained a victory, stopped firing, and cheered. But the decisive struggle
was yet to come. Captain Elliott, of the _Niagara_, passed down {133}the
line in a small boat, delivering to the commander of each vessel Perry's
order to close up and attack the enemy at half pistol-shot with grape
and canister. He then remained with and commanded one of the last
vessels in the line, leaving the _Niagara_ to Perry.

At this time the wind freshened, Perry showed the signal for close
action, an answering cheer passed along his line, and once more the
whole squadron bore down upon the enemy. Barclay attempted to manoeuvre
his vessels so as to bring his uninjured broadsides to bear; but his
line got into confusion, and two of the vessels fouled.

Perry took prompt advantage of this. The _Niagara_ sailed right through
the confused British line, having two of their vessels on one side, and
three on the other--all within short range--and delivered her deadly
broadsides in both directions as she passed. Then she luffed across
their bows, and raked them, and the cries that came from the _Detroit_
told that this merciless operation had had its usual deadly effect. At
the same time, the other American vessels came into close action, and
their guns were served with great rapidity. This destructive work had
lasted about twenty minutes when an officer of the _Queen Charlotte_
displayed a white handkerchief on the point of a pike, and four of the
{134}British vessels struck their colors. The other two attempted to
escape, but were overtaken in about an hour and compelled to surrender.

In this battle, the entire loss of the Americans was twenty-seven killed
and ninety-six wounded. Twelve of these were quarterdeck officers. As
more than a hundred out of four hundred on board had previously been
rendered unfit for duty by dysentery and cholera, the proportion of
casualties to effective men was more than one in three. The British lost
forty-one killed and ninety-four wounded, including twelve officers.
Captain Barclay, who had lost his left arm in a previous engagement, in
this one lost the use of his right.

The masts of the _Detroit_ and _Queen Charlotte_ were so injured that
they snapped off two days later, from the rolling of the vessels in the
bay, while riding at anchor during a gale.

In a despatch to General Harrison, Perry announced his victory in words
that have become famous: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours: two
ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop." Congress voted him
a gold medal for his achievement. As the question of the fighting
qualities of the black man has since been considerably discussed, it is
worth noting that in this bloody and brilliant battle a large number
of Perry's men were {135}Negroes. Much of the credit of the victory has
been claimed for Captain Jesse D. Elliott, who undoubtedly deserved
it, and his services were generously acknowledged in Perry's official
report.

Many interesting incidents of this famous action have been related
by different participants. At the opening of the battle, the English
musicians played the well-known air of "Rule, Britannia!--Britannia,
rule the waves!"--on which the result of the fight was a ludicrous
comment, proving that an exception must be made in favor of the waves of
Lake Erie.

On the British flagship there was a pet bear, and when the victors
stepped on board they found it eagerly lapping up the blood from the
deck.

The British commander had repeated the silly performance of nailing his
colors to the mast, which never has any other effect than to sacrifice
lives that might have been saved if the signal of surrender, when
surrender became necessary, could have been displayed instantly.

On Captain Barclay's vessel were three Indians, whom he placed in
the tops, or cross-trees, with rifles in their hands, to pick off the
American officers, that kind of work being exactly suited to their
taste. But as the first part of the action was fought at long
cannon-range, beyond the reach of rifle-shot, they found themselves
in danger from numerous {136}large balls that went tearing through the
rigging, and at the same time totally unable to murder anybody on
the distant vessels. Indians have always stood in mortal terror of
artillery. So they descended to the deck; but here they found it still
more dangerous, and finally the disgusted braves retreated down the
hatchway. When the Americans came on board, they found them hidden in
the hold. This is probably the only instance of Indians taking part, or
attempting to take part, in modern naval warfare. But they have a legend
of a great Indian naval battle that took place on the waters of this
same lake two hundred years before.

The Senecas--so runs the story--who inhabited the southern and eastern
shores of Ontario and the St. Lawrence, had declared war against the
Wyandots, who inhabited the northern and western shores. A Wyandot
chief, gambling with a Seneca, had won his wife; but the Seneca refused
to give her up. Shortly afterward she eloped with the Wyandot, and they
escaped to the country of the Pottawatomies, in Michigan. This was the
cause of the war, which the Senecas began by crossing the St. Lawrence,
surprising a Wyandot village, and cruelly murdering a large number of
the inhabitants.

Finally the whole Wyandot nation fled before their enemies, passed along
the northern shore of Lake {137}Ontario, crossed the peninsula north
of Lake Erie, and after great suffering and serious losses escaped by
crossing St. Clair River on cakes of floating ice.

The next summer the Senecas planned a naval expedition against the
Wyandots, to be fitted out at the eastern end of Lake Erie, near the
present site of Buffalo, pass up the lake and through Detroit River, and
rescue the stolen squaw and exterminate the tribe. But the Wyandots had
early information of this design, and several of the tribes inhabiting
the peninsula of Michigan joined with them in preparations to repel the
threatened invasion.

The war-canoes built by the Senecas were "dug-outs," hewn from the
trunks of large trees. The Wyandots and their allies prepared a fleet
of birch-bark canoes, which were much lighter, swifter, and more easily
manoeuvred, and went down the lake to meet their enemy. They coasted
along the northern shore as far as North Point, where they waited to
make a reconnoissance. The Wyandot who had carried off the woman crossed
the lake alone, climbed a tall tree overlooking the rendezvous of the
Senecas, and counted their craft and noted their preparations. Then he
passed by a wide circuit around their encampment, swam the Niagara below
the Falls, and the next day rejoined the fleet of the allies, to whom he
was able to give all necessary in{138}formation as to the number and
equipment of their enemy.

They set sail--or rather pulled paddles--at once. But when in full sight
of the Senecas, pretended to be frightened, and retreated. The Senecas
gave a war whoop, launched their heavy canoes, and pad-died after them
as fast as possible. When the allies had thus drawn their antagonists
far away from the shore, they suddenly turned upon them, and a bloody
and merciless battle ensued, which lasted for several hours. Indian
after Indian was cut down, or gradually hacked to pieces, or knocked
overboard. Some of the canoes were run down; others were grappled
together while their occupants fought hand-to-hand. The lighter boats
of the allies were a great advantage, and finally the Senecas were
defeated. The dead and the badly wounded were then thrown overboard,
while the prisoners were reserved for torture. One Seneca was found to
have concealed himself in the bottom of a canoe, feigning death that
he might escape captivity. The victors cut off his nose and ears, and
knocked out his teeth, and in that disgraceful plight sent him home to
bear the news of the disaster to his tribe. On the bank of Niagara River
the captured canoes were piled up for a funeral pyre, and a hundred
of the wounded Senecas were tied and laid upon it, Fire was set to it.
{139}and as one and another escaped when his shackles were burned
off, he was shot down with arrows or brained with a war-club. When the
victims were all reduced to ashes, the allies celebrated their victory
with a feast and dance, and then returned home. Such was the legend told
by Walk-in-the-Water, a Wyandot chief, when he heard of Perry's victory,
which he thought was a small affair in comparison with the exploit of
his ancestors.

By the capture of the British fleet, the lakes were cleared of the
enemy, and but one more movement was necessary in order to restore
to the United States all that had been lost by Hull's surrender. How
successfully that movement was executed will be shown in the next
chapter.



CHAPTER VIII. BATTLE OF THE THAMES.

{140}

_Harrison's Advance--Proctor's Retreat--Nature of the
Ground--Disposition of the Indians--The Battle--Death of
Tecumseh--Flight of Proctor--Results of the Campaign._


|The opportunity which General Harrison had been waiting for had now
arrived. He had been joined by Governor Shelby, of Kentucky, who
brought three thousand five hundred mounted men, and also by two hundred
Indians. His preparations for an invasion of Canada were complete; and
Perry's victory not only gave him the necessary means of transportation,
but removed a hostile fleet that might have prevented his landing an
army on Canadian soil. His troops rendezvoused on the peninsula near
Sandusky; the total force, including a few regulars, numbering about
five thousand men.

Colonel Richard M. Johnson, with his regiment of cavalry, was sent to
Detroit by land, there to cross the river. All the other troops, with
their equipments, were taken on board Perry's vessels and carried up
Detroit River, and landed, on the 27th of September, at a point three
miles below Amherstburg.

They marched at once on Malden, and took {141}possession of that post
without opposition. The British General Proctor had abandoned it, but
not till he had destroyed the barracks, the stores, and as much of the
fortifications as was possible. Harrison expected a fight, and had his
forces formed in battle order as they advanced; but Proctor's purpose
was simply to get out of the way of his enemy, and escape if possible to
Niagara. He had about six hundred white soldiers who were fit for duty,
and a force of Indians variously estimated at from eight hundred to
fifteen hundred.

Harrison left detachments at Detroit, Amherstburg, and Sandwich, and
with the remainder of his force--about three thousand five hundred
men--set out, on the 2d of October, in pursuit of Proctor. The enemy had
retreated along the southern shore of Lake St. Clair, and thence up
the river Thames, which flows into that lake. Proctor's baggage and
artillery were carried by water, in small vessels; and Harrison in his
pursuit was materially aided by Captain Perry, whose boats carried the
baggage and supplies the whole length of the lake and fifteen miles up
the river. At that point Perry left the water, and served on Harrison's
staff.

Four considerable streams crossed the line of retreat, and Proctor might
have seriously delayed the pursuit, and perhaps entirely stopped it, by
destroy{142}ing the bridge over any one of them. He seems not to
have thought of this at the first stream, where the Americans found the
bridge intact. At the second, a lieutenant and eleven men had been left
with orders to destroy the bridge; but before they had accomplished
their task, Harrison's advance guard came up and captured them. The
third bridge, partially destroyed, was defended by a considerable body
of Indians; but a few shots from two six-pounders dispersed them, and
the structure was soon repaired. The fourth bridge was likewise partly
destroyed, and guarded by Indians, who were not so easily driven away.
The mounted Kentuckians pushed forward, and had a brisk skirmish with
the savages, in which half a dozen of the whites were killed or wounded,
and thirteen of the Indians were killed. The enemy then set fire to a
large house, near the bridge, a distillery, and three vessels that were
loaded with military stores, and continued his retreat. As soon as the
bridge could be repaired, Harrison's troops crossed it, extinguished the
fire in the house, and found in it two thousand stand of arms. Early on
the 5th the pursuit was renewed. The route was still along the Thames,
and in the course of the day the Americans captured two gunboats and
several batteaux, all laden with provisions and ammunition. {143}By this
time, Proctor's Indians were tired of retreating, and were determined
either to have a fight of some sort or leave him. About sixty of them
actually deserted, and offered their services to Harrison, who declined
them--not because he disbelieved in the employment of Indians, for he
had some in his own force, but probably because he thought it unwise to
employ troops of any sort who recognized no principle and were ready to
go from one side to the other as the fortunes of war might fluctuate.

Both armies were now on the north side of the Thames, and Harrison's
scouts brought news that the enemy had formed in line of battle at
a point about two and a half miles from Moravian Town, four miles in
advance of where Harrison then was. At the place chosen there was a
marsh, the edge of which was about five hundred yards distant from the
river and parallel with it for two miles. Midway between was a little
marsh. The road ran between the little marsh and the river. The ground
was largely covered with an open growth of forest trees, but there was
no underbrush.

Proctor placed his best English troops, with his artillery, in a line
stretching from the river to the little marsh, his cannon commanding the
road. Behind this line were his reserves. The Indians, com{144}manded
by Tecumseh, who was a brigadier-general in the British service, formed
a line between the two marshes, and a large number of them were thrown
forward in the edge of the great marsh, that they might fall upon the
left flank of the Americans.

Harrison placed his mounted troops in front, and behind them two thirds
of his infantry, while the remainder was thrown back at an angle on the
left, to be able to face the Indians in the marsh. The mounted men were
formed in two columns, all under command of Colonel Richard M.
Johnson, who rode with the left column. The right column was commanded
immediately by his brother, Lieutenant-Colonel James Johnson.

At the sound of the bugle, the columns rode forward, slowly and steadily
at first. As the right column came within musket-shot of the enemy, it
received a volley or two, and here and there a trooper tumbled from his
horse. The pace was immediately quickened, and in two minutes a solid
column of a thousand dragoons went crashing through the British line,
cutting down every opposing soldier within reach of its sabres. The
column immediately re-formed in rear of the enemy's position, and
repeated the charge, at the same time firing into the broken ranks, when
the entire left wing was thrown into confusion before the men could fix
{145}their bayonets, and four hundred and seventy of them, with their
officers, surrendered.

On the other wing, as Colonel Richard M. Johnson's column rode up at
a charge, the Indians reserved their fire till they were within a few
paces, and then gave them a destructive volley. Almost the whole of the
advance guard fell before it, and Colonel Johnson was wounded. Finding
that the ground here, between the two marshes, was unsuitable for
horses, Colonel Johnson at once ordered his men to dismount, and for
eight or ten minutes there was hard fighting, at close range, with the
rifle. After charges and counter-charges, the Indians began to give way.
At this moment Governor Shelby brought up the reserves, and about the
same time Tecumseh fell, and the savages then broke and fled.

The question, who killed Tecumseh, though not of much importance, has
been warmly discussed. Thomson, one of the earliest authorities for the
history of this war, says: "Colonel R. M. Johnson had been five times
wounded, and in that state, covered with blood, and exhausted by pain
and fatigue, he personally encountered Tecumseh. The Colonel was mounted
on a white charger, at which, being a conspicuous object, the Indians
had continually levelled their fire. A shower of bullets had fallen
round him; his holsters, his clothes, and most of his {146}accoutrements
were pierced in several places; and at the instant when he discovered
Tecumseh, his horse received a second wound. Tecumseh, having discharged
his rifle, sprang forward with his tomahawk, and had it already raised
to throw, when Colonel Johnson's horse staggered back, and immediately
the Colonel drew forth a pistol, shot the Indian through the head, and
both fell to the ground together."

When the savages in front were defeated, those that had been posted in
the edge of the great marsh vanished through the woods.

General Proctor, when he saw his lines broken, abandoned the field and
drove off with all possible speed in his carriage, accompanied by a
mounted body guard. He was conscious that he deserved no quarter for
his cold-blooded massacres, and feared that if he fell into the hands of
American soldiers he might get his deserts. As a matter of fact, General
Harrison had instructed his men before the battle that if Proctor was
captured he should be brought in unharmed. A detachment sent in pursuit
of him pressed him so closely that he abandoned his carriage, leaving
his sword and private papers in it, and took to the woods; where, as he
was well mounted and familiar with the country, they could not overtake
him. But though he escaped the {147}Americans, by his own government he
was court-martialled, reprimanded, and suspended for six months. If he
had previously been punished for violating the laws of war, and an abler
and better man put into his place, this disaster might not have befallen
the British arms. It was not when they massacred defenceless people,
but only when they lost battles, that the English Government was
dissatisfied with unsoldier-like conduct in its officers.

In this action, the Americans lost about fifty men killed or wounded.
Among the killed was Colonel Whitley, a soldier of the Revolution,
who had volunteered as a private. The British lost about a hundred
and eighty killed or wounded, and nearly all the remainder were made
prisoners. It was supposed that about a hundred and twenty Indians
were killed; at least thirty-three were left dead on the field, and
an unknown number carried away. Among the spoils of the victory were
several brass cannon which had been captured with Burgoyne at Saratoga,
surrendered by Hull at Detroit, and now came a second time into the
hands of the Americans.

Harrison destroyed Moravian Town the day after the battle, and then
marched back to Detroit. Proctor had the good taste to send a flag of
truce, requesting that the prisoners be humanely treated. As General
Harrison had already given up his own {148}tent to some of the wounded
British officers, it is probable that they were.

By this brief and brilliant campaign, Harrison destroyed the British
power in that part of Canada, restored the territory of Michigan to
the United States, killed the great Indian leader who had been the most
dangerous enemy of the Americans in the West, separated the tribes that
had been assisting the English, and compelled some of them to make peace
on his own terms. At Detroit he discharged Shelby's volunteers, gave the
place a garrison of a thousand men, restored civil law, and made General
Cass provisional governor of the territory. Three weeks later, he
and the remainder of his troops were taken on board Perry's fleet and
carried to Buffalo.

On the same day that the battle of the Thames was fought, Commodore
Chauncey, in pursuit of Yeo's fleet on Lake Ontario, captured a cutter
and four transports, on board of which were two hundred and sixty-four
British officers and soldiers.



CHAPTER IX. WILKINSON'S EXPEDITION.

{149}

_Armstrong's Plans--Position of the Troops--Descent of the St.
Lawrence--Battle of Chrysler's Field--Hampton's Defeat--Cost of
the Campaign--Effects on the Niagara Frontier--Capture of Fort
Niagara--Destruction of Buffalo and other Villages._


|The final military operations of this year on the northern border were
the most disappointing, and on the whole the most disgraceful, of any
that had been undertaken. General John Armstrong had become Secretary of
War early in the year, and in February had submitted a plan, which the
President at once approved, for the conquest of Canada by means of an
expedition against Montreal.

Armstrong had seen service in the Revolution, and was the author of
the anonymous "Newburg Addresses," which had given Washington so much
trouble. Although he planned the expedition in February, he allowed the
entire summer to go by before attempting its execution, and it set out
in October, the worst time of year for such an undertaking. The first
requisite for any military movement is, that it shall be under
the supreme command of some one man. But the left wing of the army
{150}which was to make this one was commanded by General James
Wilkinson, at Sackett's Harbor, while the right wing was under General
Wade Hampton, at Plattsburg, and between these two officers there was
not only no cordial friendship, but a positive jealousy that rendered it
almost impossible for them to act in concert. Although Wilkinson was the
ranking officer, Hampton maintained that his own must be considered as a
separate and independent command, and himself not subordinate to anybody
but the Secretary of War. He thus put in practice on a small scale a
vicious principle whose advocacy on a vastly larger scale has since
given some of his descendants an unenviable prominence.

So old a soldier as Armstrong should have known that the first thing
necessary to the success of his scheme was the removal of one or the
other of these officers, and conferring upon some one general the
absolute command of all forces that were to take part in it. As he had
stationed himself and his War Department at Sackett's Harbor, he perhaps
imagined that he could direct the expedition from there, and, holding
both generals subordinate to himself, cause the two wings to act in
concert. If so, he was wofully mistaken. A man sixty years of age, who
owned three thousand slaves and was accustomed to no check upon his
least caprice, who {151}now had four thousand troops under his command
--a large number in that war--and was distant a hundred and fifty miles
from his superior, with a wilderness between, could not be expected to
hold himself subordinate to anybody.

General Wilkinson had removed most of the troops from Fort George on
the Niagara, taking them down the lake, and he now had a total force of
about eight thousand men. The right wing, under Hampton, numbered half
as many more. The final plan was, to move down the St. Lawrence with
Wilkinson's force, while Hampton's moved northward to unite with it at
or near the mouth of the Chateaugua; the combined force then to strike
for Montreal. Wilkinson rendezvoused his troops at Grenadier Island,
eighteen miles below Sackett's Harbor, near the point where the waters
of the lake find their outlet in the St. Lawrence. The British were
apprised of the movement, and drew a large force from the Niagara
frontier to Kingston, supposing that was to be the point of attack; and
indeed this had been the first intention of the Americans. To strengthen
this impression on the part of the enemy, and induce him to hold his
forces at Kingston as long as possible, Wilkinson appointed a second
rendezvous at the mouth of French Creek, eighteen miles farther down.
The command of the {152}advance was given to General Jacob Brown, who
had successfully defended Sackett's Harbor in May. On the 1st and 2d
of November the British squadron attacked the advance, but without
effecting anything.

On the 5th Wilkinson's entire force moved down the St. Lawrence. They
occupied more than three hundred boats, which made a procession five
miles long. At Prescott the river was commanded by British batteries,
and to avoid them Wilkinson debarked his troops and stores a short
distance above that place, and sent them by land to Red Mill, some
distance below. The boats were run by the batteries at night, and
escaped injury, though under a heavy fire for a considerable time.

But it was found that the enemy had planted batteries at several other
places, to obstruct and if possible destroy the flotilla. Colonel
Alexander Macomb was ordered to cross the river with twelve hundred of
the best troops in the army, and, marching down the north bank, abreast
of the flotilla, drive away or capture the gunners. In this task he was
assisted by Forsyth's riflemen, who crossed a little later. The cavalry
and Brown's brigade passed over next day.

They found plenty of fighting to do, though of a desultory kind. There
was a battery at nearly {153}every narrow place in the river, and
small parties of the enemy were continually hanging on the rear of
the Americans, firing whenever they found a chance. Eight miles
below Hamilton, Macomb had a fight with a party strongly posted in a
block-house, and succeeded in driving them out.

Meanwhile General De Rottenburg, who had come down to Kingston from
Queenstown, sent a force of fifteen hundred men, with two schooners and
seven gunboats, to follow the expedition and attack its rear guard
at every opportunity. It was Commodore Chauncey's duty to prevent any
British force from leaving the harbor of Kingston at this time; but
unaccountably he failed to do it. On the 9th the American riflemen had a
brisk skirmish with a body of Canadian militia and Indians, and finally
drove them off.

By the 10th the Long Rapid was reached, and Wilkinson put most of his
men ashore, that the boats might shoot the rapid with greater safety.
That evening the British gun-boats came up and opened a cannonade
upon the barges, which for a time threatened to destroy them. But the
Americans took two eighteen-pounders ashore, and improvised a battery,
with which they soon drove off the gun-boats.

By this time the enemy's forces were pretty well {154}united in the rear
of the expedition, and the gunboats had been brought to act in concert.
It was evident that the Americans could not safely proceed farther till
a battle had been fought.

The troops were encamped on the farm of John Chrysler, a captain in the
British service, a short distance below Williamsburg. On the morning of
the 11th it was found that the enemy had taken a position close in the
rear, in battle order, his left resting on a swamp, and his right on the
river, where his gun-boats were moored. His line was well placed, and he
had three pieces of artillery in position. As General Wilkinson was too
ill to take the field, or even rise from his bed, the command of the
American forces devolved upon General John Parker Boyd. Boyd, now about
fifty years of age, had entered the United States service as early as
1786, but later had been a soldier of fortune in India, raising and
equipping there, at his own expense, a force of fifteen hundred men, and
selling their services to the highest bidder. Still later he returned to
the United States, and was with Harrison at the battle of Tippecanoe.

Orders were given to drive back the enemy, and General Robert
Swartwout's brigade dashed into the woods and routed the British
advance, which fell back upon the main body. The brigade of General
{155}Leonard Covington supported Swartwout's, attacking the British
right while Swartwout attacked the left. It was a cold, raw day, and
part of the time there was snow and sleet in the air. There were charges
and counter-charges, the contending columns alternately advancing and
retiring across ploughed fields, where the men were often up to
their knees in mud. All the romance of war was lacking, while all its
disagreeable elements were present in full force. There were wounds
enough, and death enough, and misery enough, and, as it proved, no
decisive or profitable victory for either side. The Americans had the
greater number of men, but this advantage was fully counterbalanced by
the fact that they were, the attacking party, and there were several
deep ravines which they could not cross with their artillery to bring it
into use, while the British used their own guns throughout the action.

The attack was spirited and determined, and seemed likely to succeed;
but after a while the American right wing found its ammunition
exhausted, and about the same time the left was discouraged and thrown
into some confusion by the fall of General Covington, mortally wounded.
The enemy now massed troops on his right wing, and pressed forward
heavily, so that he captured one of the American guns; a charge of
cavalry under Adjutant{156}General Walbach, and the coolness and
bravery of Captain Armstrong Irvine, being all that prevented him from
seizing the others.

For two hours longer the contest swayed to and fro across the miry
fields for the distance of a mile, till the Americans brought up a
reserve of six hundred men under Lieutenant-Colonel Upham, by which
order was restored and the line firmly established, to await the next
onset of the enemy. But no further assault was made, and in the night
the Americans retired unmolested to their boats.

This action is sometimes called the battle of Williamsburg, sometimes
the battle of Chrysler's Field. Both sides claimed the victory, and
there has been much dispute both as to the number of men engaged and
as to the losses. The British probably had a thousand men, including
Indians; the Americans seventeen hundred. General Wilkinson reported
a loss of one hundred and two killed, and two hundred and thirty-seven
wounded--one man in five. The British loss was reported at one hundred
and eighty-eight killed, wounded, or missing--nearly one in five. Among
the American officers who distinguished themselves on this field
was Lieutenant William J. Worth, who afterward rose to eminence as a
major-general.

Disregarding the military maxim which forbids an {157}invading army
to leave an enemy in its rear, Wilkinson next day passed down the Long
Rapids with his whole force, and near Cornwall was joined by General
Brown, who had been sent forward to attack the post at the foot of the
rapids. This had been done by a fight at Hoophole Creek, where about
eight hundred of Brown's men, under the immediate command of Colonel
Scott, had defeated an equal number of the enemy and taken many
prisoners.

But here a courier arrived at Wilkinson's headquarters, bringing a
letter from General Hampton, in which he announced that he would not
join the expedition as ordered, or attempt to invade Canada any farther.

The truth was, Hampton had moved down the Chateaugua with about four
thousand men, intending to join Wilkinson. He was opposed by a force of
about one thousand, including Indians, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel
De Salaberry. The active opposition began at a point where the road
passed through a forest. Here the enemy had felled trees across the line
of march, constructed abattis, and posted light troops and Indians in
the woods. But Hampton sent a regiment to turn the enemy's flank and
occupy the open country in the rear, while strong working parties opened
a new road by a de{158}tour, enabling his whole force to follow, and
thus the first obstruction was skilfully passed.

But eight or ten miles in advance a more formidable obstacle was
encountered. Here was another forest, in which the enemy had constructed
not only abattis but timber breastworks, and planted artillery. The
guides assured Hampton that the river, along whose bank his route
lay, was fordable opposite the enemy's flank. He thereupon formed an
elaborate plan for sending a force to ford the stream above, march to a
point below the enemy, ford again, and fall on his flank and rear; while
the main body was to attack in front when the firing was heard. The
detachment was commanded by Colonel Purdy, who afterward said it "was
intrusted to the guidance of men, each of whom repeatedly assured him
[Hampton] that they were not acquainted with the country, and were not
competent to direct such an expedition; while at the same time he had
a man who had a perfect knowledge of the country, whom he promised to
send, but which he neglected to do."

The detachment, which left camp in the evening of October 25th, crossed
the stream, and soon got lost in a hemlock swamp, where it wandered
about in the darkness, sometimes doubling on its tracks, so that the
two ends of the column would come in con{159}tact with each other and
wonder whether they had met friend or foe. As might have been expected,
it completely failed to find the lower ford.

In the afternoon of the 26th, though nothing had been heard from
the detachment, the main force moved against the works in front. De
Salaberry boldly threw forward a force to meet it, resting his left on
the river and his right on a thick wood, in the edge of which he posted
a body of Indians. The cracking of rifles began at once, and sharp and
persistent fighting ensued. Slowly and steadily the Americans, under
the immediate command of General George Izard, pressed back this advance
upon the main body of the enemy. But at this point the detachment across
the river encountered a detachment of British troops. Purdy's advance
guard was driven back, and then fire was opened upon him by a concealed
body of militia, which threw him into confusion and caused a disorderly
retreat. At the same time, Hampton was deceived by a ruse of De
Salaberry's, who had placed buglers at several points in the woods,
with orders to sound an advance. Thoroughly disconcerted, and perhaps
frightened by this failure of his plan, and the supposed onset of
a great force of the enemy, Hampton at once withdrew his troops and
abandoned the attack, falling back soon afterward to Chateaugua Four
Corners. {160}He had lost about forty men killed or wounded; the enemy
about twenty-five.

On learning of the defection of Hampton, Wilkinson called a council of
war, the result of which was a determination to ascend Salmon River
and go into winter quarters. Thus ended ingloriously one more of the
ill-advised and ill-managed attempts to conquer Lower Canada.

The cost of these campaigns had been enormous to both belligerents. The
Americans had spent about two and a half million dollars in building
vessels on lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain; which was a large sum for
that day, and yet was small in comparison with the incidental cost of
maintaining considerable bodies of troops in idleness through a whole
summer while waiting for the fleets to be built. It was estimated that
the conveyance of each cannon to Sackett's Harbor had cost a thousand
dollars. The flour for Harrison's army, by the time it reached the
troops, had cost a hundred dollars a barrel. There were long distances
through the wilderness of Western New York and Northern Ohio where
supplies could only be carried on packhorses, half a barrel to a horse,
and other horses had to follow with forage for those that were carrying
the supplies. Most of the horses were used up by a single trip. Of four
thousand used in carrying provisions {161}to Harrison, but eight hundred
were alive the next spring. In Canada the hardships of war rested
heavily upon the people as well as the soldiers. All their salt had come
from the United States, and what little there was on that side of the
border when communication with this country ceased was held at a dollar
a quart. At Kingston flour was thirty dollars a barrel. So scarce were
provisions of all kinds, that the Government appointed commissioners to
determine how much food each family should be permitted to consume. In
the British camps, lean cattle were killed to prevent their starving
to death, and then the meat was eaten by the soldiers. In later wars we
have often succeeded in shooting more men, but seldom in producing more
misery.

The withdrawal of troops from the Niagara frontier to take part in
Wilkinson's expedition left the defence of that line almost entirely to
militia, and the term for which the militia had been called out expired
on the 9th of December. The next day General George McClure, who had
been left in command at Fort George, found himself at the head of but
sixty effective men, while the British General Drummond had brought up
to the peninsula four hundred troops and seventy Indians--released by
the failure of Wilkinson's expedition--and was preparing to attack him.
{162}McClure thereupon determined to evacuate the fort, as the only
alternative from capture or destruction, and remove his men and stores
across the river to Fort Niagara. He also determined to burn the village
of Newark, that the enemy might find no shelter. The laudable part of
this plan was but imperfectly carried out; he failed to destroy the
barracks, and left unharmed tents for fifteen hundred men, several
pieces of artillery, and a large quantity of ammunition, all of which
fell into the hands of Drummond's men. But the inexcusable part--the
burning of a village in midwinter, inhabited by noncombatants who had
been guilty of no special offence--was only too faithfully executed.
The inhabitants were given twelve hours in which to remove their goods,
and then the torch was applied, and not a house was left standing.

This needless cruelty produced its natural result; Drummond determined
upon swift and ample retaliation. In the night of December 18th, just
one week after the burning of Newark, he threw across the Niagara a
force of five hundred and fifty men. They landed at Five Mile Meadows,
three miles above Fort Niagara, and marched upon it at once, arriving
there at four o'clock in the morning. McClure, who had received an
intimation of the enemy's intention to devastate the American
fron{163}tier, had gone to Buffalo to raise a force to oppose him. The
garrison of the fort consisted of about four hundred and fifty men, a
large number of whom were in the hospital. The command had been left to
a Captain Leonard, who at this time was three miles away, sleeping at a
farm-house.

The most elaborate preparations had been made for the capture of the
fort, including scaling-ladders for mounting the bastions. But the
Americans seemed to have studied to make the task as easy as possible.
The sentries were seized and silenced before they could give any alarm,
and the main gate was found standing wide open, so that the British had
only to walk straight in and begin at once the stabbing which had been
determined upon.

The guard in the south-east block-house fired one volley, by which the
British commander, Colonel Murray, was wounded, and a portion of the
invalids made what resistance they could. A British lieutenant and
five men were killed, and a surgeon and three men wounded. Sixty-five
Americans, two thirds of whom were invalids, were bayoneted in their
beds; fifteen others, who had taken refuge in the cellars, were
despatched in the same manner, and fourteen were wounded; twenty
escaped, and all the others, about three hundred and forty, were made
prisoners. Some accounts say also that the {164}women, in the fort were
treated with great cruelty and indignity.

On the same morning, General Riall, with a detachment of British troops
and five hundred Indians, crossed from Queenstown and attacked Lewiston.
The small force of Americans here, under Major Bennett, fought till they
were surrounded, and then cut their way out through the enemy, losing
eight men. The village was then plundered and burned, the savages adding
all the atrocities characteristic of their mode of warfare.

Riall next marched his troops through the villages of Youngstown,
Tuscarora, and Manchester (now Niagara Falls), and plundered and burned
them all, while the terror-stricken inhabitants were butchered or driven
away. Nor was the devastation confined to the villages. For several
miles from the river, the houses and barns of the farmers were
destroyed, and the women and children either killed or turned
shelterless into the woods and fields.

The bridge over Tonawanda Creek had been destroyed by the Americans, and
at this point the enemy turned back, and soon recrossed the Niagara to
the Canada side.

The alarm at Buffalo brought General Hall, of the New York militia,
to that village, where he arrived the day after Christmas. He found
collected there {165}a body of seventeen hundred men, whom it would have
been gross flattery to call a "force." They were poorly supplied with
arms and cartridges, and had no discipline and almost no organization.
Another regiment of three hundred soon joined them, but without adding
much to their efficiency.

On the 28th of December, Drummond reconnoitred the American camp, and
determined to attack it; for which purpose he sent over General Riall
on the evening of the 29th with fourteen hundred and fifty men, largely
regulars, and a body of Indians. One detachment landed two miles
below Black Rock, crossed Canajokaties Creek in the face of a slight
resistance, and took possession of a battery. The remainder landed at
a point between Buffalo and Black Rock, under cover of a battery on the
Canadian shore. Poor as Hall's troops were, they stood long enough to
fire upon the invaders and inflict considerable loss.

As the enemy landed here and formed in battle order, Hall with his raw
militia attacked both wings and for a short time made a gallant fight,
especially on the American left, where Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeslie
handled four hundred Ontario county men remarkably well and disputed
the ground with great firmness. Both sides had artillery, with which the
action was opened. As it progressed, however, the {166}American line
was broken in the centre, and Hall was compelled to fall back. His
subsequent attempts to rally his men were of no avail, and he himself
seems to have lost heart; as Lieutenant Riddle, who had about eighty
regulars, offered to place them in front for the encouragement of the
militia to new exertion, but Hall declined. Riddle then offered, if
Hall would give him two hundred men, to attempt to save the village from
destruction, and at least to bring away the women and children, that
they might not fall under the tomahawk and scalping-knife; but even this
the General refused, and the village was then left to its fate, though
Riddle went in with his own men and rescued the contents of the arsenal
and some other property.

Both Buffalo and Black Rock were sacked and burned, and no mercy was
shown. With but two or three exceptions, those of the inhabitants who
were not able to run away were massacred, many of them being first
submitted to torture and indignity. It is related that in Buffalo a
widow named St. John "had the address to appease the ferocity of the
enemy so far as to remain in her house uninjured." Her house and the
stone jail were the only buildings not laid in ashes. In Black Rock
every building was either burned or blown up, except one log house, in
which a few women and children had taken refuge. {167}Whether they had
the peculiar address necessary to "appease the ferocity of the enemy,"
or were merely overlooked, is not recorded. Five vessels lying at the
wharves were also burned.

In this expedition the British lost a hundred and eight men, killed,
wounded, or missing. More than fifty of the Americans were found dead on
the field. Truly, an abundant revenge had been taken for the burning of
Newark. McClure, who had given the provocation for these atrocities, was
an Irishman, and the absurdity of his whole course in the matter
seemed calculated to justify the common sarcasms levelled against his
countrymen for want of foresight.

All that the Americans had gained on the northern frontier during the
year 1813, with the exception of the territory of Michigan, restored by
Harrison's victory, had now been lost, and on New Year's day of 1814
the settlers along the whole length of the Niagara--those of them who
survived--were shivering beside the smouldering embers of their homes.



CHAPTER X. WAR IN THE SOUTH.

{168}

_Engagement at Lewistown--Fight in Delaware Bay--Burning of Havre
de Grace, Georgetown, and Fredericktown--Battle at Craney
Island--Destruction of Hampton--Troubles with the Southern
Indians--Fight at Burnt Corn Creek--Massacre at Fort Mims--Jackson's
Campaign--Fights at Talluschatches, Talladega, the Hillabee Towns,
Autosse, and Econochaca--Dale's Canoe Fight._


|While these costly and almost useless campaigns were being fought at
the North, the Southern States were not without their war experiences,
which in some instances were quite as bloody. Along the southern
Atlantic coast the British had a great advantage from their heavy
war-ships, which blockaded-the harbors, ran into the navigable inlets,
bombarded the towns, and sent parties ashore to plunder and burn. The
militia did what they could to repel these incursions, and in some
cases, by handling a few pieces of artillery skilfully, drove off the
invaders. Lewistown, on Delaware Bay, was bombarded in April. The shells
fell short, and the rockets went over the town, but many of the solid
shot went through the houses, doing considerable damage. In May, a party
of {169}sailors sent ashore to get water for the squadron near Lewistown
were spiritedly attacked by militia, and compelled to return to their
ships with empty casks. A fortnight later a party was sent ashore for
provisions, but was driven off by the vigilant militia before a mouthful
had been obtained.

On the 29th of July the British sloop-of-war _Martin_ grounded in
Delaware Bay, and eight gunboats and two sloops, commanded by Captain
Angus, went down to attack her. They anchored within three quarters of a
mile, and opened upon her with all their guns. The frigate _Junon_ came
to her assistance, and the cannonade was kept up for nearly two hours.
The British sailors proved to be very poor gunners, in comparison with
the Americans. Hardly a shot struck the gun-boats, while the sloop and
the frigate were hulled at almost every discharge. At length the British
manned their launches, barges, and cutters, to the number of ten, and
pulled off to cut out some of the gun-boats at the end of the line.
Eight of them attacked a single gun-boat commanded by Sailing-Master
Shead, who used his sweeps to get his craft nearer the squadron,
from which it had become separated, but all the while kept firing his
twenty-four pounder at his pursuers, striking one or another of them
with almost every shot. Finding they were rapidly gain{170}ing on him,
he anchored and waited for them to attempt boarding. He gave them two
more gunfuls, as they drew nigh, with terrible effect, when the piece
became disabled. The barges completely surrounded the little gun-boat,
and there was a desperate conflict hand-to-hand. But of course it could
not last long. Shead's crew were soon overpowered, and the British flag
waved triumphantly over his deck. Seven of the British sailors had been
killed, and twelve wounded, while seven of Shead's men were wounded.

On the Chesapeake the Americans fared even worse. Early in the morning
of the 3d of May, the British Admiral Cockburn sent a force in nineteen
barges to destroy the town of Havre de Grace and ravage the country
between it and Baltimore. A small battery had been erected for the
defence of the place; but it was still dark when the enemy came, and the
first notice the inhabitants had of his approach was given by the balls
whistling through the houses. A panic and stampede ensued. But a few men
ran to the battery, and fired at the barges till the British began
to land, when they all joined in the flight, except an old man named
O'Neill, who stood by one of the guns and continued to load and fire it
till, in recoiling, it ran over his thigh and somewhat disabled him. He
{171}still had strength to get away, armed himself with two muskets, and
tried in vain to rally the militia, but finally was taken prisoner.
He and his companions at the battery had killed three of the enemy and
wounded two.

As soon as the British forces had landed, fire was set to the houses not
already destroyed by shells, while the sailors and marines went
through them, smashing furniture, cutting open beds to feed the flames,
insulting women, and spreading terror. One house only, filled with
women, was spared after a special appeal to the Admiral. A church just
outside of the town was gutted, farm-houses on the road to Baltimore
were plundered, travellers were robbed, and bridges, furnaces, and mills
were destroyed.

The little villages of Georgetown and Fredericktown, Maryland, were the
next spoil of the Admiral, who led the ravaging party in person. But
he did not succeed in landing till his men in the boats had suffered
severely from the fire of a battery manned by thirty-five militiamen,
which was kept up steadily for half an hour. Not a house was left
standing in either of the villages, and the enemy enriched themselves
with all the plunder they could carry away.

About this time Admiral Warren, who had issued {172}from Bermuda a
proclamation declaring New York, Charleston, Port Royal, Savannah, and
the whole of the Mississippi River under blockade--a paper blockade, at
which both Americans and neutrals laughed--joined Admiral Cockburn, in
the Chesapeake, and they determined to extend as far as possible the
pillaging and burning of towns on the coast.

The next one selected was Norfolk, Va. But the approach to the town was
commanded by a battery on Craney Island, and this battery was promptly
manned by a hundred American sailors, under command of Lieutenant Neale,
of the navy, and fifty marines under Lieutenant Breckenridge. It was
dawn of day on the 22d of June when four thousand British sailors and
marines, in barges, came in sight of the island; and when they were
fairly under the guns of the battery, it blazed out. The pieces were
served rapidly and with such precision that many of the barges were cut
clear in two, and their occupants would have been drowned had they not
been promptly rescued by the others. The Admiral was in a boat fifty
feet long, called the _Centipede_, and this was so riddled with shot
that he and his crew had barely time to get out of it when it sank.
Before this merciless and unremitting fire the squadron of barges at
length retreated {173}to the ships. At the same time, a body of eight
hundred soldiers had been put ashore, to attack the town by land. But
for them a force of Virginia volunteers, under Colonel Beatty, were
waiting, with a well-placed battery of six guns. The enemy had not all
landed when the battery opened upon them, with such effect that they
retreated at once. A part of them took refuge in a house, from which
they fired rockets at the battery-men; but an American gun-boat came up
and sent a few twenty-four-pound balls crashing through the house,
when the last of the enemy fled, making their way back to the fleet as
speedily as possible.

Smarting under this defeat, the British commanders immediately planned
the destruction of Hampton, eighteen miles from Norfolk, which they
supposed would cut off communication between the latter place and the
upper part of Virginia.

At daylight on the 25th, two thousand five hundred soldiers, commanded
by Sir Sydney Beckwith, were landed several miles below Hampton, and
marched on the town. At the same time, a squadron of boats, commanded
by Admiral Cockburn and protected by the sloop-of-war _Mohawk_, drew
up before the place and fired in rockets, shells, and solid shot. The
entire garrison of the place consisted of six hundred and thirty-six
men, com{174}manded by Major Crutchfield, who had seven pieces of
artillery.

As Cockburn's barges approached the town, fire was opened upon them with
two twelve-pounders, which did so much execution that the Admiral found
it discreet to draw off and take position behind a point of land where
the American gunners could not see him. From this shelter he fired
rockets and shells for an hour, but so wildly that not the slightest
damage was effected by them.

Crutchfield sent a company of riflemen, under Captain Servant, with
orders to conceal themselves in the woods near the road where Beckwith's
column would pass in approaching the town, to annoy and delay it as much
as possible. This was done so skilfully as to inflict considerable
loss upon the enemy; and when Crutchfield saw that the barges would not
approach the town again till it was in the possession of Beckwith, he
marched with the greater part of his force to the assistance of the
riflemen, leaving Captain Pryor with a few men to manage the battery and
keep off the barges.

Crutchfield's column was fired upon just as the British column had been,
by riflemen concealed in a wood; and as he wheeled to charge upon the
hidden foe, he was greeted by a sudden fire from two six-pounders and
a discharge of rockets. The {175}enemy's artillery was so well handled
that Crutchfield's column was broken up, and a portion of it driven from
the field. The remainder made its way through a defile, all the while
under fire, to a junction with Servant's riflemen. At the same time
Captain Cooper, with what few cavalrymen the Americans had, was annoying
the enemy's left flank.

Crutchfield kept up the fighting with spirit as long as possible, but of
course was obliged to give way at last. Captain Pryor and his men held
their ground at the battery, preventing any landing from the barges,
till the enemy's land force came up in the rear and was within sixty
yards of the guns. He then ordered the artillerists to spike the pieces,
and break through the corps of British marines approaching in the rear;
which order was at once obeyed, to the astonishment of the marines,
who failed to hurt or capture a single man. With Captain Pryor still at
their head, the little band plunged into a creek and swam across, those
who had car-fines or side-arms taking them with them, and escaped beyond
pursuit. Crutchfield in his retreat was followed for two miles by a
strong force, which failed to overtake him, while he frequently halted
his men behind fences and walls, to deliver a volley at the approaching
enemy and then continue the retreat. {176}In this fight the British had
ninety men killed, and a hundred and twenty wounded. The American loss
was seven killed, twelve wounded, and twelve missing.

The village of Hampton was now at the mercy of an enemy who showed
no mercy, and was immediately given up to plunder and outrage, which
continued for two days and nights. The town was not burned, but every
house was ruined as to its furniture and decorations, except the one
in which the commanding officers were quartered. Such deeds were
perpetrated by the British soldiers and sailors, unrestrained by their
officers, as had hardly been paralleled even in Indian warfare. Neither
age nor sex nor innocence was any protection. In one case an old and
infirm citizen was murdered in the presence of his aged wife; and when
she remonstrated, a soldier presented a pistol at her breast and shot
her dead. Women with infants in their arms were pursued till they threw
themselves into the river to escape, children were wantonly killed,
and such shameful scenes were enacted as cannot even be mentioned in
a history written for youth. The soldiers destroyed all the medical
stores, that were necessary for the care of the sick and wounded. They
also stole a considerable number of slaves and sent them to the West
Indies, not to be liber{177}ated, but to be sold and turned into cash.
When they abandoned the town, they went in such haste that they left
behind a large quantity of provisions, arms, and ammunition, and some of
their men, who were captured next day by Cooper's cavalry.

The indignation aroused by the unhappy fate of Hampton was such that
General Robert R. Taylor, commandant of the district, addressed a letter
to Admiral Warren, inquiring whether the outrages were sanctioned by
the British commanders, and if not, whether the perpetrators were to be
punished. The Admiral referred the letter to Sir Sydney Beckwith, who
did not attempt to deny that the outrages had been committed as
charged, but said that "the excesses at Hampton, of which General Taylor
complains, were occasioned by a proceeding at Craney Island. At the
recent attack on that place, the troops in a barge which had been
sunk by the fire of the American guns had been fired on by a party of
Americans, who waded out and shot these poor fellows while clinging to
the wreck of the boat; and with a feeling natural to such a proceeding,
the men of that corps landed at Hampton." General Taylor at once
appointed a court of inquiry, which by a careful investigation found
that none of the men belonging to the wrecked barge had been fired upon,
except one who was trying to escape to {178}that division of the British
troops which had landed, and he was not killed; while, so far from
shooting the unfortunate men in the water, some of the Americans had
waded out to assist them. The report embodying these facts was forwarded
to Sir Sydney, who never made any reply--which perhaps is the most
nearly graceful thing a man can do when he has been convicted of a
deliberate and outrageous falsehood.

In the far South a better success attended the American arms this summer
than either on the Northern border or the Atlantic coast. This was
owing partly to the greater simplicity of the task that lay before the
commanders, and partly to the greater energy with which they entered
upon it, but chiefly to the difference in the enemy. In Canada and on
the coast, our men contended with forces largely made up of British
regulars, at that time perhaps the most efficient soldiery in the world.
In Florida and Alabama they contended indeed with British arms, but they
were in the hands of Indians.

The English agents at Pensacola, with the connivance of the Spanish
authorities there--for Florida belonged to Spain till the United States
purchased it in 1819--had supplied the Creeks with rifles, ammunition,
and provisions, and sent them {179}on the war-path, not against the
American armies, for there were none in that region, but against the
settlers and scattered posts along the navigable rivers. A premium of
five dollars was offered for every scalp--whether of man, woman, or
child--which the savages might bring to the British agency.

The militia of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee were called out to meet
the emergency, and before the year was over the Creeks had been made to
suffer a terrible retribution.

As one body of these Indians, commanded by a half-breed named McQueen,
started for the interior, a militia force under Colonel James Caller set
out to intercept them. On the 27th of July they were found encamped on
a small, low peninsula enclosed in one of the windings of Burnt Corn
Creek. Caller promptly attacked them, and after a sharp action routed
them. But he called back the pursuing detachment too soon, the Indians
rallied, a part of the whites fled in panic, and the remainder had
a severe fight with the savages, in which they were outnumbered and
defeated. Caller lost two men killed and fifteen wounded.

This victory inspired the Indians with new confidence, while it spread
terror among the settlers. The next hostile movement was against Fort
Mims{180}on Lake Tensas, near Alabama River, forty miles northward
of Mobile. This work was a stockade enclosure of about an acre, which
a farmer named Mims had erected for the protection of his buildings and
cattle. It was loop-holed for musketry all round, and at one corner
was an uncompleted blockhouse. When the alarm of Indian raids had gone
forth, the settlers flocked to Fort Mims from all sides, and Governor
Claiborne sent a hundred and seventy-five volunteers, under Major Daniel
Beasley, to defend it. The space was so crowded that it became necessary
to extend the stockade, and another enclosure was made on the eastern
side, but the fence between was left standing. On the 29th of August,
a thousand Creek warriors, commanded by William Weathersford, a
half-breed, arrived within a quarter of a mile of the fort, and
concealed themselves in a ravine. Some of them were seen by two Negroes
who had been sent out to tend cattle; but when they had given the alarm,
and a scouting party had failed to find any trace of Indians, they were
not only disbelieved, but severely flogged for lying.

After many false alarms, the occupants of the fort had become
incredulous and careless of danger, their commander perhaps most so of
all. On the 30th the gates stood wide open, no guard was set, {181}and
when the drum beat for dinner the soldiers laid aside their arms and
went to their meal at the moment when the savages sprang from their
hiding-place and with their well-known yell rushed toward the stockade.
Officers and men sprang to arms at the frightful sound. Major Beasley,
in attempting to close the outer gate, was knocked down and run over
by the foremost of the assailants, many of whom poured into the outer
enclosure, where they quickly murdered all the whites whom they found.
Beasley himself crawled off in a corner to die, and the command devolved
upon Captain Bailey.

When the Indians attempted to enter the inner enclosure, they were
stopped by a fire through the loop-holes in the partition. Five of their
prophets, who had proclaimed that their charms and incantations rendered
the American bullets harmless, all fell dead at the first discharge.
This produced a temporary check, but new swarms of the naked savages
came up, and a desperate fight through the loop-holes was maintained for
several hours. The soldiers stood manfully at their posts, were assisted
by some of the women and boys, and killed a large number of the Indians,
who, on the other hand, were sure of hitting somebody whenever they
fired into the crowded enclosure. Numbers of the red-skins were
constantly dancing, hooting, and {182}yelling around the fort, many of
whom were shot by the old men of the garrison, who had ascended to the
attic of the largest house and cut holes in the roof.

The enemy were getting tired of this costly work, when Weathersford came
up, exhorted them to new efforts, and directed fire-tipped arrows to be
shot into the fort. In a short time the buildings were in flames, and
the miserable inmates, driven by the heat, were huddled in one corner,
when the Indians burst in and rapidly completed the massacre. Children
were taken by the heels, and their brains dashed out against the walls;
women were butchered in a manner unknown since the wars of the ancient
Jews; a few Negroes were kept for slaves, but not one white person was
left alive--excepting twelve, who had secretly cut an opening through
the stockade and escaped by way of the lake. Of the five hundred and
fifty-three persons in the fort at noon, at least four hundred perished
before night; and it was believed that about as many of the Indians had
been killed or wounded.

The tidings of this massacre of course excited horror and indignation
in every part of the country, but nowhere met so prompt and practical a
response as in Tennessee. The Legislature of that {183}State called for
thirty-five hundred volunteers--in addition to fifteen hundred whom she
had already enrolled in the service of the general Government--voted an
appropriation of three hundred thousand dollars, and placed them under
command of General Andrew Jackson. * To General John Cocke was entrusted
the work of gathering the troops from East Tennessee, and providing
subsistence for the whole. Fayetteville was appointed as the general
rendezvous, and Colonel John Coffee was sent forward to Huntsville,
Alabama, with a cavalry force of five hundred men, which by the time he
arrived there was increased to thirteen hundred.

Jackson reached Fayetteville on the 7th of October, began drilling his
men, and on the 11th, hearing from Coffee that the enemy was in sight,
marched them to Huntsville--thirty-two miles--in five hours. For the
work in hand, he could not have asked for better material than these
Western pioneers, who were skilled in wood-craft, who knew the tricks
and manners of the enemy, and were as fearless as they were cunning.
Among them were Sam Houston and the eccentric and now famous David
Crockett.

The only serious trouble was in forwarding the

* At this time the General was lying helpless at Nashville, from wounds
received in a disgraceful affray.

{184}supplies. At the most southerly point on Tennessee River, while he
sent out the cavalry to forage, Jackson drilled the infantry and built
Fort Deposit, intended as a depot for provisions when the rise of water
should allow them to be sent down.

Forty-five miles southward, at the Ten Islands of the Coosa, friendly
Indians were calling for help against the hostile Creeks. By a week's
march, in which he foraged on all sides and burned several villages,
Jackson reached that place. The enemy were in camp at Talluschatches
(now Jacksonville), thirteen miles eastward, and on the night of
November 2d Colonel Coffee was sent out with a thousand mounted men and
a few friendly Creeks, to attack them. At sunrise he divided his force
into two columns, the heads of which united near the place, while the
remainder, swinging outward and forward, made a semicircle about the
little town. Within this, two companies were pushed forward to entice
the Indians from their shelter. This accomplished, these companies
retreated, and the whole line opened fire upon the savages and rapidly
closed in upon them. "Our men rushed up to the doors of the houses,"
said Coffee in his report, "and in a few minutes killed the last warrior
of them. The enemy fought with savage fury, and met death with all its
horrors, without shrinking or {185}complaining. Not one asked to be
spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit." About two
hundred Indians were killed, and eighty-four women and children were
made prisoners. The Americans lost five men killed and forty-one
wounded.

At this point Jackson was joined after a time by the forces from East
Tennessee under General Cocke, and here he built Fort Strother. But
before Cocke's arrival he learned that a few friendly Indians in Fort
Talladega, thirty miles south, were completely surrounded by a thousand
Creeks, who would soon reduce them by starvation. The news was brought
by a chief who had disguised himself in a hog-skin and escaped from the
fort by night.

Jackson at once put himself at the head of two thousand men, and marched
to the relief of the little fort. On the 9th of November he arrived
within striking distance of the enemy, when he deployed his columns,
placing the volunteers on the right, the militia on the left, and the
cavalry on the wings. He adopted precisely the same plan of attack
that Coffee had used at Talluschatches; but it was not so completely
successful, for two companies of the militia temporarily gave way, and
a part of the cavalry had to dismount and fill the gap. Jackson believed
that but for this he should have killed every {186}one of the thousand
hostile Indians before him. As it was, two hundred and ninety-nine of
them were left dead on the field, while the remainder were chased to the
mountains, and left a bloody track as they ran. The loss of the whites
was fifteen killed and eighty-six wounded.

The Indians of the Hillabee towns, in what is now Cherokee county, sent
a messenger to Jackson to sue for peace, through whom he replied that
they could only have it on condition of returning prisoners and property
and surrendering for punishment those who had been engaged in the
massacres. But while they awaited an answer, General Cocke, working his
way down the Coosa, sent a force, under General White, to attack these
towns. White marched rapidly, destroying everything in his path, and on
the 18th of November appeared before the principal village, which he at
once fell upon, and killed sixty unresisting Indians, and carried back
with him the squaws and children. The Indians, who supposed all the
whites were under Jackson's command, looked upon this as a piece of
treachery, and became more desperate than ever. For this unfortunate
affair, General Cocke has been severely blamed; but he was tried by
a court-martial, and honorably acquitted, while his own published
statement makes it clear that he acted in entire good {187}faith. He was
as destitute of provisions as Jackson was, and thought if he pushed on
to Fort Strother it would only double the number of starving soldiers
there.

While Jackson was coming down from the north, General John Floyd, with
nine hundred and fifty Georgians and four hundred Indians, was coming
from the east. He first found the enemy at Autosse, on the Tallapoosa,
thirty miles east of the present site of Montgomery, where, on the 29th
of November, he attacked them, drove them from their villages to holes
and caves in the river-bank, burned all their dwellings, and then hunted
down and killed as many of them as possible. At least two hundred fell.
The whites lost eleven killed and fifty-four wounded.

General Ferdinand L. Claiborne entered the country from the west in
July, and built small forts at various points. On the 12th of December
he left Fort Claiborne (on the site of the present town of that name)
with a thousand men, and after marching more than a hundred miles
northeast, he came on the 23d to an Indian town of refuge, called
Econochaca, on the Alabama, west of Montgomery. This village was built
upon what the Indian prophets assured the tribe was holy ground, which
no white man could set, foot upon and live. No path {188}of any kind led
to it. Here the women and children had been sent for safety; here, in a
little square, the prophets performed their religious rites, which are
supposed to have included the burning of captives at the stake. Several
captives, of both sexes, it is said were standing with the wood piled
about them when Claiborne's columns appeared before the town.

The Indians, who had hurried their women and children across the river,
fought desperately for a short time, and then broke and fled, many of
them swimming the river and escaping. About thirty were killed. The
whites lost one killed and six wounded. Claiborne sacked and burned the
village, and then returned to Fort Claiborne, where his forces rapidly
melted away by the expiration of their terms of service. Jackson, at
Fort Strother, was in a similar predicament; and thus closed the year on
the campaign at the South. It had been attended with many instances of
individual bravery and exciting and romantic adventure, one of the most
famous of which is known as the Canoe Fight, of which General Samuel
Dale was the hero. There can be no better account of it than Dale's
own, as he related it some years afterward to his friend Hon. John H. F.
Claiborne, who incorporated it in his "Life of Dale." The General was on
his way, {189}November 13th, with sixty men, to attack an Indian camp on
the east side of the Alabama, near what is now Dale's Ferry. He says:

"I put thirty of my men on the east bank, where the path ran directly
by the river-side. With twenty men I kept the western bank, and thus we
proceeded to Randon's Landing. A dozen fires were burning, and numerous
scaffolds for drying meat, denoting a large body of Indians; but none
were visible. About half past ten A.M. we discerned a large canoe coming
down stream. It contained eleven warriors. Observing that they were
about to land at a cane-brake just above us, I called to my men to
follow, and dashed for the-, cane-brake with all my might. Only seven
of my men kept up with me. As the Indians were in the act of landing, we
fired. Two leaped into the water. Jim Smith shot one as he rose, and I
shot the other. In the mean time they had backed into deep water, and
three Indians were swimming on the off side of the canoe, working her as
far from the shore as they could, to get out of the range of our guns.
The others lay in the bottom of the canoe, which was thirty odd
feet long, four feet deep, and three feet beam, made of an immense
cypress-tree, specially for the transportation of corn. One of the
warriors shouted to Weathersford (who was in the {190}vicinity, as it
afterward appeared, but invisible to us), 'Yos-ta-hah! yos-ta-hah!'
'They are spoiling us.' This fellow was in the water, his hands on the
gunwale of the pirogue, and as often as he rose to shout we fired,
but ineffectually. He suddenly showed himself breast-high, whooping in
derision, and said, 'Why don't you shoot?' I drew my sight just between
his hands, and as he rose I lodged a bullet in his brains. Their canoe
then floated down with the current. I ordered my men on the east bank
to fetch the boats. Six of them jumped into a canoe, and paddled to the
Indians, when one of them cried out, 'Live Indians! Back water, boys!
back water!' and the frightened fellows paddled back whence they came.
I next ordered Cæsar, a free Negro fellow, to bring a boat. Seeing him
hesitate, I swore I would shoot him the moment I got across. He crossed
a hundred yards below the Indians, and Jim Smith, Jerry Austill, and
myself got in. I made Cæsar paddle within forty paces, when all three of
us levelled our guns, and all missed fire! As the two boats approached,
one of them hurled his scalping-knife at me. It pierced the boat through
and through, just grazing my thigh as it passed. The next moment the
canoes came in contact. I leaped up, placing one of my feet in each
boat. At the same instant the {191}foremost warrior levelled his rifle
at my breast. It flashed in the pan. As quick as lightning, he clubbed
it, and aimed at me a furious blow, which I partially parried, and,
before he could repeat it, I shivered his skull with my gun. In the mean
time an Indian had struck down Jerry, and was about to despatch him,
when I broke my rifle over his head. It parted in two places. The barrel
Jerry seized, and renewed the fight. The stock I hurled at one of the
savages. Being then disarmed, Caesar handed me his musket and bayonet.

"Finding myself unable to keep the two canoes in juxtaposition, I
resolved to bring matters to an issue, and leaped into the Indian boat.
My pirogue, with Jerry, Jim, and Caesar, floated off. Jim fired, and
slightly wounded the Indian next to me. I now stood in the centre of
their canoe--two dead at my feet--a wounded savage in the stern, who
had been snapping his piece at me during the fight, and four powerful
warriors in front. The first one directed a furious blow at me with his
rifle; it glanced upon the barrel of my musket, and I staved the bayonet
through his body. As he fell, the next one repeated the attack. A shot
from Jerry Austill pierced his heart. Striding over them, the next
sprung at me with his tomahawk. I killed him with the bayonet, and
his corpse lay between me {192}and the last of the party. I knew him
well--Tar-cha-chee, a noted wrestler, and the most famous ball-player of
his clan. He paused a moment in expectation of my attack, but, finding
me motionless, he stepped backward to the bow of the canoe, shook
himself, gave the war-whoop of his tribe, and cried out, 'Sam tholocco
_Iana dahmaska, ia-lanes-tha--lipso--lipso--lanestha. Big Sam! I am a
man--I am coming--come on!_' As he said this, with a terrific yell he
bounded over the dead body of his comrade, and directed a blow at my
head with his rifle, which dislocated my left shoulder. I dashed the
bayonet into him. It glanced round his ribs, and the point hitching to
his back-bone, I pressed him down. As I pulled the weapon out, he put
his hands upon the sides of the canoe and endeavored to rise, crying
out, '_Tar-cha-chee is a man. He is not afraid to die!_' I drove my
bayonet through his heart. I then turned to the wounded villain in the
stern, who snapped his rifle at me as I advanced, and had been snapping
during the whole conflict. He gave the war-whoop, and, in tones of
hatred and defiance, exclaimed, '_I am a warrior--I am not afraid to
die._' As he uttered the words I pinned him down with my bayonet, and he
followed his eleven comrades to the land of spirits. {193}"During this
conflict, which was over in ten minutes, my brave companions, Smith
and Austill, had been struggling with the current of the Alabama,
endeavoring to reach me. Their guns had become useless, and their only
paddle had been broken. Two braver fellows never lived. Austin's first
shot saved my life.

"By this time my men came running down the bank, shouting that
Weathersford was coming. With our three canoes we crossed them all over,
and got safely back to the fort."



CHAPTER XI. NAVAL BATTLES OF 1813

{194}

_The Hornet and the Peacock--The Chesapeake and the Shannon--The Argus
and the Pelican--The Enterprise and the Boxer--Decatur blockaded at New
London--A New Embargo._


|The brilliant victories achieved on the ocean in 1812 reversed the
opinion the Government had entertained as to the value of the navy,
and early in 1813 Congress authorized the building of four
ships-of-the-line, six frigates, six sloops-of-war, and as many vessels
on the lakes as the service might require.

But in the second year of the war the American sailor did not meet
with that uniform success which in the first year had surprised and
confounded the self-styled Mistress of the Seas. One battle, in which a
noble ship was lost and many lives were sacrificed, through drunkenness,
was a grievous mortification to the whole American people. The commander
of the defeated vessel was fortunate in not surviving the action, as he
would probably have been court-martialled and disgraced.

The first naval engagement of the year took place in West Indian waters.
Lieutenant James Law{195}rence, in the _Hornet_, of twenty guns, was
cruising up and down the coast of Guiana, and had taken few prizes,
when on the 24th of February sighted the English brig _Peacock_, Captain
Peake, which carried twenty guns. Both drew down upon each other. They
passed within half pistol-shot; and as they passed, each delivered the
full broadside of the larboard battery. The _Peacock_ then put her helm
hard up, intending to wear round and rake the _Hornet_. But Lawrence
quickly imitated the movement, got the better of his antagonist, and
with all his guns blazing bore down upon her quarter. He then closed,
and kept up so terrific a fire that in fifteen minutes from the
beginning of the action the Englishman not only struck his colors, but
hoisted them in the fore-rigging with the union down--which is a signal
of distress. A few minutes later, the Peacock's main-mast tumbled.

An officer sent on board to take possession found that she had six feet
of water in the hold, and was settling rapidly. Captain Peake and four
of his men had been killed, and thirty-three wounded. Every effort was
made to save the wounded men. Both vessels anchored, for the water here
was but thirty-three feet deep. The prisoners were removed as fast as
possible, while, to keep the _Peacock_ afloat, {196}her guns were thrown
overboard, the shot-holes plugged, and the pumps manned; but in spite of
this she went down, carrying nine of her men and three of the
_Hornet's_. Four of the crew took the stern boat, which was supposed so
damaged as to be useless, and paddled Four others climbed into the
rigging of the fore-top, and as this remained above the surface when the
hull touched bottom, they were saved. On the _Hornet_ one man had been
killed and two wounded by the enemy's fire, and her rigging was
considerably damaged.

As another British war-vessel was not far away, the _Hornet_ had to be
put in fighting trim again with all speed, which was accomplished within
four hours after the action. As she was crowded with prisoners and was
short of water, she turned her prow toward home, arriving at Martha's
Vineyard on the the 19th of March, and proceeding through Long Island
Sound to New York. Congress voted Lawrence a gold medal, and to each of
his commissioned officers a silver one; and he was soon promoted to the
rank of captain, and given command of the frigate _Chesapeake_, then
lying in Boston harbor. The very next naval battle was the one in which
Lawrence lost his life, lost his ship, and lost a great part of his
reputation. {197}Captain Philip Bowes Vere Broke, commanding the British
frigate _Shannon_, of thirty-eight guns, had been cruising along the New
England coast for some time, looking for prizes, and especially for an
opportunity to retrieve the honor of his flag in an encounter with some
American war-ship of the size of his own. Lawrence was preparing for a
cruise against the English fleet engaged in the Greenland whale-fishery;
but when the Shannon appeared in the offing, June 1st, he hastily got
his crew together and went out from Boston to fight her.

Broke had sent in to him a letter containing a formal challenge to try
the powers of the two ships; but it did not arrive till the _Chesapeake_
had sailed, and Lawrence never received it. One sentence of this letter
is very significant, in that it contains the whole germ of the war. "I
doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel convinced
that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats that your little
navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of that trade it
can no longer protect." That was it exactly. American trade, the grudge
of British merchants, and the constant object of British hostilities,
was to be permitted only so far as American guns were able to protect
it; and since the American navy, as Captain Broke said, was little,
while England's was large, it {198}was confidently believed by his
countrymen that this protection would not ultimately amount to much.

At six o'clock in the evening the vessels came within cannon-shot of
each other, and the _Shannon_ opened fire at once. But the Chesapeake
remained silent till her whole broadside could be brought to bear; then
she opened her ports, and for eight minutes there was a terrific and
continuous roar. Now, as before, the Americans were the better gunners,
and in this broadside firing the advantage was with the _Chesapeake_;
but accident favored her antagonist and gave him an opportunity to use
the advantages he possessed in other respects. Two or three shots that
struck the rigging of the Chesapeake rendered her for a short time not
perfectly manageable, and her mizzen-rigging fouled in the _Shannons_
fore-chains. This exposed her to a raking fire, and her upper deck was
swept at once by two of the enemy's guns.

In the broadside firing, Captain Lawrence had been wounded in the leg,
the master was killed, the first lieutenant was disabled, and the marine
officer, the fourth lieutenant, and the boatswain were mortally wounded.
So great a proportion of officers struck down was a rare accident. To
increase the misfortune, a Negro bugler had been substituted for the
drummer, and when Lawrence ordered the {199}signal to be sounded for
boarding, it was found that the bugleman had crawled under the launch,
and when he was hauled out he was still so frightened that he could not
sound a note. Lawrence then passed down verbal orders for the boarders
to come on deck, and at this moment he fell, shot through the body. As
he was carried below, he exclaimed: "Tell the men to fire faster, and
not give up the ship. Fight her till she sinks!"

But it was too late. The enemy were already on his deck in great
numbers, and after a short and unorganized resistance his men were
overcome and his ship was captured. The victors considerably increased
the casualties by firing down the hatchways with musketry, in
justification of which it is said that some one had fired up the hatch
and killed a marine.

The havoc in both crews had been frightful for so short a battle. On
the _Shannon_, twenty-four were killed and fifty-eight wounded; on the
_Chesapeake_ forty-seven were killed and ninety-eight wounded. Nearly
one third of all the men engaged in the action had been struck. Captain
Lawrence died in four days. His age was but thirty-one. He had been
greatly admired for his personal bravery, his courteousness, his regard
for the sailors under his command, and his wonderful nautical skill.
{200}In explanation of this defeat, it is said that Captain Broke had
been for weeks giving his men a special training for such an encounter;
while the _Chesapeake_ had a heterogeneous crew, a part of them were new
men, and many of the old ones were in a state of half mutiny from not
having received prize money that was due them. Some of the officers were
sick on shore, others were inexperienced, and several of the sailors
were seen drunk in the streets of Boston an hour before they were
summoned to go on board as the vessel was weighing anchor. These facts
seem to be well established; but the explanation does not make it any
the less a British victory. If Broke's men were under good discipline,
while Lawrence's were not, he is entitled to as much credit for his
achievement as if it had been accomplished through superior courage or
any other means. And Lawrence, had he not died, might properly have
been censured, or even punished, for going out to fight under such
circumstances, when he could have waited till he had trained his crew.
It was also said that the sailors entertained a superstitious belief
that the _Chesapeake_ was an unlucky ship. It was she that had been
fired into by the _Leopard_, in 1807, when she had not a single gun
in condition to return the shot; and just before her battle with the
{201}_Shannon_ she had cruised across the Atlantic to the coast of
Africa, and home again by way of the West Indies, without taking a
single prize.

Broke's victory was a grateful salve to England's pride, so sorely
wounded by the naval events of 1812, and her historians have never tired
of dwelling upon it. One of the latest of them devotes more than eight
pages to it alone, while he disposes of all the other sea-fights of this
war in less than three.

The American brig _Argus_, of twenty guns, commanded by Captain William
Henry Allen, after taking Hon. William H. Crawford to France as the new
United States Minister at the French court, made a cruise in the English
and Irish channels, where she captured twenty merchantmen. But in the
evening of August 13th she had the misfortune to capture a vessel loaded
with wine. The crew spent most of the night in transferring the cargo,
and helped themselves liberally to the contents of some of the casks.
Just before daylight, when all of them were tired out and many were
intoxicated, they completed their misfortune by setting fire to the
prize.

By the light of the burning vessel, the British brig _Pelican_, of
twenty-one guns, sighted the _Argus_ and bore down upon her. The
_Pelican_ got the {202}weather-gage, and came within close range. The
_Argus_ opened with a broadside, and for three quarters of an hour the
firing was kept up on both sides with great spirit. At the end of
that time the American had lost her steering apparatus and most of her
running rigging, while the enemy was lying under her stern, firing at
leisure. Captain Allen was mortally wounded before the fighting had
been going on five minutes, and his first lieutenant was disabled a few
minutes later. There was now nothing for the _Argus_ but to surrender.
She had lost six men killed and seventeen wounded; the _Pelican_, three
killed and five wounded.

Early in September the American brig _Enterprise_, of fourteen guns,
commanded by Lieutenant William Burrows, was cruising along the coast of
Maine in search of Canadian privateers, when, on the 5th, near Penguin
Point, within sight of Portland, the British brig _Boxer_, of fourteen
guns, Captain Samuel Blythe, was encountered. Both vessels prepared for
action, and a few minutes past three o'clock they had approached within
half pistol-shot, when both opened fire. The wind was light, the
sea nearly smooth, and the broadsides of the _Enterprise_ were very
effective. Burrows had mounted a long gun in his poop-cabin, running it
out of a window, and after the first broadside he drew ahead, sheered
{203}across the enemy's bow, and raked him with this gun. This was
repeated, with other skilful manoeuvres, and in forty minutes the
_Boxer_, being hailed, said she was ready to surrender, but could not
haul down her colors, because they were nailed to the mast.

One of her officers is said to have sprung upon a gun, shaken his fists
at the Americans, in a fearful state of excitement, and shouted "No! no!
no!" adding a few opprobrious epithets, when a superior officer ordered
him down. This exhibition, together with the ridiculous fact that a ship
with her colors nailed was trying to surrender, brought a hearty laugh
from the American crew, notwithstanding the shattered spars and bloody
decks.

The _Enterprise_ immediately ceased firing, and took possession of the
prize. The American vessel had suffered very little injury, though her
hull was peppered with grapeshot, a ball had passed through her foremast
and one through her mainmast, and her upper rigging was considerably
cut. She had lost one man killed and thirteen wounded, three of them
mortally. The _Boxer_ had been hulled repeatedly, three balls had passed
through her foremast, some of her guns were dismounted, her top-gallant.
forecastle was cut away, and her rigging badly injured. The number of
her men that were killed {204}has never been ascertained; fourteen were
wounded. The commanders of the two vessels both fell, almost at the same
moment: Blythe cut in two by an eighteen-pound ball, Burrows mortally
wounded by a canister-shot. They were buried side by side in Portland,
with the honors of war.

The poet Longfellow, who at that time was in his seventh year and
lived in Portland, alludes to this battle in his poem entitled "My Lost
Youth."=

```"'I remember the sea-fight far away,

```How it thundered o'er the tide!

```And the dead captains, as they lay

```In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay

````Where they in battle died.

`````And the sound of that mournful song

`````Goes through me with a thrill:

`````'A boy's will is the wind's will,

```And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.'"=


On the day when the _Chesapeake_ was captured by the _Shannon_, three
American war-vessels, under Commodore Decatur--the _United States_,
the _Macedonian_, and the _Hornet_--were driven into the harbor of New
London, Conn., by a superior force of British ships, and so rigorously
was the blockade of the port kept up, that not one of the three got to
sea again during the war. At the same time the land defences, manned
by Connecticut militia, pre{205}vented the blockading squadron from
entering the harbor to attack them. Decatur made many attempts to get
out with his fleet, but was always frustrated by the vigilance of the
blockaders, which he believed was assisted by traitors on shore. He
declared that whenever he planned an escape, the enemy were warned of
his intention by blue lights burned at the mouth of the harbor; and from
this circumstance the opprobrious name of "Blue-Lights" was applied to
the Federal party, which had opposed the war. It is not unlikely that
something of this sort was done, either by traitors or by spies in the
employ of the blockaders; but that the Federal party of Connecticut
had anything to do with it is sufficiently refuted by the fact that the
Connecticut militia, largely Federalists, not only protected Decatur's
vessels when they might have permitted them to be captured, but rendered
some distinguished services before the war was over, especially in the
gallant defence of Stonington. Still the Federalists continued to oppose
the war, though in a hopeless minority as to the whole country, and,
like all parties out of power, sharply and unceasingly criticised the
Administration. Their criticisms, too, were sometimes based on pretty
strong facts, as, for instance, when they ridiculed the idea that it
was a war for sailors' rights, by quoting an {206}official circular to
collectors of customs which forbade them to grant protections to Negro
sailors. Even thus early were some of our politicians imbued with the
notion that the color of a man's skin must necessarily make a vast
difference with his rights under the government for which he paid taxes
and bore arms.

The freedom of the Massachusetts coast from blockade was a source of
irritation to the more southerly States; and when in December, 1813, the
President complained to Congress that supplies were furnished to British
cruisers, and other contraband trade was carried on through the ports of
the Bay State, Congress laid a new embargo on the exportation, either by
land or water, of any goods, produce, live stock, or specie. A similar
embargo bill had passed the House of Representatives in July, but was
then defeated in the Senate.

Up to the close of 1813, the English had captured from the Americans
seven vessels of war, mounting one hundred and nineteen guns. In the
same time, the Americans had captured from the English twenty-six
vessels of war, mounting five hundred and sixty guns.



CHAPTER XII. PRIVATEERS.

{207}

_Their Number and Importance--Jefferson's Opinion of them--A London
Journal's Prediction--Some of their Captures, and some of their
Battles--The Yankee's Laughable Exploit._


|In the naval operations of this, as of the preceding year, privateers
played an important part. A large number had been commissioned;
during the entire war, the whole number set afloat was two hundred
and fifty-one. Fifty-eight of these belonged in the port of Baltimore,
fifty-five in New York, forty in Salem, Mass., thirty-one in Boston,
fourteen in Philadelphia, eleven in Portsmouth, N. H., and ten in
Charleston, S. C.

These vessels were commonly small, or of moderate size, and were swift
sailers. They carried a few broadside guns; but the peculiar feature of
their armament was a long gun, generally an eighteen-pounder, mounted on
the deck and turning on a swivel, so that it could be instantly pointed
in any direction, no matter what might be the position of the vessel.
This gun was called Long Tom.

These privateers not only captured merchant {208}ships, but even fought
with the smaller naval ves sels of the enemy, and sometimes conquered
them. And they often had a double character, taking cargoes of
merchandise for distant ports and at the same time being ready to fight
on the way.

There was in 1812, as there has been since, more or less sentimental
objection to privateering, which had come down from the days when
privateers and pirates were the same. The argument in favor of the
system was set forth with great clearness by Thomas Jefferson, in an
article published about a month after the war began. He said:

"What is war? It is simply a contest between nations of trying which can
do the other the most harm. Who carries on the war? Armies are formed
and navies manned by individuals. How is a battle gained? By the death
of individuals. What produces peace? The distress of individuals.
What difference to the sufferer is it that his property is taken by a
national or private armed vessel? Did our merchants, who have lost
nine hundred, and seventeen vessels by British captures, feel any
gratification that the most of them were taken by his Majesty's
men-of-war? Were the spoils less rigidly exacted by a seventy-four-gun
ship than by a privateer of four guns? and were not all equally
condemned? War, whether on land or sea, is consti{209}tuted of acts
of violence on the persons and property of individuals; and excess of
violence is the grand cause that brings about a peace. One man fights
for wages paid him by the Government, or a patriotic zeal for the
defence of his country; another, duly authorized, and giving the proper
pledges for good conduct, undertakes to pay himself at the expense
of the foe, and serve his country as effectually as the former, and
Government, drawing all its supplies from the people, is in reality as
much affected by the losses of the one as the other, the efficacy of its
measures depending upon the energies and resources of the whole.

"In the United States, every possible encouragement should be given to
privateering in time of war with a commercial nation. We have tens of
thousands of seamen that without it would be destitute of the means of
support, and useless to their country. Our national ships are too few
to give employment to a twentieth part of them, or retaliate the acts of
the enemy. But by licensing private armed vessels, the whole naval force
of the nation is truly brought to bear on the foe; and while the contest
lasts, that it may have the speedier termination, let every individual
contribute his mite, in the best way he can, to distress and harass the
enemy and compel him to peace." {210}The truth is, privateering is
the most merciful part of war; for it damages the enemy by capturing
property rather than by destroying life, and in so doing it throws the
immediate burden upon the commercial community behind the armies,
who have to a large extent the power of making war and peace without
personal risk to themselves, and often exhibit a willingness to
sacrifice the lives of soldiers with the greatest freedom, so long
as their own property is secure. Show them that their property is not
secure in war, and you give them a strong motive for making peace.
In modern times, the men who are to risk their lives if war arises,
generally have little to say on the question whether there shall be a
war; while those who are to risk their ships and cargoes, often have a
determining voice. The greater that risk, the less the probability of
war.

When the great powers of Europe drew up and signed the Treaty of Paris
in 1856, they abolished privateering, so far as they were concerned. The
lesser powers of Europe, and some of those on this continent, accepted
the general invitation to join in the treaty. The United States
Government replied that it would join in it, provided a clause were
inserted to the effect that private property on the high seas, if not
contraband of war, should be ex{211}empt from seizure not only by
privateers but by the public armed vessels of an enemy. The great powers
that originally made the treaty refused to insert any such clause;
thereby confessing that their object was not to exempt private property
from the burdens and derangements of war, but merely to control the mode
of its seizure, and to secure for themselves with their large navies an
advantage over nations that in time of peace have small navies or none
at all. So the United States retains to this day her right to send out
privateers if she becomes involved in war with any maritime people.

One at least of the London journals, the _Statesman_, foresaw the danger
from privateers in 1812. When war was threatened, it said: "America
cannot certainly pretend to wage a maritime war with us. She has no navy
to do it with. But America has nearly a hundred thousand as good seamen
as any in the world, all of whom would be actively employed against our
trade on every part of the ocean, in their fast-sailing ships of war,
many of which will be able to cope with our small cruisers; and they
will be found to be sweeping the West India seas, and even carrying
desolation into the chops of the Channel."

All this, and more, the two hundred and fifty privateers accomplished.
They cruised in every sea, {212}and wrought such havoc with British
commerce as had never been known before. Coggeshall's history of the
service enumerates about fifteen hundred prizes taken by them in the
two and a half years of war, and these were not all of the captures by
privateers alone; while the government war-vessels, in their cruises,
added considerably to the number.

The fortunes of the privateers were of the most varied kind. Some
of them made long cruises without falling in with a single British
merchantman of which they could make a prize. Others took enough to
enrich every man of the crew. The _Surprise_, of Baltimore, took twenty
in a single month. The _True-Blooded Yankee_ was one of the most daring
and most fortunate. On one cruise she took twenty-seven prizes in
thirty-seven days. On the same cruise she captured a small island on the
coast of Ireland, and held possession of it for six days. She also
took a small seaport town of Scotland, and burned seven vessels in the
harbor. A partial list of the spoils with which she was laden when she
arrived in a French port, will give some idea of the business. She
had eighteen bales of Turkish carpets, forty-three bales of raw silk,
weighing six tons, twenty boxes of gums, twenty-four packs of beaver
skins, one hundred and sixty dozen swan skins, forty-six packs of
other skins, a hundred and {213}ninety hides, a quantity of copper, and
various other articles.

The _York_, of Baltimore, after cruising on the coast of Brazil and
through the West Indies, returned home with prizes valued at $1,500,000.

The _Snapdragon_, of Newbern, N. C., captured a brig with a cargo,
mainly dry goods, worth half a million dollars, and got safely into port
with her.

The _Saucy Jack_, of Charleston, took the ship _Mentor_, with a cargo
valued at $300,000, and sent her into New Orleans; and a short time
afterward the same privateer took a brig with $60,000 worth of dry
goods.

The _Yankee_, in a cruise of a hundred and fifty days, scoured the
whole western coast of Africa, taking eight prizes, and came home with
thirty-two bales of fine goods, six tons of ivory, and $40,000 in gold
dust; all together worth nearly $300,000.

The _Leo_, of Baltimore, captured an East India-man worth two and a half
million dollars, which was recaptured by an English sloop-of-war, though
not till the Leo had taken off $60,000 in bullion.

The _Governor Tompkins_, of New York, near the Madeira Islands captured
the _Nereid_, with an assorted cargo valued at $375,000.

The _St. Lawrence_, with a cargo valued at over $300,000, was captured
and sent into Portsmouth, {214}N. H., where she was proved to be an
English vessel, and condemned, though she had professed to be American.

Perhaps the most valuable single prize taken in the war was the _Queen_,
captured by the _General Armstrong_, of New York. She carried sixteen
guns, and was not taken without a stubborn fight, in which her captain,
first lieutenant, and nine men were killed. She was valued at nearly
$500,000, but on her way into port was wrecked off Nantucket.

One prize contained wine and raisins valued at $75,000; another, $70,000
worth of cotton; another, $20,000 worth of indigo; another, seven
hundred tons of mahogany; another $70,000 worth of rum and sugar;
another, $150,000 worth of gums, almonds, and beeswax; another, $23,000
in specie, and still another, $80,000 in specie.

All this looks very much like robbery, and in truth it was robbery,
unless the war, on the part of the Americans, was justifiable. But it is
certainly more humane to conquer the enemy by robbing his merchants than
by killing his men; and there can be no question that the exploits
of these privateers did more to bring the war between England and the
United States to an end, and prevent another one, than drawn battles,
however gallantly fought, and futile expeditions against Canada.
{215}But the exploits of the privateers did not consist solely in
plundering unarmed merchantmen. They were often pursued and attacked by
British men-of-war, and some of the English packet-ships carried heavy
guns, and would not surrender without a desperate fight.

The privateer schooner _Governor Tompkins_, a few days after the capture
of the Nereid in December, 1812, gave chase to what appeared to be a
large merchantman. But she proved to be a frigate in disguise, and a
sudden squall sent the schooner under her guns before she could change
her course. The frigate opened fire at once, and her first broadside
killed two men and wounded six. It also blew up a box of cartridges and
set fire to some pistols and tube-boxes in the companion-way, all of
which exploded and went flying in every direction. The schooner's little
battery returned the fire, but her principal exertions were to get out
of the way of her powerful antagonist. A chase of two hours ensued,
during most of which time the vessels were within gunshot and the firing
was kept up. The _Tompkins_ threw overboard all the lumber from the
deck, and two thousand pounds of shot, and got out her sweeps, and so
escaped. Her captain, Nathaniel Shaler, said in a letter describing the
action: "The name of one of my poor fellows who {216}was killed ought to
be registered on the book of fame, and remembered with reverence as long
as bravery is considered a virtue. He was a black man, by the name of
John Johnson. A twenty-four-pound shot struck him in the hip, and took
away all the lower part of his body. In this state the poor, brave
fellow lay on the deck and several times exclaimed to his shipmates,
'Fire away, boys! neber haul de color down!' The other was also a black
man, by the name of John Davis, and was struck in much the same way. He
fell near me, and several times requested to be thrown overboard, saying
he was only in the way of the others."

Captain Boyle, in the privateer _Comet_, of Baltimore, made a remarkable
cruise, early in 1813, on the coast of Brazil and in the West Indies.
On the 14th of January he overhauled a Portuguese brig-of-war which
was convoying three English merchantmen--a ship and two brigs--from
Pernambuco. Boyle informed the captain that he had no right to do
anything of the sort, and that he should proceed to make prizes of them.
As the man-of-war insisted on protecting them, there was a fight--one
vessel against four, for the merchantmen were heavily armed. It began at
half past eight o'clock in the evening, and was carried on by moonlight.
Every vessel had on a crowd of canvas. The _Comet_ {217}ran alongside
the ship and one of the brigs, and opened her broadside upon both of
them. The man-of-war then fired grape and round shot into the _Comet_,
which returned the compliment, but stuck close to the merchantmen. They
frequently separated, to give the man-of-war a chance at the privateer,
when the privateer would pour a whole broadside into them, and then
turn his attention to the larger antagonist. An hour after midnight,
the ship, which had been badly cut to pieces and len-dered unmanageable,
struck her flag; and soon afterward the two brigs, which had been
almost as badly damaged, surrendered. All this while the man-of-war was
hovering near and exchanging occasional broadsides with the _Comet_,
till the moon set, and it became dark and squally. One of the brigs had
been taken possession of by Boyle; the other and the ship, assisted by
the man-of-war, escaped him and made their way back to Pernambuco.
On the man-of-war the first lieutenant and five men were killed, and
several wounded, the captain mortally.

On the 25th of the same month, the privateer _Dolphin_, Captain W. S.
Stafford, cruising off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, fell in with a
large ship and a brig, and fought them both. The privateer carried ten
guns, the ship sixteen, and the {218}brig ten. After a spirited action,
in which the _Dolphin_ lost four men, she captured both of them, and
sent them home to Baltimore. The same privateer, in November, was
attacked just outside of Charleston harbor by five boats from an English
man-of-war. Captain Stafford tore one of the boats to pieces by a
discharge of grape-shot, and as the other boats had employment enough
in saving their unfortunate comrades, the attack failed. The man-of-war
then fired a broadside at the _Dolphin_ and sailed away.

The privateer _Lottery_, Captain Southcomb, while at anchor in
Chesapeake Bay, February 15th, was captured by nine British barges, in
which were two hundred and forty men; but not till after a fight of
an hour and a half, in which the six guns of the _Lottery_ had made
sickening havoc with the men in the crowded barges. Captain Southcomb
was badly wounded.

On the 11th of March the privateer _General Armstrong,_ Captain Guy R.
Champlin, of New York, encountered, off Surinam, what she supposed to
be an English privateer. The _Armstrong_ bore down upon her, fired the
starboard broadside, wore ship and gave her the larboard broadside, and
was then about to attempt boarding, but found out that the enemy was
a frigate, carrying twenty-four guns. The bat{219}tle lasted three
quarters of an hour, when the _Armstrong_ succeeded in getting away.
Captain Champ-lin, badly wounded, lay on the cabin floor, directly over
the magazine, with a pistol in his hand, when he overheard some talk
about striking the colors. He immediately ordered the surgeon to go
on deck and tell the men that if any one of them dared to strike the
colors, he would discharge his pistol into the magazine and blow them
all up together. In his log-book he wrote: "In this action we had six
men killed and sixteen wounded, and all the halyards of the headsails
shot away; the fore-mast and bowsprit one quarter cut through, and all
the fore and main shrouds but one shot away; both mainstays and running
rigging cut to pieces; a great number of shot through our sails, and
several between wind and water, which caused our vessel to leak. There
were also a number of shot in our hull."

The privateer _Young Teazer_ met a singular fate. In June she was chased
by a British man-of-war. Her lieutenant had been once captured, and
released on parole, and had gone into the service again without waiting
to be exchanged. When he saw a probability of another capture, he seized
a firebrand and ran into the cabin, and in another moment the vessel was
blown to fragments, and {220}every man on board perished, except seven
sailors who were standing on the forecastle.

The privateer _Wasp_, carrying two guns, had a battle of nine hours'
duration, on the 31st of July, with the British war-schooner _Bream_,
of ten guns. For the last forty-five minutes the action was at close
quarters, and the _Wasp_ then surrendered.

In August the privateer _Decatur_, carrying seven guns, Captain
Dominique Diron, was cruising in the track of West India traders, when
on the 5th she encountered the English war-schooner _Dominica_, of
sixteen guns, and after a bloody battle captured her. It was at first
a running fight, the _Dominica_ firing frequent broadsides, and the
_Decatur_ answering with her Long Tom and volleys of musketry. After
several futile attempts to board, Captain Diron succeeded in forcing his
bowsprit over the enemy's stern, and sending the jib-boom through her
mainsail. The next moment, while a part of his crew kept up the musketry
fire, the remainder rushed on board the _Dominica_, and a hand-to-hand
slaughter at once began. Men were cut down with swords, and shot with
pistols, till the deck was covered with the dead and wounded. The
English crew did not surrender till their captain, G. W. Barrette, was
killed, all the other officers except the surgeon and one midshipman
either killed or wounded, and {221}altogether sixty men disabled. Of the
_Decatur's_ men, five were killed and fifteen wounded.

The _Globe_ privateer had a desperate fight, on the 3d of November, with
two heavily armed packet brigs. Broadside after broadside was exchanged
at the distance of a few yards, and the brigs were compelled to strike.
But when the _Globe_ hauled alongside to take possession of one of them,
she raised her colors again and fired a broadside; after which both
brigs sailed slowly away, while the Globe, which had lost twenty-three
men, was too badly crippled to follow.

The privateer _Saratoga_, of four guns, captured the English mail packet
_Morgiana_, which carried eighteen guns, by boarding. There was an
obstinate defence, and two of the packet's men were killed and five
wounded, while the _Saratoga_ lost three killed and seven wounded.
During the fight the mail was thrown overboard.

Near the Canary Islands a British sloop-of-war decoyed the privateer
_Grampus_ under her guns, and then suddenly opened her ports and gave
her a whole broadside at half pistol-shot. This discharge killed the
captain and one man and wounded several others, and damaged the rigging
badly, so that: the Grampus escaped with difficulty.

On Monday, the 5th of July, the _Yankee_, a fishing{222}smack, was
fitted out in New York harbor to capture by stratagem the British
sloop-of-war _Eagle_. A calf, a sheep, a goose, and three fishermen were
placed conspicuously on the deck, while below were concealed forty men
armed with muskets. She then sailed down the bay. The _Eagle_ overhauled
her, and ordered her to report to the Commodore. Suddenly, at the signal
word "Lawrence," the forty men appeared, levelled their muskets across
the deck of the _Eagle_, and with one volley killed three of her men and
drove the others below. She struck without firing a gun, and as she
was taken up the harbor she was greeted by the cheers of a multitude of
people who were on the Battery, celebrating Independence day.

While an American fishing-smack was thus capturing a British
sloop-of-war in the harbor of New York, on the other side of the ocean
the London _Evening Star_ was just saying: "The American navy must
be annihilated; her arsenals and dockyards consumed. The American
merchant-vessels ought perhaps to be permitted to arm against the
pirates of the Mediterranean or the Ladrones of China; but, like certain
places of entertainment in England, they ought to be compelled to
exhibit in large letters, on their main-sails, _Licensed to carry guns,
pursuant to a British act of Parliament._"



CHAPTER XIII. PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.--CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE CREEKS.

{223}

_Condition of Affairs at the Opening of the Third Year--Congressional
Appropriations--Russian Offers of Mediation--Jackson's
Preparations--Battles of Emucfau, Enotachopco, and Horseshoe Bend._


|At the beginning of the third year of the war the prospects of the
Americans were more discouraging than at any previous period. The
European wars had come to an end for the time, Napoleon having been
overthrown at Leipsic, and Great Britain, with an immense navy and an
abundance of veteran troops, was at liberty to turn her entire attention
upon the enemy across the Atlantic. Indeed, her fleet on our coast had
been gradually increasing for several months, and Admirals Warren and
Cockburn had shown a determination not to confine their operations to
combats of vessel with vessel, but wherever practicable to send a force
ashore to harass the people, burn their homes, and carry off their
movable property. Harrison's victory was almost the only achievement
of the American land forces worth mentioning. The little navy was as
gallant as ever, and had suffered no defeat in {224}anything like an
equal fight, except in the case of the _Chesapeake_; but now it seemed
likely to be overwhelmed by a power that could send against it a
thousand war-ships. Two powerful ones had already been sent for the
special purpose of capturing one of our cruisers, the _Essex_, with
orders to follow her wherever she went, and take her at all hazards. The
operations of the privateers had struck the English nation in its most
tender spot, the pocket, and roused it to a furious determination for
vengeance; while the London journals were boldly talking of schemes for
using the opportunity to cut off various slices of our territory.

Though the Federal party had declined in popular strength, its leaders
in Congress opposed the war as bitterly as ever; but after considerable
debate an act was passed to increase the regular army to sixty thousand
men, enlisted for five years. A bounty of a hundred and twenty-four
dollars was voted for recruits, and eight dollars to each man who
brought in one. Seven hundred men were added to the Marine Corps, half
a million dollars appropriated for a floating battery, and a hundred
dollars offered for every prisoner brought home by a privateer. There
was a surplus of a million dollars in the treasury, and five millions
were yet to be paid in from loans, while the revenue for the ensuing
year was estimated {225}at ten millions. The expenditures were
estimated at forty-five millions, and Congress authorized a new loan of
twenty-five millions, and a reissue of ten millions in treasury notes.

The Russian Government offered its friendly offices as a mediator for
peace, three times in the course of the war; but each time the offer
was rejected by England. Once--in March, 1813--the offer was formally
accepted on the part of the United States, and Albert Gallatin and
James A. Bayard, who believed the English Government would accept it as
readily, sailed for St. Petersburg, to join John Quincy Adams, American
Minister at the Russian Court, in negotiating the peace. The London
_Courier_ probably spoke the sentiments of a large part of the British
public when it said:

"We hope the Russian mediation will be refused. Indeed, we are sure it
will. We have a love for our naval preeminence that cannot bear to have
it even touched by a foreign hand. Russia can be hardly supposed to be
adverse to the principle of armed neutrality, and that idea alone would
be sufficient to make us decline the offer. We must take our stand,
never to commit our naval rights to the mediation of any power. This
is the flag we must nail to the national mast, and go down rather than
strike it. The hour of concession {226}and compromise is past. Peace
must be the consequence of punishment to America; and retraction of her
insolent demands must precede negotiation. The thunder of our cannon
must first strike terror into the American shores, and Great Britain
must be seen and felt in all the majesty of her might, from Boston to
Savannah, from the lakes of Canada to the mouths of the Mississippi."

The English Government declined the offer of mediation, as before, but
expressed a willingness to nominate plenipotentiaries to make direct
negotiations with the American commissioners, suggesting that the
conference be held in London, unless the Americans preferred Gottenburg,
Sweden. This answer was made in September, 1813, and reached the
United States Government in official form in November. The President
communicated it to Congress early in January, 1814, and the proposition
was accepted; Gottenburg being chosen as the place, and Henry Clay and
Jonathan Russell being added to Messrs. Adams, Bayard, and Gallatin
as commissioners. Their instructions were, to insist on an absolute
discontinuance of the practice of search and impressment, and to offer,
in consideration of this, an agreement to exclude British seamen from
American vessels, and to surrender deserters.

But the best way to secure an honorable peace-{227}and indeed it will
be the only way, until the millennium--is by exhibiting an ability
to prosecute successful war. With the new appropriations, the
Administration, while sending its peace commissioners abroad, prepared
for more vigorous war within our own borders.

After a great deal of trouble with troops who believed their terms
of service had expired, and who finally marched home in spite of all
arguments and protests, Jackson, who had been made a major-general,
found himself at Fort Strother in January, 1814, with nine hundred
raw recruits and a few dozen men who had participated in his autumn
campaign. With these and two hundred Indians he set out on a raid into
the country of the Creeks.

On the 22d, near Emucfau, on Tallapoosa River, he was attacked by a
large force, who made a feint on his right and then fell heavily upon
his left. The General had anticipated this plan, and strengthened his
left, so that after a stubborn fight the enemy were routed and pursued
for three miles.

Two days later, on the return march, the troops were in the act of
crossing Enotachopco Creek, when the Indians attacked again. After a
few shots, the rear guard retreated in disorder, leaving not more than
a hundred men to face the enemy; but these, by determined bravery,
and especially {228}by skilful use of a six-pounder with grape-shot,
defeated the savages, and pursued them for two miles. Jackson himself
acted as gunner. He lost in this raid about a hundred men.

In February, Jackson had a new army of five thousand men, including a
regiment of United States regulars, in which Sam Houston was an ensign.
The only difficulty now was with supplies; but this was enormous. The
distance from Fort Deposit to Fort Strother was only forty miles,
but the roads were so bad that a wagon-train required seven days to
accomplish it, though there was a horse to every barrel of flour in
the load. Nearly sixty miles southeast of Fort Strother, and the same
distance northeast of Montgomery, is Horseshoe Bend in the Tallapoosa,
enclosing a peninsula of one hundred acres, which is less than five
hundred feet wide at the neck. Here the Creek warriors, to the number
of a thousand, had encamped and fortified themselves, when Jackson, with
nearly three thousand men, was marching against them, for the avowed
purpose of extermination. The Americans reached the place on the morning
of March 27th, and Jackson sent General Coffee with the mounted men and
Indians to cross the stream two miles be low, countermarch, and take
position on the bank in rear of the village. When he received the signal
{229}of their arrival, he moved forward with his main force, and planted
two field-pieces to play upon the breastwork of logs and earth which
crossed the neck of the peninsula. But a two hours' cannonade produced
no effect upon it. Coffee and his Indians now crossed the river, set
fire to the village, and attacked the enemy in the rear. As Jackson saw
by the rising smoke what had been done, he stormed the breastwork in
front, and for a little while there was desperate hand-to-hand fighting
through the loop-holes. Then the troops, following the example of Major
L. P. Montgomery and Ensign Houston, mounted the works, leapt down among
the enemy, and plied the bayonet right and left till the Indians broke
and fled. They neither asked for quarter nor received it. Whether they
hid themselves in the thickets or attempted to swim the stream, they
were hotly pursued, hunted out, and mercilessly shot. A portion found
shelter under the bank, where felled timber and a rude breastwork
protected them. Jackson summoned them to surrender, promising to
spare their lives; but they shot his messenger. After he had failed
to dislodge them either by an artillery fire or a storming party, his
troops set fire to the timber, and shot the Indians as they were
driven out by the flames. At the close of that day, five hundred and
fifty-seven {230}of the Creeks lay dead on the peninsula. It is believed
that not more than two hundred escaped. One chief, Manowa, saved himself
after he had been badly wounded, by plunging into the water, holding
himself under by grasping a root, and breathing through a reed that
reached from his mouth to the surface. After nightfall he rose, swam the
stream, and stole away.

Jackson lost one hundred and thirty-one white soldiers and fifty-four
Cherokees. Major Montgomery was killed, and Ensign Houston was wounded.

The savagery of this warfare is explained by the fact that the Creeks
were not fighting for any cause of their own, real or pretended, but
only as mercenaries of the English. In a letter written at this time,
Jackson said: "While we fight the savage, who makes war only because he
delights in blood, and who has gotten his booty when he has scalped
his victim, we are, through him, contending against an enemy of more
inveterate character and deeper design. So far as my exertions can
contribute, the purposes, both of the savage and his instigator, shall
be defeated."

By these battles, the power of the Creeks was completely broken. Jackson
compelled the remnant of the tribe to move north, and that summer they
were fed by the Government.



CHAPTER XIV. BROWN'S CAMPAIGN ON THE NIAGARA.

{231}

_The March to Buffalo--Capture of Fort Erie--Battle of Chippewa--Brown's
Plans--Battle of Lundy's Lane--Siege of Fort Erie by the British._


|Colonel Winfield Scott, who after the failure of Wilkinson's expedition
had spent a large part of the winter at Albany, arranging with Governor
Tompkins the plans for the opening year, was made a brigadier-general in
March, and with General Brown put the army at Plattsburg in motion for
the Niagara frontier. Brown soon went to Sackett's Harbor, leaving Scott
to conduct the long march alone. After passing Utica, the route lay
largely through a wilderness. Where now stands Rochester, a city of a
hundred thousand inhabitants, there was then but a single log house,
and the scenery about the Genesee Falls, now closely hemmed in with tall
buildings, was picturesque with forests and lively with rattlesnakes.

The army that assembled at Buffalo consisted of Scott's and Ripley's
brigades of regulars, Porter's brigade of militia, and Hindman's
battalion of reg{232}ular artillery. A camp of instruction was formed
at once, the modern French system being adopted, and for three
months drilling went on every day with the most rigid regularity. The
commanding General drilled the officers in squads, and they in turn
drilled the men; after which came company and battalion drills, and
finally evolutions in line. It is said that Scott had but a single copy
of the French work on tactics, on which all his instruction was based,
and this had to be explained to the officers individually, most of whom
were not able to read French.

Late in June, General Brown reached Buffalo, and a campaign across the
river was planned at once. Early in the morning of July 3d the troops
of Scott and Hindman crossed the Niagara from Black Rock, landing below
Fort Erie, while Ripley's crossed a little later and landed above the
fort. The work was invested, and after the exchange of a few shots,
by which four Americans and one man of the garrison were killed, it
surrendered. A hundred and seventy men were made prisoners and sent
across the river.

The main body of the British forces, commanded by General Riall, was at
Chippewa, on the bank of the Niagara just above the great falls,
about sixteen miles below Fort Erie. A detachment, com{233}manded
by Lieutenant-Colonel Pearson, had been thrown forward as a corps of
observation nearly to the fort.

On the 4th of July the Americans marched on Chippewa. Scott's brigade,
starting in the morning, led the van, and had a running fight the whole
sixteen miles with Pearson's detachment. That officer afterward remarked
that he was surprised at the vigor of the pursuit, and could not account
for it till he remembered what day it was. When they arrived at Chippewa
River, it was nightfall, and Pearson crossed it and joined Riall. Scott
rested or the night on the south bank of Street's Creek, which is two
miles south of the Chippewa. These two streams flow by nearly parallel
courses into the Niagara, and on the plain between them the battle of
Chippewa was fought next day, July 5th. Near the bank of the Niagara ran
the high road. About a mile west of it was a heavy wood.

The corps of observation pursued by Scott had destroyed the bridges over
the small streams as it retreated; and it was assumed by General Brown
that when he approached the Chippewa, the bridge over that stream would
also be destroyed. He therefore delayed his attack while materials for a
new bridge were prepared, so that when pursuit was begun it might not
be interrupted. But General {234}Riall, as it proved, so far from
contemplating retreat, determined to assume the offensive himself.

Early in the day, skirmishing began along the edge of the wood on the
left, by the light troops and Indians. This at last became so annoying
to the American pickets, that Porter's militia and the Indians under Red
Jacket were moved through the woods still farther to the left, to flank
the enemy's skirmishers. Scouts carried intelligence of this movement
to Riall, and Porter's force, which began the action in good order,
was soon charged by a heavy column of British regulars, before which it
broke and fled.

General Brown, who had been at the front watching this movement, seeing
a great cloud of dust on the left of the British lines, rode in that
direction and found that Riall was pushing forward his whole force. Then
he rode straight for the American rear, to hasten up Ripley's troops,
who were considerably behind those of Scott. Soon after he had crossed
the bridge over Street's Creek, he met Scott, who was marching over for
a dress parade on the plain. "The enemy is advancing. You will have a
fight," said Brown to Scott as he passed him.

The British were already deployed in the plain, but hidden from Scott by
a fringe of foliage along the creek. "Nothing but Buffalo militia!" said
{235}Riall, as the American column came in sight, and opened his guns
upon it. But when he saw them pass the bridge without wavering under a
heavy fire, and deploy in order of battle, he changed his mind. "Why,
these are regulars!" he exclaimed.

Towson's battery, of three guns, included in Scott's command, was
planted on the high road, and the British artillery, nine pieces, had
a similar position some distance to the north. Of Scott's three
battalions. Major Jesup's was thrown out on the left, Major McNeil's
had the centre, and Major Leavenworth's the right. The firing along the
lines began at once. Seeing that by the retreat of Porter his force was
likely to be flanked on the left, Scott ordered Jesup to move obliquely
in that direction, and attack the extreme right of the enemy in the
woods, which order Jesup's men executed, under fire, with precision and
success.

The British right wing, in conflict with Jesup, became detached from the
main body, whose right was thereby left exposed. Scott instantly saw his
advantage and profited by it. He ordered McNeil's battalion to charge
obliquely upon the broken right of the main body of the enemy, and
Leavenworth's at the same time to charge obliquely upon its left; the
two battalions moving as if to unite at a point behind the British
line. When this move{236}ment was made, the opposing lines were
within eighty paces of each other, and the firing had all the time
been increasing in rapidity and destructiveness. Two guns of Towson's
battery--for one had been dismounted by a shot from the enemy's
--wheeled into a position from which they could pour grape and canister
through the British ranks, and their last discharge before the infantry
crossed bayonets was an enfilading fire that wrought dreadful havoc.

Thus decimated by the artillery, the enemy's line soon crumbled
and broke into a disorderly retreat before the steady charge of the
infantry. About the same time Jesup repelled a heavy charge by a counter
charge, and the entire body of Riall's forces fled with all haste across
the Chippewa, Scott's men following closely and securing some prisoners.

It was a clean victory, gained by hard fighting and skilful manoeuvring;
and as the battle took place in a plain where there was scarcely
any cover of any kind for the troops on either side, the losses were
exceedingly heavy. Just how many men were actually engaged, is a matter
of dispute. But on the side of the Americans the number appears not to
have been over nineteen hundred, Porter's troops going out of the action
before it was fairly begun, and Ripley's not arriving in time to take
any part. {237}The number of Riall's troops in the fight appears to have
been about twenty-one hundred. The loss of the Americans, in killed,
wounded, and missing, was three hundred and twenty-seven; that of the
British, five hundred and three. These are the figures of the official
reports, which exclude the Indians.

Riall did not tarry long to hold his position on the Chippewa. He soon
sent a portion of his troops to the forts on the lower Niagara, while
with the remainder he retreated to Burlington Heights. His Indian
allies, eighty-seven of whom had been killed, while they had not taken a
single scalp, all deserted him in disgust.

This first battle of the new campaign on the Niagara was a great
inspiration to the American people, showing them that American soldiers,
if properly drilled and handled, could face and defeat the best troops
of the British army; for those under Riall at Chippewa were some of the
crack regiments--the Royal Scots, the King's, and the Hundredth. An
English writer said: "We have now got an enemy who fights as bravely as
ourselves. For some time the Americans cut no figure on land. They
have now proved to us that they only wanted time to acquire a little
discipline. They have now proved to us what they are made of, and they
are {238}the same sort of men as those who captured whole armies under
Burgoyne and Cornwallis; that they are neither to be frightened nor
silenced; and that if we should beat them at last, we cannot expect to
do it without expending three or four hundred millions of money, keeping
up all our present taxes, and adding to their amount, or imposing new
taxes. These are the natural consequences of battles such as that of
Chippewa."

Two days after the battle, the Americans crossed Chippewa River, and
marched on Fort George. On the way, Colonel Stone, of the New York
militia, burned the village of St. Davids, for which he was promptly
court-martialled and dismissed from the service. Fort George was
invested, and then General Brown sent to Sackett's Harbor to procure
heavy guns for its reduction. But Commodore Chauncey was ill, and it
seems not to have occurred to him that any other officer could command
the fleet for their transportation. So Brown, unable to procure siege
guns, abandoned the siege, and marched back to Queenstown, whence
he sent his sick across the river, and then prepared for an active
campaign.

His idea was, to move against Burlington Heights and capture them, then
continue his march along the northern shore of the lake and capture
York, {239}and thence, still following the lake shore, march on
Kingston. But for the execution of this plan he relied upon the
cooperation of Chauncey's fleet, and that he soon found he was not
likely to have.

On the 24th of July he continued his retreat to Chippewa, with the
hope of drawing out Riall. In the afternoon of the 25th he received
information that the enemy had thrown a thousand men across the Niagara,
from Queenstown to Lewiston. Supposing they intended to capture the
magazine at Schlosser and intercept supplies coming from Buffalo,
General Brown determined to draw them back if possible by again
threatening the forts at the mouth of the river. With this purpose, he
at once sent forward General Scott with thirteen hundred men, consisting
of the battalions of Colonel Brady and Majors Jesup, Leavenworth, and
McNeil, Tow-son's artillery, and a detachment of cavalry under Captain
Harris.

This force, starting about five o'clock in the afternoon, marched down
the road to the Falls. As they approached the house of a widow Wilson,
near Table Rock, several British officers were seen to come out, mount
hastily, and ride away, but not till they had reconnoitred, through
their field-glasses, the American column. The widow informed Scott that
the officers were Riall and his {240}staff, and that the enemy's advance
consisted of eight hundred regulars and three hundred militia, with two
pieces of artillery; the truth being that the force had nearly twice
that strength.

Scott pressed forward eagerly, throwing out a part of his men to the
left, and sent back word to General Brown that the enemy was in front.
As the Americans emerged into a cleared field, they suddenly found
themselves confronted by the British line, eighteen hundred strong,
which was drawn up in Lundy's Lane, a road that starts from a point near
the great Falls and runs westward. In the centre of the enemy's line
was a battery of nine pieces, which occupied a rounded hillock of gentle
slope just high enough to give it command of the entire field. Scott saw
at once that he was in presence of a greatly superior force; but retreat
was almost impossible, and he judged it best to attack boldly, and trust
to Brown for prompt reenforcement. As the Americans deployed in line of
battle, the hostile forces were not more than a hundred and fifty paces
apart, and firing began at once. The sun was now less than an hour high.

Towson's three guns made a gallant fight, but could effect little
against the nine guns of the enemy, which were served rapidly and
skilfully. The British left was east of the road that skirted {241}the
river, and was separated from the rest of the line by a space of two
hundred yards, which was filled with brushwood. Jesup's and Brady's
commands, partly hidden by this brushwood in the twilight, attacked the
detached wing, and after considerable fighting forced it back upon the
centre, capturing General Riall and several officers of his staff, after
which Jesup and Brady resumed their place in the line. At the same time,
the British right wing, which was longer than the American left, was
thrown forward in an attempt to envelop it. To meet this danger, Scott
sent McNeil's battalion against it, and after severe fighting, with
heavy losses, the enemy's flanking movement was frustrated.

Both the messenger sent back by Scott and the sound of the guns
announced to General Brown what was going on, and he ordered Ripley's
brigade and Porter's volunteers to advance and join in the action. At
the report of the first gun, Ripley had put his men in marching order,
and when the word came to move they moved without a minute's delay.
General Brown rode before them to the battle-field, and by the time
of their arrival it was dark. About the same time, the enemy also was
reënforced.

Ripley's brigade formed on Scott's right, and joined in the battle,
which had not in the least {242}abated at the departure of daylight. He
soon saw that the strength of the enemy lay in the destructive battery
that crowned the hill in the centre, and called upon Colonel James
Miller, of the Twenty-first Regiment, to take it. "I'll try, Sir,"
was the now famous answer of Miller, who at once put his men in motion
toward the battery. They crept silently up to a fence at the foot of the
slope, put their muskets softly through it, took deliberate aim at the
gunners, who had lighted matches in their hands, and at a whispered
command fired in volley, shooting down every one of them. Miller's men
then rose, pushed the fence flat upon the ground, rushed forward,
and cleared the hill of the enemy. Meanwhile Scott's men, obstinately
holding their first position, had kept on steadily firing, receiving as
constant a fire in return, and both inflicted and suffered heavy loss.
McNeil's battalion, having lost its commander and every one of its
captains, and fired away all its ammunition, retired from the field; and
a little later, Colonel Brady being disabled, his regiment also retired
for a similar reason. But a considerable number of the men of these two
commands joined themselves to the regiments that still stood firm, and
reentered the fight.

After Miller's capture of the battery, the American line was re-formed,
nearly at right angles to its {243}former position, facing west, and
advanced so as to hold the ground occupied by the battery. The enemy
also formed a new line, and for two hours made the most desperate
efforts to re-take the guns. There was constant firing, aim being taken
by the flashes along the opposing lines, and more than once the bayonets
were crossed in bloody hand-to-hand work in the darkness. It is said
that at one time the continuous blaze of the cannon and small arms made
that part of the field almost as light as day. During the struggle, both
parties were reenforced by fresh troops, but Ripley's men firmly held
the ground, repelling every attack, till the enemy gave it up and
retired.

General Brown and General Scott were both wounded, and the command
devolved upon General Ripley, who, an hour after the enemy had retired,
withdrew the entire American force from the field, carrying off
the wounded, and before morning was in camp at Chippewa. As all the
artillery horses had been killed, the guns for which so costly a
struggle had been made were left where they stood, and of course they
fell into the hands of the enemy when he returned next morning and
encamped on the deserted battle-ground. The principal reason why the
Americans abandoned the field was, the want of water. {244}The whole
number of Americans engaged in this battle was about two thousand six
hundred; the whole number of British, about four thousand five hundred.
The American loss was one hundred and seventy-four killed, five hundred
and sixty-five wounded, and one hundred and five missing--almost one
third of the entire force. Among the killed or mortally wounded were
Colonel Brady and Majors Leavenworth, McNeil, and McFarland. The British
loss was eighty-four killed, five hundred and fifty-seven wounded, and
two hundred and thirty-five missing or prisoners. The action has been
called the Battle of Niagara, and the Battle of Bridgewater, but the
most commonly accepted name is Battle of Lundy's Lane.

Ripley soon afterward destroyed the bridge over the Chippewa, and
retired toward Buffalo. By Brown's orders, the troops were thrown into
Fort Erie, where they were reenforced, and General Ripley was superseded
by General Edmund P. Gaines.

As soon as he was able to move, General Drummond, who had succeeded to
the command of the British forces, marched on Fort Erie. A detachment
which he sent across the river to attack Buffalo was met and defeated at
Black Rock, but a party in boats captured two of Perry's vessels which
were moored under the guns of the fort. {245}At midnight on the 14th of
August, the enemy, who had been busy for two weeks planting batteries
and occasionally bombarding the works, attempted to carry them by storm.
The Americans were expecting the attack, and the preparations for making
it were not more careful and elaborate than those for receiving it. The
flints were withdrawn from the British muskets, both to insure silence
in the approach and because General Drummond had issued a secret order
in which he "strongly recommended a free use of the bayonet," and after
dark a great number of scaling-ladders were carried forward and placed
in convenient positions. The Americans had their guns charged with grape
and canister, dark lanterns burning, and every musket at hand and ready
for immediate use. At one battery, for lack of canister, bags were made
of tent-cloth, filled with musket-balls, and loaded into the guns.

The storming party was in three columns. That which assaulted the
American left, where Towson's battery was placed, marched up in the face
of a continuous blaze of artillery and musketry, and, in spite of the
storm of shot that rolled through it, tried to scale the defences, and
actually crossed bayonets with the defenders. But in vain. Four such
assaults were made by this column, and all were {246}bloodily repelled.
The rapidity with which the guns of the American battery were served,
making an almost constant flash, gave it the name of "Tow-son's
lighthouse."

On the right of the American works a similar assault was made at the
same time by another column, which was met in a similar way. Major
Douglass filled his guns to the muzzle with the bags of musket-balls,
and though his cannoneers could not distinctly see their enemies, they
were so familiar with the contour of the ground in front that they knew
how to sweep it as effectively as if it had been broad daylight. Here
also the attack failed.

The central column was a little more successful. The assailants dashed
forward with their scaling-ladders, and mounted the parapet of the main
fort, but were met at the edge by the Americans, who in a bloody fight
hand-to-hand hurled them back. Three times this was repeated, with the
same result. The column then moved silently around to another point, put
up the ladders again, and mounted so quickly as to get a foothold within
the bastion before the Americans could rally in sufficient force at the
new point of attack to prevent them. Their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel
Drummond, was at their head, and repeatedly called out to his men to
"give the Yankees no quarter." Troops were {247}rapidly drawn to this
point from other parts of the fort, and here the bloodiest work of the
night was done. The highest officers present mingled personally in the
fray. Lieutenant McDonough, an American, being badly wounded, asked for
quarter, which Drummond refused, at the same time repeating his order to
his men to refuse it in all cases. McDonough roused himself for one more
effort, seized a handspike, and kept several assailants at bay, till
Drummond disabled him with a pistol-shot. An American who saw this at
once shot Colonel Drummond through the breast, and followed the shot
with a bayonet-thrust. The Colonel had in his pocket a copy of General
Drummond's secret order, and the bayonet passed through the sentence in
which "a free use of the bayonet" was recommended. *

At daylight the enemy still held the bastion he had gained in the night,
and several determined attempts to dislodge him failed, though the
number of men he had thrown into it was being continually reduced by an
irregular fire directed upon it. The British reserve was now brought up
to reenforce the party in the bastion, while Douglass turned the guns of
his battery so as to sweep diagonally the

* This blood-stained document is now in the possession of the New York
Historical Society.

{248}ground over which it must pass, and Fanning's battery was already
playing upon the enemy with considerable effect. But at the moment when
the reserves were ready to make a rush for the bastion, there was a
tremendous explosion, and the platform of the bastion, with all the
men upon it, was hurled into the air. Masses of earth, stones, broken
timbers, and dead and living bodies of men rose two hundred feet, and in
falling were scattered to a great distance. It was a chest of ammunition
that had exploded; but how it happened is unknown. Some of the American
officers present believed it to be purely accidental, others said that
Lieutenant McDonough, lying wounded at the foot of the bastion, being
exasperated at the treatment he had received, applied the match and
sacrificed himself for the sake of defeating his barbarous foe. The
British reserves at once fell back, the contest was abandoned, and
the shattered columns returned to their camp. According to General
Drummond's official report, his loss in killed, wounded, and missing,
was nine hundred and five. But as he gives the number of his killed as
only fifty-eight, while the Americans found two hundred and twenty-two
British soldiers dead on the field, it may be that even his acknowledged
total loss of nearly a thousand is an understatement. The Americans lost
eighty-four, besides {249}forty-five men disabled by the cannonade that
preceded the night assault.

General Gaines set to work at once to rebuild the ruined bastion and
strengthen the whole line of works, while the enemy, after receiving
reenforcements, began a siege by regular approaches. They soon brought
their parallels so close that they were able to throw shells and hot
shot into the fort every day. One shell descended through the roof of
General Gaines's headquarters, and exploded at his feet, so injuring him
that he was forced to give up the command to General Brown, and retire
to Buffalo. The Americans in the fort, as well as the besiegers, had
been reenforced, and General Brown planned a grand sortie to break up
the siege works. The enemy's camp was two miles in the rear, and
one third of his force was thrown forward at a time to work on the
parallels. The Americans secretly marked out a road through the woods,
leading from their left around to a point close upon the right of the
besiegers. On the 17th of September two columns, of about one thousand
men each, sallied out from the fort. One column followed the road
through the woods and suddenly burst upon the British right, while
the other marched through a ravine, against the centre. Before
reënforcements could come from the British camp, the Americans
{250}leaped into the siege works, after bloody fighting overcame all
resistance, dismounted the guns and rendered them useless, exploded the
magazines, and returned to the fort with many prisoners. This operation
cost the Americans five hundred and twenty men, killed, wounded, or
missing, and the British six hundred and nine.

In the night of the 21st, General Drummond raised the siege, and retired
beyond the Chippewa. In October the Americans dismantled Fort Erie, and
returned to the eastern shore of the Niagara. {251}



CHAPTER XV. THE SECOND INVASION OF NEW YORK.

{231}

_Fight at La Colle Mill--Ship-building--Yeo's Attack on Oswego--Affairs
at Charlotte and Poultneyville--Fight at Sandy Creek--Izard's Failure on
the Niagara--Expedition against Michilimackinac--Prevost's Advance into
New York--Its Purpose--Battle of Plattsburg._


|In February General Wilkinson had removed his army from French Mills
to Plattsburg, on Lake Champlain, and a month later he added one more
to the futile invasions of Canada. At the head of four thousand men,
he crossed the border, March 30th, met a party of British at Odelltown,
with whom skirmishing was carried on for three miles along the road, and
found the enemy seriously in his path at La Colle Mill, on the Sorel,
four miles from Rouse's Point, where about two hundred men were posted
in a stone mill and a block-house, on either side of La Colie Creek.

Wilkinson brought up two pieces of artillery and planted them within two
hundred yards of the stone mill. Then he disposed his forces in such a
way as nearly to surround it and cut off the retreat of the enemy when
his guns should knock the walls of the {252}mill about their heads. But
though the guns were served with great skill and rapidity for two hours,
the walls would n't budge, and it did not occur to the enemy to attempt
a retreat. On the contrary, from their secure position they used their
rifles so effectively that Wilkinson's men suffered severely. Captain
McPherson, commanding the battery, was wounded in the chin, but tied
it up with his handkerchief and remained at his post till another
shot broke his thigh, when he was borne off. His successor, Lieutenant
Larrabee, was soon shot through the lungs, when he also was borne to
the rear; and Lieutenant Sheldon then kept the battery in play till the
close of the fight.

Major Hancock, commanding the enemy, having received reënforcements that
swelled the number of his men to about a thousand, ordered a sortie, to
capture the battery. His troops suddenly burst from the mill, and made
a rush for the guns. But this subjected them to a fire from the American
infantry, by which they suffered heavily, and they were obliged to
return to the mill and the blockhouse. A second and more desperate
sortie had the same result, and the enemy then shut themselves up in the
house and defied all attempts to drive them out. As the condition of the
roads prevented him from bringing up heavier artillery, Wil{253}kinson
gave up the expedition and returned through mud, snow, and rain to
Plattsburg. The affair had cost him a hundred and fifty-four men, and
inflicted on the enemy a loss of sixty-one. The General asked for a
court-martial, and was tried and acquitted; but this ended his military
career. General George Izard succeeded to his command.

Both belligerents were still building ships for service on Lake Ontario.
The British had a large one on the stocks at Kingston, and the Americans
an equally large one at Sackett's Harbor. All sorts of insignificant
affairs took place during the spring and summer along the shores of this
lake and Lake Champlain, effecting nothing, but keeping the people in a
state of alarm.

On one occasion three boats approached Sackett's Harbor, carrying two
barrels of powder, with which it was intended to blow up the new vessel
on the stocks. But they were discovered and fired at, whereupon the
crews hastily threw the powder overboard, fearing it would be exploded
by a bullet, and pulled away.

Finding that he could not destroy the new ship, Sir James Yeo determined
to render her useless by capturing the guns, rigging, and stores
intended for her, which were at Oswego. Accordingly he organized an
expedition of about three thousand men, {254}the troops being commanded
by General Drummond, and sailed for that place early in May. The fort
at Oswego, an old affair, in a dilapidated condition, was on one side
of the river, and the village-on the other. Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell,
commanding at the fort, saw the approaching expedition early in the
morning of May 5th. As his force was too small to be divided, he sent a
large number of tents across the river, and had them pitched in front
of the village. This convinced the enemy that there was a heavy force on
that side of the river, and he confined his attention to the fort.

The ships bombarded the work, and a force attempted to land by means of
boats. But Colonel Mitchell sent a few men down the shore with one old
gun, and as soon as they came within range it made such havoc among the
boats' crews that they pulled back to the fleet. One of the boats,
sixty feet long, propelled by three sails and thirty-six oars, was so
shattered that it was abandoned and drifted ashore.

The next day the fleet returned to the attack, and this time succeeded
in landing about two thousand men. Colonel Mitchell, who had been
reenforced by a small body of militia, gradually retired before the
invaders, making a gallant resistance as long as it was of any use, and
then retreated to a point several miles up the river, whither most of
{255}the stores had been removed, and destroyed the bridges behind him.
The enemy raised and carried away the schooner _Growler_, which, as it
contained some of the guns for the new vessel, the Americans had sunk
on the approach of the expedition; burned the barracks, took whatever he
could find that was movable, and on the 7th sailed away. The action had
cost him two hundred and thirty-five men, killed, wounded, or drowned.
The Americans had lost sixty-nine.

Five days later a British squadron appeared before Charlotte, at the
mouth of Genesee River. The village was guarded by sixty men, with one
field-piece. Word was sent to General Peter B. Porter, who arrived
on the morning of the 13th, just in time to refuse a demand for
the surrender of the place. Two gunboats then entered the river and
bombarded the town for an hour and a half, throwing in shells, rockets,
and round shot. The women and children were removed, a militia force of
three hundred and fifty men was collected, and dispositions were made to
capture the boats if they should venture farther up the river. A second
demand for a surrender, with a threat to land twelve hundred men and
destroy the village, was refused by Porter, and on the 15th the boats
bombarded the place again for some hours, and then withdrew. {256}In the
evening the squadron sent a force on shore at Poultneyville, where some
stores were captured; but a small body of militia under General John
Swift soon appeared and drove the enemy precipitately back to their
boats.

As Sir James Yeo was blockading Sackett's Harbor for the special purpose
of preventing the armament of the new vessel from being carried in,
the wits of the Americans were taxed to get the guns and cables there.
Transportation all the way by land would have been tedious and costly.
The task was assigned to Captain Woolsey, of the navy. He caused a
story to be circulated, in a way that made it sure to reach the vigilant
enemy, that the guns were to be transported by way of Oneida Lake. They
were on nineteen boats, and on the 28th of May he ran the rapids and
arrived at Oswego with them at dusk. The plan was, to coast along down
the lake as far as Sandy Creek, eight miles from Sackett's Harbor, run
up the creek, and thence carry them overland. Accompanied by a hundred
and twenty riflemen, under Major Appling, the flotilla went down the
lake by night as far as Big Salmon River, and in the morning one
boat was missing. At this point a body of Oneida Indians joined the
expedition, and at noon on the 29th it reached Sandy Creek. The missing
boat had gone {257}on to Sackett's Harbor, where--perhaps purposely--it
fell into the hands of the blockaders, to whom its crew told the whole
story of Woolsey's flotilla. Sir James at once sent a force, in two
gunboats and four smaller craft, to capture it. This expedition sailed
up Sandy Creek on the morning of the 30th, thinking to make sure prize
of the flotilla and its cargo of guns and cables. But Major Appling had
placed his riflemen in ambush along the bank, and near the flotilla was
Captain Melville with a company of light artillery and two six-pounders.
The enemy's gunboats opened fire on the flotilla as fast as they came
within gunshot, and a party of troops was landed. As soon as they were
within range of Appling's rifles, he poured in a deadly fire upon their
flank and rear, while at the same time the artillery played upon them
in front. In ten minutes the British lost eighteen men killed and fifty
wounded, when the whole force surrendered. The captured boats mounted
seven guns, and there were a hundred and sixty-five prisoners. The
Americans had two men wounded. The Indians took no active part in the
fight.

This affair inflicted so serious a loss upon the British fleet that it
returned to Kingston, and remained there till another ship and more men
could be obtained. The Americans arrived safely at {258}Sackett's Harbor
with their guns, and the new frigate, the _Mohawk_, was launched on
the 11th of June. Chauncey's squadron then consisted of nine vessels,
mounting two hundred and fifty-one guns.

Early in August, General Izard, being ordered to relieve General Brown
in the command on the Niagara frontier, marched from Plattsburg with
about four thousand troops, leaving General Alexander Macomb in command
there with twelve hundred, including the invalids. After his arrival at
Buffalo, Izard crossed the Niagara with about eight thousand men,
and set forward to attack Drummond on the Chippewa. But the British
commander, after one sharp skirmish, withdrew his forces to Fort
George and Burlington Heights. Izard, who lacked the energy to follow,
persuaded himself, in spite of the almanac, that the season was far
advanced, and retired to Black Rock.

Another American expedition on the upper lakes was not more satisfactory
or creditable in its result. It was intended for the re-capture of
Michilimackinac, the first place taken by the British during the war.
The garrison was strengthened in April, 1814, and three months later
a detachment sent out from it captured the American post at Prairie du
Chien.

The naval portion of the expedition was entrusted to Commander Arthur
St. Clair, who had five ves{259}sels which had formed part of Perry's
fleet. He took on board five hundred regular troops and about the same
number of militia, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Croghan, who had made
the gallant defence of Fort Stephenson the year before, sailed on the
12th of July, and arrived at Michilimackinac on the 26th. There was
a difference of opinion as to the best mode of attack; St. Clair was
unwilling to attempt it first with his vessels, because the fort was so
far above the water that it could send a plunging fire upon their decks.

On the 4th of August the troops were landed on the north side of the
island, to attack the fort in the rear. But Lieutenant-Colonel McDonall,
who commanded it, had drawn out his entire garrison, and taken up a
strong position in the path of the Americans. His men were behind a
small ridge which formed a natural breastwork, the ground in front was
perfectly clear, and two field-pieces commanded it. On each of their
flanks was a thick wood, and in these woods McDonall posted a force of
Indians. Croghan advanced with his militia in front, and attempted to
turn the British left. But a volley from the Indians in the woods, whom
he had not discovered, killed Major Holmes, wounded Captain Desha, and
threw the American right wing into confusion. Croghan then attacked the
enemy's {260}centre, and drove him from his breastwork into the woods
in his rear. But beyond this point it seemed impossible to accomplish
anything, and the Americans soon withdrew from the field and reembarked.
They had lost thirteen men killed, fifty-two wounded, and two missing.
The British loss is unknown.

But while these insignificant actions were taking place along the whole
length of the lakes, a serious danger threatened the country at the
eastern extremity of that line, and was averted by a brilliant victory.

The British troops at the foot of Lake Champlain had been heavily
reenforced by veterans from the armies that had conquered Napoleon, and
Sir George Prevost, who had been ordered to make an invasion of New York
by the route taken by Burgoyne in 1777, seized the opportunity when the
Americans at Plattsburg were weakened by the absence of Izard and the
four thousand men he had taken with him to the Niagara frontier.

The object of the movement was, to capture and hold a portion of the
State of New York; so that when the pending peace negotiations were
brought to a close, it might be stipulated that all territory should
remain with the party in whose possession it then was, and this would
give the English complete {261}control of the St. Lawrence and Lake
Champlain, if not of Lake Ontario also. In accordance with this purpose,
Prevost issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of that sparsely
settled region, calling upon them to renounce allegiance to the United
States, renew their allegiance to Great Britain, and furnish his troops
subsistence. Had his forces been victorious, he would have claimed
that this had been done, and the English would then probably have been
successful in their purpose to "change the boundary of New York."

General Alexander Macomb, who had been left in command at Plattsburg on
the departure of General Izard, and had been told by that officer that
he must expect to be driven out or made a prisoner by the enemy, had
made up his mind to falsify the prediction, and exhibited wonderful
energy in putting the place into a defensible condition.

Saranac River, after running parallel with the shore of Lake Champlain
for a short distance, turns sharply to the east and flows into
Cumberland or Plattsburg Bay. On the peninsula thus enclosed, which is
about half a mile wide, the Americans constructed three redoubts and
two block-houses, one of them being at the mouth of the river. The north
bank is about thirty feet high; and the south bank, which was the
one occupied by the Ameri{262}cans, about fifty. Macomb had fifteen
hundred regulars, and two thousand militia.

Prevost, with fourteen thousand troops, began his advance on the 29th
of August, crossed the border on the 1st of September, and thenceforth
found his march impeded somewhat by felled trees and broken bridges.
He was in no great hurry, however, as he was in advance of the fleet,
commanded by Commodore George Downie, on whose cooperation he relied. He
impressed the horses of farmers along the route for the transportation
of his artillery and supplies, and arrived before Plattsburg on the
6th. The advance of his right column was assaulted by a small body of
riflemen under Major John E. Wool, who inflicted some loss and drove it
back upon the main body. Wool fell back, was joined by Captain Leonard's
battery, made another stand, inflicted more loss with the artillery,
and again fell back slowly till he crossed the Saranac, destroying the
bridge behind him. The enemy's left column, approaching by a road nearer
the lake, was annoyed by skirmishers under Lieutenant-Colonel Appling,
and by the American gun-boats. Both bridges were destroyed, and when the
enemy's riflemen posted themselves in several houses on the north bank,
these were set on fire by hot shot.

But the British fleet had not yet come up, and {263}Prevost, while
waiting for it, spent several days in erecting batteries and perfecting
his preparations for a serious assault. The fleet appeared on the
morning of the nth, and the General gave orders for an immediate
advance.

His men attempted to ford the river at three places--where the two
bridges had been, and at a point farther up, known as Pike's Cantonment
--their movements being covered by a heavy fire from the British
batteries. The troops that actually advanced to the assault numbered
eight thousand, and they carried an immense number of scaling-ladders,
to enable them to climb the high bank and afterward surmount the
American works.

At the lower bridge, the fire from the forts and block-houses drove them
back. At the upper bridge, they were prevented from landing by a steady
fire of musketry. At Pike's Cantonment, where the river was easily
fordable, there was only militia to dispute the passage. Yet several
attempts to cross were repelled; and when finally a body of regulars
succeeded in crossing, the militia rallied and drove it back again
with heavy loss. At this point of time the issue of the battle had been
decided by the action on the water.

The American flotilla, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough, was
drawn up in line to await {264}the attack, in such manner that the
British ships could not enter the bay without being exposed to a
broadside fire. Macdonough's vessels were all stationed with their prows
to the north, the _Eagle_, of twenty guns, at the head of the line; then
the _Saratoga_, flag-ship, of twenty-six guns; then the _Ticonderoga_,
of seventeen; and lastly the _Preble_, of seven, which was so near a
shoal that the enemy could not pass around her. Macdonough also had ten
galleys or gun-boats, which he placed inside of his line, opposite
the intervals between the larger vessels. The British flotilla also
consisted of four large vessels--carrying respectively thirty-seven,
sixteen, eleven, and eleven guns--and twelve gun-boats. The total
American force was fourteen vessels, with eighty-six guns and eight
hundred and fifty men; the total British force, sixteen vessels, with
ninety-five guns and one thousand and fifty men.

The peculiar thing in Macdonough's preparations, and the one perhaps
which secured him the victory, was an arrangement by which he made
it possible to turn his flag-ship almost instantly so as to bring her
broadside to bear on any point. He did this by laying a kedge anchor
broad off each of her bows, and carrying the hawsers to the quarters.
Thus by winding in one or the other of the hawsers the stern of the ship
could be swung one way or the other, {265}while the cable of the main
anchor kept her bow in one place.

The English line bore down upon the American in fine style, the first
two vessels firing as they approached. The flag-ship _Confiance_ did not
open fire till she had dropped anchor within a quarter of a mile of her
foe.

The _Eagle_, at the head of the American line, began firing in a
wild way, without orders, before her shot could reach the enemy. The
excitement was soon felt through the fleet, and was shared by a young
cock which had escaped from his coop on the deck of the _Saratoga_. In
response to the boom of the cannon, he flew upon a gun-slide, flapped
his wings, and crowed loudly. The sailors burst into a hearty laugh, and
gave three cheers. Then a long gun, sighted by Macdonough himself, was
fired, and as the shot raked the deck of the _Confiance_, the whole
line opened and the battle became general. The first broadside from the
_Confiance_ disabled forty men on the _Saratoga_; for fifteen minutes
everything was ablaze, and the roar was continuous. Then the vessel at
the head of the British line struck her colors.

The enemy's shot cut away the _Eagle's_ springs--ropes fastened either
to the anchor or to the cable, and passed to the quarter, in order to
sway the ship {266}to one side or the other and bring the guns to bear
on any desired point. Her commander, Lieutenant Henley, then cut his
cable, sheeted home the topsails, ran down behind the _Saratoga_, and
took a position between her and the _Ticonderoga_, anchoring by the
stern, which brought the fresh guns of his larboard battery to bear on
the enemy, when they were served with good effect.

The _Preble_ was attacked by the enemy's gunboats, and driven from her
position; but they were stopped by the next in line, which they vainly
tried to board. Every gun of the starboard battery---the side nearest
the enemy--on the American flag-ship was disabled. Then Macdonough
proceeded to "wind ship," that is, to turn the vessel completely round
by winding at the hawsers attached to the kedges. This was accomplished
without accident, and his gunners, springing to the larboard battery,
poured out fresh broadsides that made dreadful havoc with the
_Confiance_. The commander of that vessel attempted to copy Macdonough's
manoeuvre, for her battery on the side presented to the enemy was also
nearly used up, but failed, and two hours and a quarter after the
fight began her colors came down. The remaining British vessels also
surrendered, and the victory was complete.

When the tremendous cheer that burst from the {267}sailors of the
American fleet announced this news, to friend and foe on shore, Sir
George Prevost--who from the first had relied more upon the fleet than
upon his army--gave up his whole plan, and made all haste to return to
Canada.

In this bloody battle--which defeated what is known as the second
invasion of New York, and preserved our territory intact--the American
fleet suffered a loss of fifty two men killed and fifty-eight wounded.
The British, according to their official report, lost fifty-seven
killed, including Commodore Downie, and seventy-two wounded; Macdonough
reported their loss at eighty-four killed and a hundred and ten wounded.
The British galleys, before the Americans could take possession of them,
drifted out into the lake, and escaped.



CHAPTER XVI. OPERATIONS ALONG THE COAST.

{268}

_Capture of Eastport and Castine--Occupation of Territory
in Maine--Destruction of the Frigate Adams--Bombardment of
Stonington--Affairs at Wareham, Scituate, and Boothbay._


|The close of the war in Europe had not only enabled the English to
strengthen their land forces in America, but had also liberated many of
their warships, and the result was felt all along our coast. The enemy's
purpose to conquer territory which might be retained after the war,
apparent enough before, was now definitely proclaimed.

In July, Sir Thomas Hardy, commander of the British fleet before New
London, received orders to capture Moose Island, in Passamaquoddy Bay,
and sailed thither with five ships of war and transports containing
about fifteen hundred troops. The Americans had here a small fort,
garrisoned by only fifty men, under Major Putnam, who made no resistance
to the enemy, but surrendered at once, July 11th. Sir Thomas then took
formal possession not only of the town of Eastport, which at that time
contained about one thousand inhabitants, but {269}of the whole island,
and issued a proclamation in which he declared that all the islands in
the bay-had been surrendered and were thenceforth British territory. He
gave the inhabitants one week in which to make their choice, either to
swear allegiance to the British Crown or move away. About two thirds of
the people took the oath, supposing they would thereby be admitted to
the privileges of British citizenship; but a month later the Provincial
Council of New Brunswick ordered that they should be treated as a
conquered province and placed under martial law. The fortifications
of Eastport were greatly strengthened, the six guns being increased to
sixty, and a large garrison placed there. But provisions were extremely
scarce, the men deserted in great numbers, and the British officers were
often seen on the ramparts, doing duty as sentinels.

On the 1st of September, another British force entered Penobscot River.
The small American garrison at Castine blew up the fort and retreated,
and the enemy took possession, and soon issued a proclamation declaring
all that part of Maine east of the Penobscot to be conquered territory.
It contained about forty villages, with an aggregate of more than thirty
thousand inhabitants.

Captain Morris, after a successful cruise, had re {270}cently arrived
in the Penobscot with the American frigate _Adams_, and taken her
to Hampden, thirty-five miles up the river, for repairs. The British
commander sent up an expedition of about a thousand men to capture
her, and Captain Morris made all possible preparations for defence.
He erected several batteries on the shore, collected a small force of
militia from the neighborhood, and, as they were unarmed, put the ship's
muskets into their hands. But on the approach of the British regulars,
the militia ran away; and Morris, seeing that he could not save his
vessel, sent away his sailors and marines, who retreated across a bridge
over a deep creek. He and a few men whom he had retained for the service
then set a slow-match to the magazine, and, as their retreat by the
bridge had been cut off, swam the stream and escaped. The frigate
was blown to pieces, and the enemy returned to Castine with neither
prisoners nor plunder. But they made thenceforth frequent incursions
among the towns of the neighborhood, and freely robbed the inhabitants
of what little property they had that was worth taking.

The next orders issued to the British Commodore, Sir Thomas Hardy, were
to destroy the town of Stonington, Connecticut; which he found a very
different task from the capture of Moose Island. With two {271}frigates,
a brig, and a bomb-vessel, he appeared before the town on the 9th of
August, and sent in word that he should begin a bombardment in one hour.
The women and children were hastily removed, and the men repaired to the
defences of the place. These consisted of a small breastwork and three
pieces of artillery--two eighteen-pounders, and a six-pounder. A rude,
flag-staff was erected, and a small flag nailed to it. Those who had
been trained as artillerists took their places at the guns, and the
remainder, with muskets, were placed behind the breastwork. Word was
sent to General Cushing, commanding at New London, and couriers on
horseback rode through the surrounding country to rally the militia.

It was toward evening when Hardy opened his ports and fired upon the
town every kind of missile in use at that day--round-shot, grape-shot,
canister, bomb-shells, carcasses, rockets, and stink-pots. A carcass was
a cylindrical cage or framework of iron, covered with canvas and filled
with combustibles, intended to set the buildings on fire. About eight
o'clock, while the bombardment was still going on, five barges and a
launch filled with men and carrying several guns approached the shore.
The Americans permitted them to come within close range, and then poured
such a fire of grape-shot {272}into them from the two eighteen-pounders
that they were very soon compelled to retire. They then sailed around
to the eastern side of the little peninsula, where they supposed it was
defenceless. But the Americans dragged the six-pounder across, and were
ready for them. With this gun alone, so rapidly was it served and so
skilfully handled, they again drove off the fleet of barges.

The bombardment was kept up till midnight, and next day the fleet
was increased by the arrival of another brig. The vessels now took a
position nearer the shore, and the action was reopened. One brig was
anchored within pistol-shot of the battery, at which it directed its
guns. But the old eighteen-pounders sent several balls through her
between wind and water, compelling her to haul off and repair damages.
The barges made an attempt to land a force, as on the day before; but
met a similar reception and once more retired. One of the barges was
completely torn to pieces by the fire of the six-pounder. The fleet then
drifted out of reach of the battery, but kept up the bombardment at long
range during that and the following day. On the 12th, Sir Thomas, who
had lost twenty-one men killed and more than fifty wounded, bore up and
sailed away.

Of the Americans, six had been slightly wounded, and one mortally. Of
the hundred houses in Ston{273}ington, forty had been more or less
injured, ten of them badly, and two or three were entirely destroyed.
The enemy had thrown in more than sixty tons of metal. Colonel Randall,
the commanding officer, received high praise for the manner in which he
had conducted the defence, as did also Lieutenants Lathrop and Hough.

There were smaller affairs of the same nature, at various points along
the New England coast. At Wareham the enemy landed in safety by means of
a flag of truce, and then burned a large cotton factory and the vessels
at their moorings. At Scituate also they burned the shipping. But at
Boothbay the militia rallied and drove them off with considerable loss.
The attempt to land was repeated on several different days, but every
time without success.



CHAPTER XVII. THE WASHINGTON CAMPAIGN.

{274}

_Ross's Expedition against Washington--Battle of
Bladensburg--Destraction of the Capital--Capitulation of
Alexandria--Comments of the London Times--Expedition against
Baltimore--Death of Sir Peter Parker--Battle of North Point--Death
of General Ross--Bombardment of Fort McHenry--How a Famous Song was
written._


|But these little affairs along the coast were of small consequence in
comparison with what befell the capital of the country. Relieved by
the peace in Europe, the English Government resolved to prosecute the
American war with greater vigor, and fixed upon the policy of striking
at the cities. Baltimore, Washington, Charleston, Savannah, and New
Orleans were all marked for capture or destruction. A powerful British
fleet was sent to the Bermudas, and a large number of veteran troops
transported thither, and the commanders on our coasts were directed to
draw thence such forces as they might need for their expeditions.

That Washington was likely to be the object of a hostile demonstration
of some kind, was known to the Administration for months, but no
efficient {275}measures were taken to meet it. President Madison and
General Armstrong, Secretary of War, did not like each other, and
neither man was large enough not to let his personal feelings stand
in the way of the country's interests. When the President urged that
something should be done to avert the danger that threatened the
capital, General Armstrong opposed the proposition with such abstruse
reasons as that "militia were always most effective when first called
out."

The only effective means of defence consisted of a small flotilla
commanded by Commodore Joshua Barney, who sailed the waters of
Chesapeake Bay for some weeks, continually annoying the English fleet.
On the 1st of June he had an engagement with two schooners in the
Patuxent, and drove them off with hot shot. A few days later, he was
chased into St. Leonard's Creek, where he formed his boats in line of
battle across the channel and engaged the enemy's barges, ultimately
chasing them down to the ships. On the 10th he was attacked by twenty
barges and two schooners; but he beat them all off, and so severely
handled one of the schooners, an eighteen-gun vessel, that her crew ran
her aground and abandoned her. On the 26th, with the help of a corps
of artillery and a detachment of the marine corps, Barney attacked the
{276}whole squadron that was blockading him in the St. Leonard's, and
after a fight of two hours compelled them to raise the blockade.

General Robert Ross, who had served in several campaigns under
Wellington, and was with Sir John Moore when he fell at Corunna, was
selected by the Duke to command an expedition against Washington. In
July, with three thousand five hundred men, the finest regiments of
Wellington's army, he sailed from Bordeaux for the Chesapeake, where he
arrived in August, and was at once reenforced by a thousand marines
from Cockburn's blockading squadron, and a hundred negroes from the
neighboring plantations, who had been armed and drilled as British
soldiers.

The District of Columbia and the adjacent counties of Virginia and
Maryland had recently been formed into a military district, of which the
command was given to General William H. Winder. His forces consisted of
five hundred regulars and two thousand militia. On the approach of the
enemy, Maryland and Virginia were hastily called upon for reënforcements
of militia, and nearly three thousand came from Maryland; but the
Virginians, from delay in receiving their flints, did not move till the
fighting was over.

Ross's expedition ascended the Patuxent, and on {277}the morning of
August 19th his troops were debarked without molestation at Benedict, on
the western or right bank, forty miles southeast of Washington. He had
twenty-seven vessels, and over four thousand men.

By order of the Secretary of War, Commodore Barney blew up his little
flotilla, and with his five hundred seamen and marines retreated to
Nottingham, where General Winder assigned to them the management of the
artillery.

The weather was fearfully hot, and the enemy proceeded by slow marches,
dozens of men falling and fainting by the way. It was remarked at the
time that their route might have been so impeded by felling trees,
that the weather and the labor of removing them would have defeated the
expedition. But nothing of the sort was done. Winder waited in a chosen
position at Wood Yard, twelve miles from the city, to give battle. But
Ross turned to the right after reaching Nottingham, taking the road to
Marlborough, where Admiral Cockburn joined him with a body of marines
and seamen. The Americans fell back to Battalion Old Fields, a
detachment under Major Peters skirmishing sharply with the advancing
enemy, and on the 24th to Bladensburg, six miles from Washington, where
a bridge spanned the eastern branch of the {278}Potomac. Here they made
a stand, taking a strong position on the western bank, commanding the
bridge. The President and several members of his Cabinet were on the
field, all interfering more or less with the military arrangements.
Monroe--then Secretary of State, afterward President--who had been a
staff officer in the Continental army more than thirty years before,
considered himself specially qualified as a military meddler, and
actually changed the disposition of some of Winder's troops at the last
moment.

It could not be expected that a mass of raw militia, hastily called
together, and hardly knowing by whom they were commanded, would stand
long, even in an advantageous position, before the onset of veteran
troops. "Come, General Armstrong, come, Colonel Monroe," said the
President, "let us go, and leave it to the commanding General." So Mr.
Madison and his Cabinet left the field, and it was not long before the
militia followed their illustrious example.

The ground on the eastern side of the river, where the British
approached, was low and clear. On the western it rose in a gradual
slope, and along the stream was fringed with willows and larches. A body
of American riflemen was posted in the shrubbery that lined the bank.
Three hundred {279}yards up the slope was a slight earthwork, mounting
six guns, supported by two companies of Baltimore volunteers. General
Stansbury had posted three regiments to the right of it, but Secretary
Monroe had moved them to a point in the rear of the battery and five
hundred yards farther up the slope. At the top of the hill, one mile
from the bridge, was formed a line consisting of Maryland militia on
the right, Barney's seamen and marines in the centre, a detachment of
regular troops and a regiment of District militia on the left, with a
battery of six guns and a company of riflemen in front.

The enemy entered the village of Bladensburg soon after noon of the
24th, and was at once subjected to a fire that compelled him to seek the
shelter of the houses. At one o'clock the advance column rushed at the
double quick upon the bridge, where it met a concentrated fire from
the American batteries and riflemen, and almost entirely melted away. A
remnant, however, succeeded in crossing, deployed at once, and advanced
upon the first line, which fell back and permitted two guns to be lost.

Elated at this success, the thin line of British troops threw off their
knapsacks and advanced toward the second line, without waiting for
another column to cross the bridge to their support. When {280}General
Winder saw their error, he placed himself at the head of a regiment of
Baltimore volunteers, gave them an effective volley, and then made a
charge, and at the point of the bayonet drove them down to the very
brink of the river, where with difficulty they maintained their foothold
under the trees till another brigade had crossed the bridge to their
relief.

One regiment of these fresh troops turned the left of the American line,
and threw in some Congreve rockets, which so frightened the militia on
that flank that they broke at once and fled in confusion. The regiment
headed by Winder stood firm till both its flanks were turned, when it
retired, its retreat being covered by the riflemen.

The enemy then attacked the remainder of the line, all of which soon
gave way, except Barney's men, who kept them in check for half an hour,
and with the fire of four pieces of artillery ploughed their ranks
through and through. But when the militia broke, the teamsters
stampeded, without stopping to unhitch their horses from the ammunition
wagons. Barney was thus left with but a single round of ammunition,
while the enemy was gradually gaining a position upon his flank; and
though many of his men were acting as infantry and behaved admirably,
charging several times with {281}great effect, he was obliged to order
a retreat. He himself had been severely wounded, while two of his
principal officers were killed, and two others wounded. He fell into the
hands of the enemy, who took him to their hospital at Bladensburg. In
this action the Americans had lost seventy-seven men killed or wounded;
the British, more than five hundred. Ross's entire loss, including
deserters, prisoners, and those who succumbed to the weather, was said
to be nearly a thousand.

But no serious obstacle now stood in the way of General Ross's purpose
to destroy the capital; and with that portion of his force which had not
been engaged, he marched thither without the loss of an hour, arriving
at eight o'clock that evening.

The most valuable portion of the public archives had been removed to a
place of safety, and Mrs. Madison had managed to carry away the original
draft of the Declaration of Independence, a portrait of Washington that
hung in the White House, and a few other articles which could not have
been replaced. The magazines and shipping at the Navy Yard had already
been fired by order of the Secretary of War, and everything there was
destroyed.

It is said that General Ross offered to spare the city for a price;
but there was no one at hand who {282}could treat with him, if the
authorities had been inclined to purchase its safety. He expected to be
attacked by a more formidable force than that he had met at Brudensburg,
and, as he wrote to Earl Bathurst, "judging it of consequence to
complete the destruction of the public buildings with the least possible
delay, so that the army might retire without loss of time, he without
a moment's delay burned and destroyed everything in the most distant
degree connected with the government." There was one notable exception.
At the intercession of Dr. Thornton, who superintended the Patent
Office, the building containing that and the Post Office was spared;
because, as the doctor represented, it contained great numbers of models
and papers which were of value to the whole scientific world. The jail,
one hotel, and a few dwellings also escaped. All else, including the
President's house, the public libraries, and the new Capitol--of which
only the wings had been built--was given to the flames. The commanders
of the expedition distinguished themselves personally in this vandalism.
Admiral Cochrane, who had a spite against the _National Intelligencer_
because of its strictures upon his marauding exploits along the coast,
caused the office to be sacked and the type thrown into, the street,
and with his own hand set {283}the building on fire. Admiral Cockburn is
said to have led his men into the hall of the House of Representatives,
where he leaped into the Speaker's chair and shouted, "Shall this harbor
of Yankee democracy be burned? All for it will say, Aye!"

In the night of the 25th, Ross silently withdrew from the city, leaving
his camp-fires burning, for he expected and feared pursuit-, and marched
with all that remained of his force to Benedict, where they reëmbarked.

A division of the enemy's fleet, consisting of eight vessels, ascended
the Potomac to attack the city of Alexandria. Fort Warburton, a small
work intended for its defence, was destroyed by the garrison at the
approach of the ships, and with no opposition they passed up and laid
the town under their guns. A parley was had, the result of which was
that the dwellings were left unmolested, the condition being, "the
immediate delivery [to the enemy] of all public and private naval and
ordnance stores; of all shipping, and the furniture necessary to their
equipment then in port; of all the merchandise of every description,
whether in the town or removed from it since the 19th of the month; that
such merchandise should be put on board the shipping at the expense of
the owners; and that all vessels which might have been sunk upon
the approach of {284}the fleet should be raised by the merchants and
delivered up with all their apparatus." These conditions, hard as they
were, were complied with, and on the 6th of September the fleet, loaded
with booty, returned down the river. Two batteries on the shore--at
White House and Indian Head, commanded by Captains Porter and Perry,
of the navy--damaged it considerably as it passed, but were not able to
stop it.

If the importance of General Ross's exploit was overrated by the
Americans, who naturally felt chagrined that so small an invading force
should have destroyed their capital and momentarily dispersed their
Government, it was enormously exaggerated by the English journals. By
confounding the capital of the country with its metropolis, they led
their readers to believe that the chief city of the United States had
been laid in ashes; whereas Washington was but a straggling place of
eight thousand inhabitants, which had been made the seat of the Federal
Government but a dozen years before. Taking it for granted that what
would have befallen England or France with London or Paris in the
possession of a foreign enemy, had actually befallen the United States,
the London _Times_ proceeded to say: "The ill-organized association
is on the eve of dissolution, and the world is speed{285}ily to be
delivered of the mischievous example of the existence of a government
founded on democratic rebellion." In another issue, October 9th, 1814,
it said: "Next to the annihilation of the late military despotism in
Europe, the subversion of that system of fraud and malignity which
constitutes the whole policy of the Jeffersonian school, was an event
to be devoutly wished by every man in either hemisphere who regards
rational liberty or the honorable intercourse of nations. It was an
event to which we should have bent, and yet must bend, all our energies.
The American Government must be displaced, or it will sooner or later
plant its poisoned dagger in the heart of the parent state." In a speech
in Parliament, Sir Gilbert Heathcote naively said, "it appeared to him
that we feared the rising power of America, and wished to curtail it."
Which, as the Scottish captain in the story said, was "a verra just
remark."

In the night of August 30th, Sir Peter Parker, commander of the frigate
_Menelaus_, who had been blockading Baltimore with that and another
vessel, landed on the Eastern Shore, with two hundred and thirty men,
intending to surprise and capture a small body of Maryland volunteers at
Moorfields. But the Maryland men were ready for them, and after a sharp
fight of about an hour the British re{286}treated, leaving sixteen
of their men killed or wounded on the field, and bearing away seventeen
others, among whom was Sir Peter, who died almost as soon as he reached
his ship. Three of the Americans were wounded.

Rightly conjecturing that Baltimore would be the next place at which the
enemy would strike, the people of that city had made haste to provide
for its defence. The fortifications were extended, and manned by about
five thousand men. On the 11th of September, forty British war-vessels
appeared at the mouth of the Patapsco, and that night eight thousand
men, under General Ross, were landed at North Point, a dozen miles below
the city. No resistance was offered till they had marched four miles up
the little peninsula, when they were met by General John Strivker with
three thousand two hundred men, including an artillery company with six
small guns, and a detachment of cavalry.

The cavalry and a hundred and fifty riflemen were thrown forward to feel
the enemy. General Ross, who had declared that he "did n't care if
it rained militia," and had expressed his intention of making winter
quarters in Baltimore, put himself at the head of his advance guard, and
promptly attacked. But as he rode along the crest of a little knoll,
he was shot in the side by an American rifle{287}man, and before his
aides could bear him back to the boats, he expired.

Notwithstanding the loss of their leader, the British forces rushed
steadily forward, drove the American skirmishers back upon the main
line, and brought on a general engagement. The battle lasted two or
three hours with varying fortune, till a heavy attack on the American
left turned it, when the whole body retreated to an intrenched position
near the city.

The British followed the next day, but found their enemy strongly
placed and reenforced, whereupon they took advantage of a dark night and
retraced their steps. They had lost two hundred and ninety men, killed
or wounded, and had inflicted upon the Americans a loss of two hundred
and thirteen, including fifty prisoners. This action is known as the
battle of North Point, but has sometimes been called the battle of
Long-log Lane.

While Ross's men were approaching Baltimore by land, sixteen vessels of
the British fleet moved up the bay, and opened fire upon its immediate
defences. The shallowness of the water prevented them from getting near
enough to bombard the town itself; but for twenty-four hours they poured
an almost uninterrupted shower of rockets and shells into Fort McHenry,
Fort Covington, and the {288}connecting intrenchments. Most of the
firing was at long range; whenever any of the vessels came within reach
of the batteries, they were subjected to a fire that quickly drove
them back, and in some cases sank them. Fort McHenry, garrisoned by six
hundred men under Major George Armistead, bore the brunt of the attack.

At the dead of night the enemy attempted to land a strong force
above the forts, for an attack in the rear; but it was discovered and
subjected to a concentrated fire of red-hot shot, which speedily drove
it off with serious loss. This practically put an end to the attempt to
take Baltimore, and a few hours later the fleet withdrew. The loss
of the Americans by the bombardment was four killed and twenty-four
wounded. The loss in the fleet is unknown.

This bombardment of Fort McHenry gave us one of our national songs.
Francis S. Key had gone out to the British fleet in a row-boat, under a
flag of truce, to ask for the release on parole of a friend who had been
made prisoner. Admiral Cockburn, who had just completed his plans for
the attack, detained him, and in his little boat, moored to the side
of the flag-ship, he sat and watched the bombardment. When the second
morning broke, and he saw that the flag of the fort--which Cockburn
{289}had boasted would "yield in a few hours"--was still flying, he took
an old letter out of his pocket, and on the back of it wrote the first
draft of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The flag is now in the possession
of the Massachusetts Historical Society.



CHAPTER XVIII. NAVAL BATTLES OF 1814.

{290}

_Porter's Cruise in the Essex--His Campaign Against the
Typees--Destruction of the British Whaling Interest in the
Pacific--Battle with the Phoebe and the Cherub--The Peacock and the
Epervier--The Wasp and the Reindeer--The Wasp and the Avon--Destruction
of the General Armstrong--Loss of the President--The Constitution
Captures the Cyane and the Levant--The Hornet and the Penguin._


|The naval contests of 1814 and the winter of 1815 repeated and
emphasized the lesson of the first year of the war; they were all, with
but two exceptions, American victories.

The remarkable cruise of the _Essex_, commanded by Captain David Porter,
begun late in 1812, extended along the coast of South America, around
Cape Horn, and throughout almost the entire eastern half of the Pacific,
ending in a bloody battle in the harbor of Valparaiso, in March, 1814.
The prizes taken in the Atlantic were of little value, except one. The
packet ship _Nocton_, captured just south of the equator, had $55,000 in
specie, on board, with which Porter subsequently paid off his men.
She was put in charge of a prize crew, and {291}sailed for the United
States, but was recaptured on the way by a British frigate.

Porter had sailed under orders to meet Commodore Bainbridge, who had
gone to sea with the _Constitution_ and the _Hornet_. But after failing
to find either of those vessels at three successive rendezvous, he
determined to carry out a plan which he had submitted to the Secretary
of the Navy some time before, for a cruise against the British whalers
in the Pacific. After the usual stormy passage, he doubled Cape Horn in
February, 1813. His description of one of the gales shows us that the
greatest dangers undergone by a man-of-war are not always from the guns
of the enemy.

"It was with no little joy we now saw ourselves fairly in the Pacific
Ocean, calculating on a speedy end to all our sufferings. We began also
to form our projects for annoying the enemy, and had already equipped,
in imagination, one of their vessels of fourteen or sixteen guns, and
manned her from the _Essex_, to cruise against their commerce. Indeed,
various were the schemes we formed at this time, and had in fancy
immense wealth to return with to our country. But the wind freshened
up to a gale, and by noon had reduced us to our storm stay-sail and
close-reefed main-top-sail. In the afternoon it hauled around to the
westward, and blew {292}with a fury far exceeding anything we had yet
experienced, bringing with it such a tremendous sea as to threaten us
every moment with destruction, and appalled the stoutest heart on board.
Our sails, our standing and running rigging, from the succession of bad
weather, had become so damaged as to be no longer trustworthy; we took,
however, the best means in our power to render everything secure, and
carried as heavy a press of sail as the ship would bear, to keep her
from drifting on the coast of Patagonia, which we had reason to believe
was not far distant.

"From the excessive violence with which the wind blew, we had strong
hopes that it would be of short continuance; until, worn out with
fatigue and anxiety, greatly alarmed with the terrors of a lee shore,
and in momentary expectation of the loss of our masts and bowsprit, we
almost considered our situation hopeless. To add to our distress, our
pumps had become choked by the shingle ballast, which, from the violent
rolling of the ship, had got into them, and the sea had increased to
such a height as to threaten to swallow us at every instant. The whole
ocean was one continual foam of breakers, and the heaviest squall that
I ever experienced had not equalled in violence the most moderate
intervals of this tremendous hurricane. We had, however, done {293}all
that lay in our power to preserve the ship, and turned our attention
to our pumps, which we were enabled to clear, and to keep the ship from
drifting on shore, by getting on the most advantageous tack. We were
enabled to wear but once; for the violence of the wind and sea was such
as afterward to render it impossible to attempt it, without hazarding
the destruction of the ship and the loss of every life on board. Our
fatigue had been constant and excessive; many had been severely bruised
by being thrown, by the violent jerks of the ship, down the hatchways,
and I was particularly unfortunate in receiving three severe falls,
which at length disabled me from going on deck.

"We had shipped several heavy seas, that would have proved destructive
to almost any other ship. About three o'clock of the morning of the 3d,
the watch only being on deck, an enormous sea broke over the ship, and
for an instant destroyed every hope. Our gun-deck ports were burst in,
both boats on the quarter stove, our spare spars washed from the chains,
our head-rails washed away, and hammock stanchions burst in, and
the ship perfectly deluged and water-logged. Immediately after this
tremendous shock, which threw the crew into consternation, the gale
began to abate, and in the morning we were enabled to set our reefed
foresail. {294}In the height of the gale, Lewis Price, a marine, who had
long been confined with a pulmonary complaint, departed this life, and
was in the morning committed to the deep; but the violence of the sea
was such that the crew could not be permitted to come on deck to attend
the ceremony of his burial, as their weight would have strained and
endangered the safety of the ship.

"When this last sea broke on board us, one of the prisoners exclaimed
that the ship's broadside was stove in, and that she was sinking. This
alarm was greatly calculated to increase the fears of those below, who,
from the immense torrent of water that was rushing down the hatchways,
had reason to believe the truth of his assertion. Many who were washed
from the spar- to the gun-deck, and from their hammocks, and did not
know the extent of the injury, were also greatly alarmed; but the men
at the wheel, and some others, who were enabled by a good grasp to keep
their stations, distinguished themselves by their coolness and activity
after the shock."

Porter touched at the island of Mocha, and afterward ran into the harbor
of Valparaiso, where he learned that his arrival in the Pacific was
most opportune; for there were many American whalers that had left home
before the war began, and knew {295}nothing of it, while some English
whalers, sailing later, had taken out letters of marque, and carried
guns, and were making prizes of the unsuspecting Americans.

Porter soon captured a Peruvian privateer, and two English whalers, and
recaptured an American ship that had been taken by the enemy. One of
the whalers carried six guns, and the other ten. He placed the entire
armament in the faster sailer, cut away her try-works, and with some
other alterations converted her into a war-vessel, giving the command
of her to John Downes, his first lieutenant. Subsequently a still better
ship for the purpose was captured, and the armament was shifted to that,
which was then re-christened _Essex Junior_.

With these two ships Porter scoured the ocean for the next six months,
and took numerous prizes, nearly all English whalers, several of which
had armed themselves as privateers. One he loaded with oil and sent
home. Two or three, as he could spare no more men for prize crews, he
disarmed and allowed to go home in charge of their own crews, carrying
also the other prisoners, all of whom were paroled. One captain, whom
he found cruising as a privateer without a commission as such, he put in
irons, to be tried as a pirate when the _Essex_ should return home. In
that six months, Porter and {296}Downes had captured four thousand tons
of British shipping, taking four hundred prisoners; and as they could
now hear of no more in that part of the Pacific, they went in October to
the Marquesas Islands, to refit their vessels and let the crews have a
rest and a run on shore.

There in the beautiful harbor of Nukahiva they made repairs and wooded
and watered at their leisure. Porter formally took possession of the
island in the name of the United States, called it Madison's Island, and
the harbor Massachusetts Bay, and built a fort on the shore, in which
he mounted four guns. Near the fort he constructed a small village,
consisting of six houses, a rope-walk, a bakery, and other buildings,
which he named Madisonville.

His "Journal" gives an interesting account of their life for four or
five weeks among the natives of that romantic and then almost unknown
group. One of the most exciting incidents of it was a war between two
tribes--the Happahs and the Typees--occupying different parts of the
island. All the tribes of the island except the Typees had made a sort
of treaty of friendship and alliance with Porter. As he and his men
were guests of the Happahs, and the Typees had begun to treat them as
enemies, Porter felt obliged to join in the war, when the superiority
of the fire-arms over the native {297}weapons ended it in the disastrous
defeat of the Typees. But this was not accomplished without severe
fighting, in which the Typees exhibited the most determined courage, and
a great degree of military skill, making the best of such weapons and
advantages as they had. Porter's campaign in the Typee valley is one of
the most singular episodes in all the annals of war, and the reader will
probably be interested in some passages from his account of it, though
it has no necessary connection with the subject to which this volume is
devoted.

"We arrived at the Typee landing at sunrise, and were joined by ten
war-canoes from the Happahs. The _Essex Junior_ soon after arrived and
anchored. The tops of all the neighboring mountains were covered with
the Taeeh and Happah warriors, armed with their spears, clubs, and
slings. The beach was covered with the warriors who came with the
canoes, and who joined us from the hills. Our force did not amount to
a less number than five thousand men; but not a Typee or any of their
dwellings were to be seen. For the whole length of the beach, extending
upward of a quarter of a mile, was a clear level plain which extended
back about one hundred yards. A high and almost impenetrable swampy
thicket bordered on this plain, and {298}the only trace we could
perceive which, we were informed, led to the habitations, was a narrow
pathway which winded through the swamp.

"The canoes were all hauled on the beach, the Taeehs on the right, the
Happahs on the left, and our four boats in the centre. We only
waited for reënforcements from the Essex Junior, our interpreter, our
ambassadors, and Gattanewa [chief of the Happahs], I went on board to
hasten them on shore, and on my return to the beach I found everyone in
arms. The Typees had appeared in the bushes, and had pelted our people
with stones while they were quietly eating their breakfast.

"I had a man with me who had intermarried with the Typees, and was
privileged to go among them, and I furnished him with a white flag and
sent him to tell them I had come to offer peace, but was prepared for
war. In a few minutes he came running back, and informed me he had met
in the bushes an ambuscade of Typees, who had threatened to put him to
death if he again ventured among them. In an instant afterward a shower
of stones came from the bushes, and at the same moment one of the Typees
darted across the pathway and was shot through the leg, but was carried
off by his friends.

"Lieutenant Downes arrived with his men, and I {299}gave the order to
march. We entered the bushes, and were at every instant assailed by
spears and stones, which came from different parts of the enemy in
ambuscade. We could hear the snapping of the slings, the whistling of
the stones; the spears came quivering by us, but we could not perceive
from whom they came. No enemy was to be seen, not a whisper was to be
heard among them.

"We had advanced about a mile, and came to a small opening on the bank
of a river, from the thicket on the opposite side of which we were
assailed with a shower of stones, when Lieutenant Downes received a blow
which shattered the bone of his left leg, and he fell. The allied tribes
sat as silent observers of our operations; the sides of the mountains
were still covered with them, and I as well as the Taeehs had no slight
grounds to doubt the fidelity of the Happahs. A defeat would have sealed
our destruction.

"The Indians began to leave us, and all depended on our own exertions.
I directed Mr. Shaw with four men to escort Lieutenant Downes to the
beach, which reduced the number of my men to twenty-four. We soon came
to a place for fording the river, in the thick bushes of the opposite
bank of which the Typees made a bold stand. We endeavored in vain to
clear the bushes with our musketry. {300}The stones and spears flew with
augmented numbers. I directed a volley to be fired, three cheers to be
given, and to dash across the river. We soon gained the opposite bank,
and continued our march, rendered still more difficult by the underwood,
which was here so interlaced as to make it necessary sometimes to crawl
on our hands and knees.

"On emerging from the swamp, we perceived a strong and extensive wall
of seven feet in height, raised on an eminence crossing our road, and
flanked on each side by an impenetrable thicket. In an instant afterward
we were assailed by such a shower of stones, accompanied by the most
horrid yells, as left no doubt that we had here to encounter their
principal strength. A tree which afforded shelter from their stones
enabled me, accompanied by Lieutenant Gamble, to annoy them as they
rose above the wall to throw at us; but these were the only muskets that
could be employed to advantage.

"Finding we could not dislodge them, I gave orders for taking the place
by storm. But some of my men had expended all their cartridges, few
had more than three or four remaining, and our only safety depended on
holding our ground till we could procure a fresh supply. I despatched
Lieutenant Gamble and four men to the _Essex Junior_, and from the time
of their departure we were chiefly occupied {301}in eluding the stones,
which came with redoubled force and numbers. Three of my men were
knocked down by them. As a feint, we retreated a few paces, and in
an instant the Indians rushed on us with hideous yells. The first and
second that advanced were killed at the distance of a few paces, and
those who attempted to carry them off were wounded. They abandoned their
dead, and precipitately retreated to their fort. Taking advantage of the
terror they were thrown into, we marched off with our wounded, returning
to the beach much fatigued and with no contemptible opinion of the
enemy.

"The next day I determined to proceed with a force which I believed they
could not resist, and selected two hundred men from the _Essex_, the
_Essex Junior_, and the prizes. As some of the boats were leaky, I
determined to go by land, over the mountain ridge. We had a fine,
moonlight night, and I hoped to be down in the Typee valley long before
daylight.

"Not a whisper was heard from one end of the line to the other. Our
guides marched in front, and we followed in silence up and down the
steep sides of rocks and mountains, through rivulets, thickets, and
reed-brakes, and by the sides of precipices which sometimes caused us to
shudder. At twelve o'clock we could hear the drums beating in {302}the
Typee valley, accompanied by loud singing, and the number of lights
in different parts of it induced me to believe they were rejoicing.
I inquired the cause, and was informed by the Indians that they were
celebrating the victory they had obtained over us, and calling on
their gods to give them rain in order that it might render our bouhier
[muskets] useless.

"The Indians told us it would be impossible to descend without daylight;
and when it was light enough to see down the valley, we were surprised
at the height and steepness. A narrow pathway pointed out the track, but
it was soon lost among the cliffs. Before I left the hill, I determined
by firing a volley to show the natives that our muskets had not received
as much injury as they had expected from the rain. As soon as they heard
the report, and discovered our number, which, with the multitude of
Indians of both tribes who had now assembled, was very numerous, they
shouted, beat their drums, and blew their war-conchs from one end of the
valley to the other; and what with the squealing of the hogs, which they
now began to catch, the screaming of the women and children, and the
yelling of the men, the din was horrible.

"We descended with great difficulty into the village of the Happahs,
where everything bore the ap{303}pearance of a hostile disposition on
their part. I sent for their chief, and required to know if they were
hostilely disposed. I told him it was necessary we should have something
to eat, and that I expected his people to bring us hogs and fruit, and
if they did not do so, I should be under the necessity of sending out
parties to shoot the hogs and cut down their fruit-trees, as our people
were too fatigued to climb them. I also directed that they should lay by
their spears and clubs. No notice being taken of these demands, I caused
many of their spears and clubs to be taken from them and broken, and
sent parties out to shoot hogs, while others were employed in cutting
down cocoanut and banana trees until we had a sufficient supply. The
chiefs and people now became intimidated, and brought baked hogs in
greater abundance than was required.

"At daylight next morning the line of march was formed. On ascending the
ridge where we had passed such a disagreeable night, we halted to take
breath, and view for a few minutes the delightful valley which was soon
to become a scene of desolation. We had a distant view of every part.
The valley was about nine miles in length, and three or four in breadth,
surrounded on every part, except the beach, by lofty mountains. The
upper part {304}was bounded by a precipice many hundred feet in height,
from the top of which a handsome sheet of water was precipitated,
and formed a beautiful river which ran meandering through the valley.
Villages were scattered here and there; the bread-fruit and cocoanut
trees flourished luxuriantly and in abundance; plantations laid out
in good order, enclosed with stone walls, were in a high state of
cultivation; and everything bespoke industry, abundance, and happiness.
Never in my life did I witness a more delightful scene or experience
more repugnance than I now felt for the necessity which compelled me to
punish a happy and heroic people.

"A large assembly of Typee warriors were posted on the opposite banks
of the river, and dared us to descend. In their rear was a fortified
village, secured by strong stone walls. Drums were beating and
war-conchs sounding, and we soon found they were making every effort to
oppose us.

"As soon as we reached the foot of the mountain we were annoyed by a
shower of stones from the bushes and from behind stone walls. After
resting a few minutes, I directed the scouting parties to gain the
opposite bank of the river, and followed with the main body. The
fortified village was taken without loss on our side; but their
chief warrior and another were killed, and several wounded. They
{305}retreated only to stone walls on higher ground, where they
continued to sling their stones and throw their spears. Three of my men
were wounded, and many of the Typees killed, before we dislodged them.

"Parties were sent out to scour the woods, and another fort was taken
after some resistance; but the party, overpowered by numbers, were
compelled to retreat to the main body, after keeping possession of it
half an hour. We were waiting, in the fort first taken, for the return
of our scouting parties. A multitude of Tayees and Happahs were with
us, and many were on the outskirts of the village, seeking for plunder.
Lieutenant McKnight had driven a party from a strong wall on the high
ground, and had possession of it, when a large party of Typees, who had
been lying in ambush, rushed by his fire and darted into the fort with
their spears. The Tayeehs and Happahs all ran. The Typees approached
within pistol-shot, but on the first fire retreated precipitately,
crossing the fire of McKnight's party, and although none fell, we had
reason to believe that many were wounded. The spears and stones were
flying from the bushes in every direction; and although we killed and
wounded in this place great numbers of them, we were satisfied that we
should have to fight our way through the whole valley. {306}"I sent a
messenger to inform the Typees that we should cease hostilities when
they no longer made resistance, but so long as stones were thrown I
should destroy their villages. No notice was taken of this message.

"We continued our march up the valley, and met in our way several
beautiful villages, which we set on fire, and at length arrived at their
capital--for it deserves the name of one. We had been compelled to fight
every inch of ground, and here they made considerable opposition. The
place was soon carried, however, and I very reluctantly set fire to it.
The beauty and regularity of this place were such as to strike every
spectator with astonishment. Their public square was far superior to
any other we had met with. Numbers of their gods were here destroyed;
several large and elegant new war-canoes were burned in the houses that
sheltered them, and many of their drums were thrown into the flames. Our
Indians loaded themselves with plunder, after destroying bread-fruit and
other trees and all the young plants they could find. We had now arrived
at the upper end of the valley, about nine miles from the beach, and at
the foot of the waterfall above mentioned.

"After resting about half an hour, I directed the Indians to take care
of our wounded, and we formed {307}the line of march and proceeded down
the valley, in our route destroying several other villages, at all of
which we had some skirmishing. At one of these places, at the foot of
a steep hill, the enemy rolled down enormous stones, with a view of
crushing us to death. The number of villages destroyed amounted to ten;
and the destruction of trees and plants, and the plunder carried off by
the Indians, was almost incredible. The Typees fought us to the last,
and even at first harassed our rear on our return; but parties left in
ambush soon put a stop to further annoyance.

"We at length came to the formidable fort which checked our career on
our first day's enterprise, and although I had witnessed many instances
of the great exertion and ingenuity of these islanders, I never had
supposed them capable of contriving and erecting a work like this. It
formed the segment of a circle, and was about fifty yards in extent,
built of large stones, six feet thick at the bottom and gradually
narrowing to the top. On the left was a narrow entrance, merely
sufficient to admit one person's entering. The wings and rear were
equally guarded, and the right was flanked by another fortification
of greater magnitude and equal strength and ingenuity. I directed the
Indians and my own men to put their shoulders to the wall and endeavor
{308}to throw it down; but no impression could be made upon it. It
appeared of ancient date, and time alone can destroy it. We succeeded
in making a small breach, through which we passed on our route to the
beach,--a route which was familiar to us, but had now become doubly
intricate from the number of trees which had since been cut down and
placed across the pathway.

"The chiefs of the Happahs invited me to return to their valley,
assuring me that an abundance of everything was already provided for us;
and the girls, who had assembled in great numbers, dressed out in their
best attire, welcomed me with smiles. Gattanewa met me on the side of
the hill as I was ascending. The old man's heart was full; he could not
speak; he placed both my hands on his head, rested his forehead on my
knees, and after a short pause, raising himself, placed his hands on
my breast, and exclaimed _Gattanewa!_ and then on his own and said
_Apotee!_ [Porter] to remind me we had exchanged names.

"When I reached the summit of the mountain, I stopped to contemplate
that valley which in the morning we had viewed in all its beauty. A long
line of smoking ruins now marked our traces from one end to the other,
the opposite hills were covered with the unhappy fugitives, and the
whole presented {309}a scene of desolation and horror. Unhappy and
heroic people! the victims of your own courage and mistaken pride.
While the instruments of your fate shed the tear of pity over your
misfortunes, thousands of your countrymen--nay, brethren of the same
family--triumphed in your distresses.

"The day of our return was devoted to rest. But a messenger was
despatched to the Typees to inform them I was still willing to make
peace, and that I should not allow them to return to their valley until
they had come on terms of friendship with us, and exchanged presents.
They readily consented to the terms, and requested to know the number
of hogs I should require. I told them I should expect from them four
hundred, which they assured me should be delivered without delay.

"Flags were now sent from all the other tribes, with large presents of
hogs and fruit, and peace was established throughout the island. The
chiefs, the priests, and the principal persons of the tribes were very
solicitous of forming a relationship with me by an exchange of names
with some of my family. Some wished to bear the name of my brother, my
son-in-law, my brother-in-law, etc., and when all the male stock were
exhausted, they as anxiously solicited the names of the other sex. The
name of my son, however, was more desired than any other, {310}and many
old men, whose long gray beards rendered their appearance venerable,
were known by the name of _Pickaneenee Apotee_; the word 'pickaninny'
having been introduced among them by the sailors."

Captain Porter was undoubtedly sincere in the belief that what he had
done was a necessity of war. But when we consider that it arose simply
from the refusal of a people, standing on their own ground, to enter
into a treaty of amity with strangers whose language they could not
speak, and whose purposes they did not understand, it looks as if the
captain had imposed a pretty heavy penalty for a small offence,
and given the unfortunate Typees as unfair treatment as he himself
experienced a few months later in the harbor of Valparaiso.

Meanwhile, Captain Porter had learned that an English frigate had been
sent out to stop his career; and as whalers had now become scarce, and
he had taken as many prizes as he could well manage, after refitting at
the Marquesas Islands, he sailed in search of his enemy. The truth was,
Captain James Hillyar, of the British navy, was looking for him with
_two_ ships, the _Phoebe_ and the _Cherub_, mounting respectively
fifty-three and twenty-eight guns; and there is good reason to believe
that the Admiralty had sent him out with stringent orders to find and
{311}destroy or capture the _Essex_ at all hazards. He found her at
Valparaiso, and blockaded her there for six weeks. On one occasion the
_Essex_ and the _Phoebe_ almost fouled, through the fault of the latter,
and Porter called away his boarders and in a moment more would have been
on the Englishman's deck; but Hillyar protested so earnestly that he had
no intention of attacking in a neutral port, that he was permitted to
withdraw from his suspicious position. Had Porter been more shrewd and
less chivalrous, he would perhaps have seen that there was no way to
account for the position of the _Phoebe_, except on the supposition that
Hillyar was intending to carry the _Essex_ by boarding, had he not found
her commander and crew too ready for him. That he cared nothing for the
neutrality of the port, was demonstrated by his subsequent conduct.

After vainly offering battle on equal terms, Porter, on the 28th of
March, attempted to put to sea. But his ship was struck by a heavy
squall, which carried away the main-top-mast. Being pursued by the
_Phoebe_ and _Cherub_, he tacked about, reentered the harbor, and
anchored within pistol-shot of the shore. Paying not the slightest
regard to the neutrality of the port, the enemy followed the _Essex_,
took a position under her stern, and opened fire. Even under this
disadvantage, Porter got three long {312}guns out at the stern ports,
and fought them so skilfully that in half an hour both the _Phoebe_
and the _Cherub_ drew off for repairs. They next took a position on
the starboard quarter, out of reach of the carronades that composed
the Essex's broadside, and fired at her with their long guns. Under his
flying jib, the only sail he could set, Porter ran down upon the enemy,
and after a short and intense action at close range, drove off the
_Cherub_. But the _Phoebe_ edged away again out of reach of his
carronades, and kept up a steady fire from her long guns. The slaughter
on board the _Essex_ was sickening. At one gun, three whole crews were
swept away in succession. Says Captain Porter, in his 'Journal', "I
was informed that the cockpit, the steerage, the ward-room, and the
berth-deck could contain no more wounded; that the wounded were killed
while the surgeons were dressing them; and that, unless something was
speedily done to prevent it, the ship would soon sink from the number of
shot-holes in her bottom."

The captain next tried to run her ashore; but while she was still nearly
a mile from the land, the wind suddenly shifted. A hawser was bent to
the sheet anchor, and the ship swung round so as to bring her broadside
to bear on the enemy, but the hawser soon parted. Indeed, she had
anchored in {313}the first place with springs on her cables, but the
springs had been repeatedly shot away. *

With all these misfortunes, the ship took fire, and as the flames burst
up the hatchways Porter ordered all who could swim to jump overboard and
strike out for the shore, as the boats had been destroyed by the enemy's
shot. The flames were extinguished; but the Essex was now a wreck,
deliberately raked by every discharge from her antagonist, and the
colors were struck. The _Essex Junior_ had been in no condition to
assist in the fight, but was included in the surrender. Out of two
hundred and fifty-five men, Porter had lost one hundred and fifty-four
in killed, wounded, or missing. Hillyar reported the loss on his two
ships as five killed and ten wounded.

The battle had been witnessed by thousands of people on shore. So near
were the vessels to land a part of the time, that many of the _Phoebe's_
shot struck the beach. The United States Consul, Joel R. Poinsett,
protested to the Chilian authorities

* A "spring" of this sort is a rope, one end of which is attached to the
cable and the other end carried to the after part of the ship, so that
by hauling upon it she can be swung round to point her broadside in
any desired direction. A high authority--Farragut--says one of Porter's
serious mistakes in this action was in fastening the springs to the
cable, when they should have been fastened to the anchor, which would
have carried the greater part of them below the surface of the water,
out of the reach of shot.

{314}against the violation of neutrality, and demanded that the
batteries protect the _Essex_; but he received no satisfactory answer,
and took the first opportunity of leaving the country. Captain Porter
estimated that it had cost the British Government nearly six million
dollars to possess his ship.

Among the crew of the _Essex_ was a midshipman twelve years old, who
subsequently became the greatest of all naval commanders, David G.
Farragut.

In his "Journal" he describes vividly the battle and the part he took
in it. Some passages will be of interest here, as they present pictures
seldom found in the descriptions of such contests:

"I well remember the feelings of awe produced in me by the approach of
the hostile ships; even to my young mind it was perceptible in the faces
of those around me, as clearly as possible, that our case was hopeless.
It was equally apparent that all were ready to die at their guns, rather
than surrender; and such I believe to have been the determination of the
crew, almost to a man. There had been so much bantering of each other
between the men of the ships, through the medium of letters and songs,
with an invariable fight between the boats' crews when they met on
shore, that a very hostile sentiment was engendered. Our flags were
flying from every mast, and the enemy's vessels displayed {315}their
ensigns, jacks, and motto-flags, as they bore down grandly to the
attack.

"I performed the duties of captain's aid, quarter-gunner, powder-boy,
and in fact did everything that was required of me. I shall never forget
the horrid impression made upon me by the sight of the first man I
had ever seen killed. He was a boatswain's mate, and was fearfully
mutilated. It staggered and sickened me at first; but they soon began to
fall around me so fast that it all appeared like a dream, and produced
no effect on my nerves. I can remember well, while I was standing near
the captain, just abaft the mainmast, a shot came through the water-ways
and glanced upward, killing four men who were standing by the side of
the gun, taking the last one in the head and scattering his brains over
both of us. But this awful sight did not affect me half as much as
the death of the first poor fellow. I neither thought of nor noticed
anything but the working of the guns.

"On one occasion Midshipman Isaacs came up to the captain and reported
that a quarter-gunner named Roach had deserted his post. The only reply
of the captain, addressed to me, was, 'Do your duty, sir.' I seized a
pistol and went in pursuit of the fellow, but did not find him.

"Soon after this, some gun-primers were wanted. {316}and I was sent
after them. In going below, while I was on the ward-room ladder, the
captain of the gun directly opposite the hatchway was struck full in the
face by an eighteen-pound shot, and fell back on me. We tumbled down the
hatch together. I struck on my head, and fortunately he fell on my hips.
As he was a man of at least two hundred pounds' weight, I would have
been crushed to death if he had fallen directly across my body. I lay
for some moments stunned by the blow, but soon recovered consciousness
enough to rush up on deck. The captain, seeing me covered with blood,
asked if I was wounded, to which I replied, 'I believe not, sir.'
'Then,' said he, 'where are the primers?' This first brought me
completely to my senses, and I ran below again and carried the primers
on deck. When I came up the second time, I saw the captain fall, and in
my turn ran up and asked if he was wounded. He answered me almost in the
same words, 'I believe not, my son; but I felt a blow on the top of my
head.' He must have been knocked down by the windage of a passing shot.

"When my services were not required for other purposes, I generally
assisted in working a gun; would run and bring powder from the boys, and
send them back for more, until the captain wanted me to carry a message.
{317}"I have already remarked how soon I became accustomed to scenes
of blood and death during the action; but after the battle had ceased,
when, on going below, I saw the mangled bodies of my shipmates, dead and
dying, groaning and expiring with the most patriotic sentiments on their
lips, I became faint and sick. As soon as I recovered from the first
shock, however, I hastened to assist the surgeon. Among the badly
wounded was one of my best friends, Lieutenant J. G. Cowell. When I
spoke to him he said, 'O Davy, I fear it is all up with me.' I found
that he had lost a leg just above the knee, and the doctor informed
me that his life might have been saved if he had consented to the
amputation of the limb an hour before; but when it was proposed to drop
another patient and attend to him, he replied, 'No, doctor, none of
that; fair play is a jewel. One man's life is as dear as another's; I
would not cheat any poor fellow out of his turn.' Thus died one of the
best officers and bravest men among us.

"It was wonderful to find dying men, who had hardly ever attracted
notice among the ship's company, uttering sentiments worthy of a
Washington. You might have heard in all directions, 'Don't give her
up, Logan!'--a sobriquet for Porter--'Hurrah for liberty!' and similar
expressions. A young {318}Scotchman named Bissley had one leg shot off
close to the groin. He used his handkerchief for a tourniquet, and said
to his comrades, 'I left my own country and adopted the United States,
to fight for her. I hope I have this day proved myself worthy of the
country of my adoption. I am no longer of any use to you or to her, so
good-by!' With these words, he leaned on the sill of the port and threw
himself overboard.

"Lieutenant Wilmer, who had been sent forward to let go the sheet
anchor, was knocked overboard by a shot. After the action, his little
Negro boy, Ruff, came on deck and asked me what had become of his
master, and when I imparted to him the sad news, he deliberately jumped
into the sea and was drowned.

"I went on board the _Phoebe_ about 8 A.M. on the 29th, and was ushered
into the steerage. I was so mortified at our capture that I could not
refrain from tears. While in this uncomfortable state, I was aroused
by hearing a young reefer call out, 'A prize! a prize! Ho, boys, a fine
grunter, by Jove!' I saw at once that he had under his arm a pet pig
belonging to our ship, called Murphy. I claimed the animal as my own.
'Ah,' said he, 'but you are a prisoner, and your pig also.' 'We always
respect private property,' I replied, and as I {319}had seized hold of
Murphy I determined not to let go, unless compelled by superior force.
This was fun for the oldsters, who immediately sung out, 'Go it, my
little Yankee! If you can thrash Shorty, you shall have your pig!'
'Agreed!' said I. A ring was formed, and at it we went. I soon found
that my antagonist's pugilistic education did not come up to mine. In
fact, he was no match for me, and was compelled to give up the pig. So I
took Master Murphy under my arm, feeling that I had in some degree
wiped out the disgrace of our defeat." Porter and his surviving men were
paroled, and the _Essex Junior_ was converted into a cartel, in which
they were sent home to New York. When she was within about thirty miles
of her destination, she was overhauled by a British war-vessel and
detained all night, which by the terms of the agreement with Captain
Hillyar absolved them from their parole. In the morning Captain Porter
with a few men left the ship in a small boat, unnoticed, and pulled for
shore, landing at Babylon, Long Island, about sunset. He was immediately
made a prisoner by the militia; but when he exhibited his commission,
they fired a salute of twenty-one guns and furnished a horse and cart to
carry his boat. On reaching New York, he received a grand ovation, and
as he rode through the streets the people unhitched {320}his horses
and drew the carriage themselves. Thus ended one of the most exciting,
varied, and romantic cruises ever made by a modern sailor.

On the 29th of April the American sloop-of-war _Peacock_, carrying
eighteen guns and commanded by Captain Lewis Warrington, was cruising
off the coast of Florida when she sighted the British brig-of-war
_Epervier,_ eighteen guns, convoying three merchantmen. The two
men-of-war hauled up for action, and after a battle of forty-two minutes
the English flag was struck. The _Epervier_ had lost twenty-two men
killed or wounded, her rigging was badly cut up, and there was five feet
of water in the hold, more than forty shot having entered her hull. The
_Peacock_, which was much heavier than her antagonist, had received
very little injury, and but two of her crew were wounded. The prize had
$118,000 in specie on board. Soon after this the _Peacock_ cruised in
the Bay of Biscay and along the coast of Portugal, and captured fourteen
merchantmen.

Captain Johnston Blakeley, in the _Wasp_, a sister ship to the
_Peacock_, sailed from Portsmouth, N. H., for a cruise in the chops of
the English Channel. At daylight on the 28th of June he sighted two sail
on the lee beam and one on the weather beam. Avoiding the former, he
made for the latter, which proved to be the British brig _Reindeer_,
of eighteen {321}guns. There was considerable manoeuvring for the
weather-gauge, but the Englishman succeeded in keeping it, and by three
o'clock had come within sixty yards. At that short distance she had
five shots at the Wasp, with a shifting carronade, firing round shot
and grape, before the Wasp could bring a single gun to bear on her. But
Blakeley then made a half-board, and by firing from aft forward finally
brought every gun into use. This was too heavy for the _Reindeer_, and
she ran into the _Wasp_ and attempted to board, her crew being led by
Captain Manners in person. But every attempt was repelled by the crew of
the _Wasp_, and when Captain Blakeley ordered them in turn to board the
enemy, they were on her deck and the British flag was hauled down in one
minute. The whole action had lasted but half an hour. The _Reindeer_ had
lost twenty-five killed, including her captain, and forty-two wounded;
the _Wasp_, five killed and twenty-two wounded. The upper half of the
hull of the Reindeer was a complete wreck, and she had to be burned. A
few weeks later, September 1st, the _Wasp_, after making three prizes,
discovered four sail and bore up for the most weatherly of them. Between
nine and ten o'clock at night the two ships came close together, and
broadsides were exchanged till the enemy became silent. Blakeley hailed,
and {322}was answered that she surrendered. She was the British brig
_Avon_, of eighteen guns. But before the Americans had taken possession
of her, another British man-of-war came up. The _Wasp_ made ready to
engage her; but before she could do so, two others appeared, and she
then put up her helm and ran off before the wind. It was afterward
learned that the _Avon_ had sunk, and her consort with difficulty
rescued the survivors of her crew. In the next twenty days the _Wasp_
took three prizes, and then, continuing her cruise, was never heard from
again.

One of the bloodiest sea-fights of this year took place in the harbor
of Fayal, Azores. The American privateer _General Armstrong_, carrying
fourteen guns and ninety men, commanded by Captain Samuel C. Reid, put
in there for water on the 26th of September. A few hours later, three
British war-vessels--the _Plantagenet, Carnation, and Rota_--entered
the harbor. It was a neutral port, but they cared no more for its
neutrality than Hillyar had cared for that of Valparaiso.

In the evening, under a full moon, four armed boats were sent from these
vessels to cut out the privateer. As they approached her, they were
warned off several times, but paid no attention to it, and attempted
to board. Reid then opened fire on them, and drove them off with heavy
loss. For {323}greater security, the _Armstrong_ was hauled up close to
the fort, and moored. The Governor remonstrated with Captain Van Lloyd,
commander of the English fleet; to which the captain answered that he
was determined to destroy the privateer, and if the fort protected her
he would bombard the town till not a house was left standing.

At midnight the _Armstrong_ was attacked again, this time by fourteen
launches, each carrying about fifty men. Reid promptly opened his
broadside on them, with terrible effect; yet two or three of them
succeeded in reaching the vessel, and the crew then met them with
cutlass and pistol, and scarcely a man in them was left alive. A letter
written from Fayal at the time, by an Englishman, says the officers in
charge of the boats cheered on their men with a shout of "No quarter!"
and that "the Americans fought with great firmness, but more like
bloodthirsty savages than anything else. They rushed into the boats,
sword in hand, and put every soul to death, as far as came within their
power. Several boats floated on shore, full of dead bodies."

Next morning, the _Carnation_ sailed in and engaged the _Armstrong_; but
after a short action she was badly cut up and obliged to haul off for
repairs. Several guns on the _Armstrong_ had been dismounted; and as
Captain Reid now saw that her {324}ultimate destruction was certain, he
cut away her masts, blew a hole in her bottom, and went ashore with his
men. Two of the crew had been killed, and seven wounded. The ascertained
loss of the British was one hundred and twenty killed and ninety
wounded.

After burning the abandoned wreck, Van Lloyd demanded of the Governor
that the gallant little crew he had failed to capture should be given
up to him as prisoners. This modest request was of course refused,
and Captain Reid and his men then took possession of an old convent,
declaring that they would defend themselves to the last. But they were
not molested.

The vessel that was despatched to England to take home the British
sailors wounded in this action, was not permitted to carry a single
letter from anybody. Indeed, not only this affair, says Cobbett in his
"Letters," but the loss of the _Avon_, the battle of Plattsburg,
and other actions not creditable to the English arms, were carefully
concealed from the English public. At the demand of Portugal, the
British Government apologized for the violation of neutrality; but the
owners of the _Armstrong_ never obtained any indemnity.

This was the last naval action before the declaration of peace; but as
that declaration did not imme{325}diately reach the cruisers at
sea, three others were fought. On the 15th of January, 1815, Commodore
Decatur, in the _President_, had a prolonged battle with the frigate
_Endymion_, off Long Island, and reduced her to a wreck. But two other
British cruisers came up, and he was compelled to surrender.

He had lost eighty men killed or wounded. On the 20th of February, the
_Constitution_, Captain Charles Stewart, off the coast of Portugal,
captured both the _Cyane_, of thirty-four guns, and the _Levant_, of
twenty-one, after a battle of forty minutes, in which he lost fifteen
men, and inflicted a loss of about forty. The _Levant_ was subsequently
recaptured by three English cruisers, while she was in Port Praya,
another neutral harbor. On the 23d of March, the American brig _Hornet_,
Captain James Biddle, and the British brig _Penguin_, Captain Dickenson,
being almost exactly matched in men and metal, fought a battle of
twenty-two minutes' duration, off the island of Tristan d'Acunha, at the
close of which the _Penguin_, having lost forty-two men and been badly
crippled, surrendered. Her commander was killed. The _Hornet_ had one
man killed and ten wounded. This was the last of what the London _Times_
had fallen into the habit of calling "the painful events at sea."



CHAPTER XIX. THE HARTFORD CONVENTION.

{326}

_Attitude of the Federalists, Real and Imputed--The Convention at
Hartford--Its Popular Reputation--What General Scott did not say at
Chippewa._


|When a destructive war had been carried on for two years, when
recruiting was slow, and the Government heavily in debt, and yet no way
appeared but to fight it out, it might have been expected that harsh
criticism of the policy of the Administration, coming from the party
that had steadily opposed the war, would subject that party to the
charge of being unpatriotic and untrue to the Union. It might also have
been expected that an opposition which had become chronic could not but
become in some respects unjust. So when the Federalists in 1814 were
flooding the Legislatures of New England with memorials on the conduct
of the war, they could hardly restrain themselves from overdrawing the
picture of its failures, or from representing the condition of things
before the war as rather more paradisiacal than anybody had suspected.
And on the other hand, they were accused not only of {327}rejoicing
in defeats of the national arms, but of plotting a separation of New
England from the other States, with a view of ultimately making her
again a part of the British Empire. That there were some Federalists who
contemplated a dissolution of the Union as a possible remedy for certain
difficulties, is quite probable, for such views were at that time not
confined to either party. The contingency of disunion was frequently
discussed by men of both parties. But that anybody seriously
contemplated a reunion with England, there has never been any evidence
worth considering. The story was gotten up by the Administration party,
in order to cast odium upon the Federalists; and the occurrence most
freely used to give color to it was the Hartford Convention, which
unfortunately sat with closed doors, and thus was easily misrepresented
as a treasonable gathering.

In the third year of the war the hand of the enemy had fallen heavily
upon the coast of New England, and at the same time an unpleasant
feeling had arisen from the refusal of the United States Government to
pay the militia that had been in service under State officers. In this
crisis, the Legislature of Massachusetts, on the 16th of October, by a
vote of 260 to 90, passed a series of resolutions, the fifth of which
authorized the calling of a con{328}vention to confer "upon the
subject of their [the New England States] public grievances and
concerns; and upon the best means of preserving our resources; and of
defence against the enemy; and to devise and suggest for adoption by
those respective States such measures as they may deem expedient; and
also to take measures, if they shall think it proper, for procuring a
convention of delegates from all the United States, in order to revise
the Constitution thereof, and more effectually to secure the support
and attachment of all the people, by placing all upon the basis of fair
representation." The letter addressed to the governors of other States
set forth the general objects of the proposed conference to be, "to
deliberate upon the dangers to which the eastern section of the Union is
exposed by the course of the war, and to devise, if practicable, means
of security and defence which may be consistent with the preservation of
their resources from total ruin, and adapted to their local situation,
mutual relations, and habits, and not repugnant to their obligations as
members of the Union."

In response to this call, a convention of twenty-six delegates met at
Hartford, Conn., December 15th, and sat for three weeks. All sorts of
absurd rumors as to the purpose of the Convention were set {329}afloat,
and the President so far participated in the vague fears thus excited,
or pretended to, as to station a regiment of troops in Hartford.

On the 5th of January, 1815, the Convention adjourned, and published a
long report, wherein were set forth the difficulties that the country
labored under, and methods proposed by the Convention for adjusting
them. These were first discussed at length, and then summarized in a
series of resolutions: That unconstitutional drafts of militia should
be prevented; that the New England States should be empowered to defend
their own territory against the enemy; that representatives and direct
taxes should be apportioned among the States according to the number
of their free inhabitants; that a two-third vote of Congress should be
required to admit a new State; that embargoes for more than sixty days
should be forbidden; that a two-third Congressional vote should be
required for the interdiction of commercial intercourse, or for the
declaration of offensive war; that naturalized citizens should not be
eligible to Federal offices; that the President should be ineligible
for a second term, and should not be chosen from the same State twice
in succession; and, finally, that if these ends were not attained, and
peace not concluded, another convention should be held in Boston in the
following June. {330}This ought to have been plain enough for anybody
to understand; and yet allusions to "the old blue-lights of the Hartford
Convention," as a synonym for treason, have come down to our own day.
Its popularity as a bugbear has never been exceeded. So great was its
influence in this regard, that it caused General Scott to remember
something which had never taken place. In his account of the battle of
Chippewa he says: "And now the New England States were preparing to
hold a convention--it met at Hartford--perhaps to secede from the Union
--possibly to take up arms against it. Scott's brigade, nearly all New
England men, were most indignant, and this was the subject of the second
of the three pithy remarks made to them by Scott just before the final
conflict of Chippewa. Calling aloud to the gallant Major Hindman, he
said, 'Let us put down the Federal Convention by beating the enemy in
front. There's nothing in the Constitution against that.'" * There can
be no question as to the intrinsic pithiness of this remark; but if
Scott made it, he must have been somewhat of a prophet, for the
battle of Chippewa was fought on the 5th of July, and the call for the
Convention was not issued till October. This shows the danger of writing

* Scott's Memoirs, vol. i., page 133.

{331}memoirs half a century after the events of which they treat.

The great news from the South, and the tidings of peace, followed so
quickly upon the adjournment of the Convention that its labors went for
nought, its members were subjected to merciless ridicule, and the new
convention proposed for June was never held.



CHAPTER XX. THE CAMPAIGN ON THE GULF COAST.

{332}

_British Occupation of Pensacola--Negotiations with Lafitte--Expedition
against Mobile--Capture of Pensacola--Defence of New Orleans--The
Battles before the City--Defeat of the British--Losses._


|Though Pensacola was a Spanish town, in Spanish territory, the British
forces used it as a station for fitting out expeditions against Mobile
and New Orleans. Here they gathered arms and munitions of war; here
their vessels found safe anchorage in a spacious harbor, where they were
afforded every facility for refitting; and here the savage allies were
equipped for war and murder. The British commander sent an embassy to
Jean Lafitte, at Barataria Bay, offering him a captain's commission,
together with a free pardon for all his gang, and grants of land to
be carved out of such territory as might be conquered from the United
States, on condition that he and his men would assist with their fleet
the expeditions then fitting out. The English commander also hinted
darkly at something which he called "the blessings of the British
constitution"--probably meaning the abundant bone and muscle of a
beef-eater--as an additional inducement {333}to the famous little
Frenchman. Lafitte was commonly called a pirate, but that was not
precisely his character. He was a receiver of stolen goods captured by
half-piratical privateers, which he smuggled into New Orleans.
But, pirate or no pirate, he seems to have been too shrewd for the
Englishman. He appeared to acquiesce till he obtained the terms in black
and white, and then despatched the letters to Governor Claiborne
of Louisiana, together with one in which he offered his services
in defending the coast against the British, on condition that the
proscription of himself and his adherents be terminated by an act of
oblivion. The Governor laid the letters before a council of military
and naval officers, who decided that they were forgeries and Lafitte a
scoundrel. Consequently an expedition under Commodore Patterson was
sent against him, by which his establishment was broken up, nine of his
vessels were seized, and many of his men made prisoners.

One morning in July, General Jackson was presented with a new English
musket, brought to his headquarters by a friendly Indian who had
received it from the Creeks at Appalachicola. This told an alarming
story, which the General at once communicated to Governor Claiborne
and the Secretary of War. Of the latter he asked permission to make a
{334}descent upon Pensacola. Before an answer was received, Jackson
was joined by new levies of troops from Tennessee, which he hurried to
Mobile.

On Mobile Point, commanding the entrance to the bay, stood a ruinous
earthwork known as Fort Bowyer. Major William Lawrence, with a garrison
of one hundred and sixty men, took possession of this, and proceeded
to put it in shape for defence. On the 12th of September, the British
landed a detachment of marines and six hundred Indians on the peninsula
of which Mobile Point is the extremity, and a few hours later four
war-vessels, under Captain Percy, appeared at the entrance of the bay.
Two or three days were passed in feeble demonstrations on the land side,
and attempts to sound the channel; but on the afternoon of the 15th the
fleet sailed up in line, dropped anchor in the channel, and opened the
battle. For an hour the firing was incessant; it ceased for a moment
when the colors of the flag-ship _Hermes_ were shot away; but was soon
renewed, when a chance shot cut the cable of the _Hermes_, the current
swung her bow-on to the fort, and for twenty minutes she was raked
mercilessly. She drifted down the channel and ran aground, when Captain
Percy abandoned her and set her on fire. Another vessel was crippled and
driven off, and the other two then withdrew.

{335}The simultaneous assaults of the marines and Indians had been met
and repelled with a few discharges of grape. In this action the garrison
lost four men killed and four wounded; the British official report
acknowledged a loss of thirty-two killed and forty wounded.

Early in November, Jackson, with three thousand men, marched on
Pensacola, where he proposed to garrison the forts till the Spanish
authorities were able to maintain for themselves the neutrality of the
port. This proposition being rejected by the Spanish Governor, Jackson's
men charged into the town and captured a battery, and took possession.
That night Fort Barrancas, commanding the entrance to the harbor, was
blown up, and the British vessels sailed away.

Hurrying back to Mobile, where he feared a second attack, Jackson
learned of the revelations of Lafitte and was urged to go to the defence
of New Orleans. He arrived in that city on the 2d of December, was
enthusiastically welcomed, and at once set to work to prepare it for
defence. He called out the Louisiana militia, appealed to the free
negroes, released and enrolled convicts whose terms were within two
months of expiration, accepted the services of Lafitte and his men,
assigning them to duty as artillerists, and ordered Coffee with his two
{336}thousand men to join him from Mobile. While looking anxiously for
new levies from Kentucky and Tennessee, who were to come by way of the
river, he fortified the city, and proclaimed martial law.

On the 10th of December the British fleet entered Lake Borgne, where on
the 14th it defeated and captured the American gunboats. On the 23d a
body of two thousand four hundred British troops reached the bank of
the Mississippi nine miles below New Orleans, and with two thousand one
hundred Jackson went down to meet them.

New Orleans was the largest prize which had been contended for in this
war. It was a city of twenty thousand inhabitants; and a hundred and
fifty thousand bales of cotton, worth two shillings a pound, were stored
there. But it was not so much its immediate pecuniary value that tempted
the enemy, as the commercial and strategical importance of its position,
for they expected not only to capture but to hold it permanently.
Lieutenant Gleig, author of "The Subaltern," who was connected with the
expedition, after describing the Mississippi and its tributaries, wrote:
"Whatever nation, therefore, chances to possess this place, possesses
in reality the command of a greater extent of country than is included
within the boundary line of the whole United States," and the London
_Times_, an{337}nouncing that all the disposable shipping had been
sent from Bermuda, to the Mississippi, added that, "most active measures
are pursuing for detaching from the dominion of the enemy an important
part of his territory."

Wellington's veterans, fresh from their victories in the Spanish
peninsula, were now before the city, and the inhabitants, knowing how
hasty had been the preparations for defence, trembled for its safety.
The expectation was, that, if captured, it would at once be sacked.

It was late in the day when Jackson moved to the attack. He sent Coffee
and his Tennesseeans to gain the right flank and rear of the enemy,
while the rest of his forces were to deploy across the narrow strip of
land between the river and a morass, and attack in front. The schooner
_Carolina_ was ordered to move down to a point opposite the British
left, and enfilade the position; her first discharge to be the signal
for the land attack. It was half-past seven o'clock when she opened the
battle with a broadside that tore through the British camp and swept
down a large number of men. The moon was young and obscured by clouds,
so that there was almost absolute darkness, except when the flashes
of the guns momentarily lighted up one or another part of the field.
{338}The two armies soon became intermingled, and, as one of the
participants wrote, "no man could tell what was going forward in any
quarter, except where he himself chanced immediately to stand; no one
part of the line could bring assistance to another, because in truth
no line existed." The fighting was mostly hand-to-hand; few of the
Americans had bayonets, but many carried long knives, and the most
ghastly wounds were given and received. Officers on either side would
gather little companies of men and go out into the darkness to find
the enemy; but when they had come in contact with an armed party like
themselves, it was often impossible to say whether they were friends or
foes.

After three hours of this bloody work, the Americans withdrew to works
four miles from the city. They had lost twenty-four killed, one hundred
and fifteen wounded, and seventy-four missing. General Keane's
official report made the British loss forty-six killed, one hundred and
sixty-seven wounded, and sixty-four missing. Lieutenant Gleig, in his
"Narrative," says, "Not less than five hundred men had fallen, many of
whom were our finest soldiers and best officers; and yet we could not
but consider ourselves fortunate in escaping from the toils, even at the
expense of so great a sacrifice." A journal found upon a British officer
{339}who was killed in the battle of January 8th, puts the loss in this
action at "two hundred and twenty-four killed, and an immense number
wounded."

Heavy reënforcements of British troops soon arrived, and with
them Generals Sir Edward Pakenham and Samuel Gibbs. Pakenham, a
brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, had won considerable
distinction in the Peninsular War. He found the army before New Orleans
in a pitiful plight. It was encamped on a strip of low and level land,
on one side a broad river where it had no vessels, and on the other
an almost impassable morass. In front were fortifications that were
continually being strengthened, and of the enemy behind them almost
nothing was known; while two armed vessels kept up day and night an
enfilading fire. With all this, alternate rain and frost left them
scarcely a comfortable hour.

Pakenham's first movement was to bring heavy guns and a furnace across
the peninsula by night, and plant them on the levee; from which on the
morning of the 27th he opened a fire with hot shot, and in half an hour
had driven the _Louisiana_ up stream and set the _Carolina_ on fire, so
that she was abandoned and blew up.

On the 28th he made a reconnoissance in force. As the left wing
approached the American lines, a {340}group of buildings which Jackson's
men had filled with combustibles was fired by a hot shot from one of
his guns, and amid the heat and smoke the British saw before them an
impassable ditch, from behind which a few pieces of artillery, handled
with the utmost skill, poured destruction through their ranks. The right
wing found the left of Jackson's position weak, effected a lodgment
within the lines, and might perhaps have changed the fortunes of the
campaign, had not its leader been instructed that this was to be a
reconnoissance, not a battle.

Pakenham now resolved upon regular siege operations, and brought thirty
guns from the fleet, which in the night of the 31st he mounted within
three hundred yards of the American lines. His troops were encamped in
the midst of sugar plantations, and a considerable portion of his new
ramparts was formed of hogsheads of sugar, set on end.

When day dawned, and the Americans saw thirty guns frowning down upon
them from high bastions that had risen as if by magic in the darkness,
the sight was rather appalling; but as soon as fire was opened upon
these apparently formidable works, it was seen that the balls passed
right through the hogsheads of sugar, and the whole fabric began to
crumble away. There was also a vulnerable element in Jackson's works;
for he had used cotton {341}bales as his enemy used sugar, and though
the cotton resisted the passage of a ball, it was easily set on fire,
and the bales knocked out of position.

Commodore Patterson had erected a battery on the opposite bank of the
Mississippi, to rake the ground held by the British, who at the same
time had erected one on the levee to oppose it. For an hour these guns
were all blazing at once; and when the firing ceased and the smoke
rolled away, it was found that the British works had been completely
ruined, and seventy of their men killed or wounded; the American works
were not seriously damaged, but they had lost thirty-four men.

Jackson made haste to throw away his cotton bales, supply their place
with earth, and construct a second line of works a mile and a half in
the rear, and for a week nervously awaited the next move of the enemy.
In that week he was joined by nearly three thousand Kentucky and
Louisiana militia; but as they were in rags and had scarcely a firelock
among them, they could hardly be considered a reënforcement. The British
were reenforced by two regiments under General John Lambert.

Pakenham's final plan was to send a heavy force across the river to
capture Patterson's batteries and turn them upon Jackson's lines, and
at the same time push forward the remainder of his force to as{342}sault
those lines in front, the advance guard to fill the ditch with fascines
and plant scaling-ladders against the ramparts. Preparatory to this, it
was necessary to dig a canal across the isthmus, to drag boats through
from Lake Borgne to the Mississippi, and this occupied his troops nearly
six days.

On Saturday, January 7th, Jackson stood upon the tallest building within
his lines, and through a large spy-glass which a planter had mounted
for him, saw the red-coats making fascines by binding up sheaves of
sugar-cane, and constructing ladders. At the same time, Pakenham was
surveying the American works from the top of a pine-tree.

The British general intended to make an attack on both sides of the
river simultaneously, before daylight on the 8th. But there was great
difficulty in navigating the canal, the sides of which had caved in;
only enough boats were brought through to carry over five hundred
troops, instead of fourteen hundred, and these were delayed several
hours. A detachment under Colonel Thornton embarked in them, but were
swept down by the current and reached the western shore far below the
intended landing-place.

Meanwhile the sun had risen, the fog was rolling away, Pakenham was
impatient, and before Thornton could get near his enemy he saw the
signal {343}rocket which announced the attack. The Americans understood
the signal quite as well as he did, and were ready to meet the shock.
One thirty-two pounder was loaded to the muzzle with musket-balls. A
deserter had told the British commander that the weak spot in Jackson's
line was the extreme left; true enough when he said it, but now that
spot was strengthened by two thousand Tennessee and Kentucky riflemen.
The heaviest attack was accordingly made at this point, a column of
three thousand men, under General Gibbs, moving against it. They were
to be preceded by an Irish regiment bearing the fascines and ladders.
At the same time, a column of one thousand moved along the river road,
under the cross-fire from Patterson's battery, to attack Jackson's
right. These were to be preceded by a West India black regiment with the
necessary fascines and ladders. Midway between stood nearly a thousand
Highlanders, under General Keane, ready to support either column, as
circumstances might require. The British had also a battery of six
eighteen-pounders; and, drawn up behind all, a considerable reserve.

The battle was what Bunker Hill would have been if the Americans had had
stronger works and plenty of ammunition. The beautiful British columns
moved forward only to be mowed down. When {344}the thirty-two pounder
discharged its musket-balls, the head of one column melted away before
it, two hundred men being disabled. Both the Irish and the Negro
regiment failed in their duty, so that when the main columns arrived at
the ditch they had no means of crossing, and the terrible blunder had to
be remedied under a continuous and withering fire. The ranks were badly
broken. Pakenham, trying to re-form them, was killed, falling into the
arms of Captain McDougall, the same officer who had caught General Ross
when he fell at North Point. General Gibbs was wounded mortally; General
Keane seriously. Colonel Dale fell at the head of the Highland regiment,
which was almost entirely destroyed. It went into the fight with over
nine hundred men, and came out with one hundred and forty. A major and a
lieutenant, with twenty men, crossed the ditch before the American left,
and the two officers mounted the breastwork. The major was instantly
riddled with bullets; the lieutenant demanded the swords of two officers
who confronted him, and was told to look behind him. He turned, and
saw, as he expressed it, that the men he supposed to be following "had
vanished as if the earth had opened and swallowed them up."

On the American right, the British carried a small outwork; but the
guns of the main line were turned {345}upon it and cleared it. Of this
column, only three men--a colonel, a major, and a captain--reached the
breastwork, and as they mounted they were all shot and tumbled into the
ditch together.

The action lasted but twenty-five minutes. Seven hundred of the British
were killed, fourteen hundred wounded, and five hundred prisoners. The
Americans lost four killed and thirteen wounded; in the entire campaign,
three hundred and thirty-three.

The force under Thornton, on the western bank of the river, carried the
American works, where but brief resistance was made, and were pursuing
the retreating militia, when news of the disaster on the other bank was
brought to Thornton, together with an order to return. He had lost a
hundred men, killed or wounded, and inflicted a loss of but six.

The 9th was spent, under an armistice, in burying the dead and caring
for the wounded. General Lambert then determined to withdraw to the
shipping and abandon the enterprise, but was ten days about it, during
which time his troops were annoyed by incessant cannonading by day
and "hunting parties" by night. The British fleet had entered the
Mississippi at its mouth, and from the 10th to the 17th bombarded Fort
St. Philip, seventy-five miles below New Orleans, but effected nothing,
and on the 18th withdrew. {346}



CHAPTER XXI. PEACE.

{346}

_The Treaty of Ghent--Treatment of Prisoners--Losses and Gains by the
War--Conclusion._


|Had there been an Atlantic cable, or even a transatlantic steamer, with
land telegraphs, in those days, the slaughter before New Orleans might
have been prevented; for a treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent
on the 24th of December, 1814. It made the usual stipulations for the
exchange of prisoners and the return of property, guaranteed peace to
the Indians, and provided for a settlement by commissioners of questions
as to boundary and the islands in Passamaquoddy Bay,--and it provided
for little else. The negotiations had been going on for five months,
and more than once were in danger of being broken off on account of the
insolent and supercilious bearing of the English Commissioners. So says
Adams in his diary.

At the outset, the British Commissioners had insisted that the Indians
should have a territory set off to them, as neutral ground between the
British and the American possessions, and that the United States should
have no armament on the great lakes {347}and no fortifications on their
shores, while Canada was not to be restricted. On the other hand, the
American Commissioners had insisted on formal abrogation of the right of
search and impressment. But all these points were ultimately given up.
As early as June the American Commissioners had been instructed by
the President that they might omit any stipulation on the subject of
impressment, if it was found indispensably necessary to do so in order
to terminate the war; and acting under this instruction they yielded to
the argument that, as Europe was now at peace, there was no longer any
occasion for exercising the right, and therefore no practical necessity
for mentioning it.

The treaty was severely criticised and mercilessly ridiculed as a
meaningless document. It might have been answered that the Federalists
at least had no right to complain, since they had clamored only for
peace, and the treaty brought peace. Better than this, it might have
been answered that when a point has been practically settled by war, it
is of little consequence whether it is conceded on paper; since every
nation is likely to heed a lesson taught by force of arms, and equally
likely, when interest dictates, to abrogate a treaty; and, whatever
might be said of the campaigns on land, it could not be denied that
American mariners had abundantly vin{348}dicated their right to an
unmolested navigation of the high seas--a right which British cruisers
have never since interfered with.

There had been no exchange of prisoners during the war, though many had
been paroled, and there were bitter complaints of the treatment received
by Americans in British prisons. This was especially true of those
confined at Dartmoor, the most unhealthful spot in the dreary highlands
of Devonshire. These men were not only not released, but were not even
informed that peace had been concluded, till three months after the
treaty was signed. There seemed to be a special spite against them
because they were mostly American sailors, who had audaciously and
successfully disputed England's sovereignty of the seas.

If it be a matter of pride, as an English poetess appears to think,
for a nation to strew its dead over the face of the globe, * then Great
Britain certainly won fresh laurels in this war; for her soldiers who
fell in it found graves six thousand miles apart: in the depths of Lake
Erie, about the great falls of Niagara, and along the Thames and St.
Lawrence; in the Atlantic, both near the American coast and almost
within sight of their own shores; in Long Island Sound, =

``` * Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep,

````Where rest not England's dead.

`````--Mrs. Hemans=

{349}in the Chesapeake, and beyond the western edge of civilization;
before the defences of Baltimore and New Orleans, and in the waters
of the South Pacific. And her expeditions had been especially fatal to
their commanders: Gen. Brock had fallen at Queenstown, Gen. Tecumseh
at the Thames, Ross and Sir Peter Parker before Baltimore, Pakenham
and Gibbs at New Orleans, with many of lower rank but hardly less
responsibility; while seven commanders of her men-of-war--Lambert,
Downie, Dickenson, Manners, Peake, Barrette, and Blythe--had all died
on their bloody decks. But by her sacrifice of life and property she had
gained absolutely nothing. She had not acquired an inch of territory, or
established any principle of international law, or purchased for herself
any new privilege, or secured any old one. The war had cost the United
States a hundred million dollars in money, and thirty thousand lives;
and a large portion of both the money and the lives had been squandered,
when with ordinary skill and care they might have been saved. But she
had something to show for it. If she had not fully relieved her from
tier of the atrocities of the Indians, she had at least cut off their
supplies from British sources, and possessed herself of all the western
posts; she had put an end to the systematic violation of her rights
on {350}the ocean, and in so doing had demonstrated the superiority
of American seamanship; she had completely established her national
independence.

It is to be hoped that no American youth who reads this little history
will cherish any feeling of resentment or hatred toward the people whose
fathers were so grievously unjust to ours. The day for that--if ever
there was a day for it--has gone completely by. England has evidently
passed the zenith of her power and glory; America is still rising toward
hers, and how great she shall ultimately become, will be measured mainly
by the breadth and generosity of the American mind. In the past sixty
years we have lived down the most celebrated sneer in history. Five
years after this war, the Rev. Sydney Smith wrote in the _Edinburgh
Review_: "In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?
or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue?
What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new
substances have their chemists discovered, or what old ones have they
analyzed? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes
of Americans? What have they done in mathematics? Who drinks out of
American glasses, or eats from American plates, or wears American coats
or gowns, or sleeps in {351}American blankets? Finally, under which of
the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave,
whom his fellow citizens may buy and sell and torture?" If Mr. Smith
were now living, he might be answered--if it were worth while to answer
him at all--that the most widely circulated of all novels was written by
an American woman; that the poet most read in England was an American;
that our two standard dictionaries of the English language are both
American; that several American magazines count their subscribers in
Great Britain by tens of thousands; that the world owes its use
of anaesthetics to an American physician; that American sculptors,
painters, and actors hold their own with those of other nations; that
America has the largest telescopes, and the most successful astronomers;
that American reapers cut the world's harvests, and American sewing
machines make its garments; that the telegraph and the telephone are
American inventions; that the first steamboat was built in America, and
it was an American steamship that first crossed the Atlantic, while our
country contains more miles of railway than all Europe; that those who
eat from American plates, eat the largest and best dinners in the world;
and as for American glasses, altogether too many people drink out of
them. Unless we mercifully left his final {352}question unanswered,
we should be obliged to say, that the United States had gotten rid of
slavery, while to-day five million British subjects, all within two
days' journey of the throne, tell us they find themselves virtually
slaves.

Yet with all our material and intellectual progress, we have hardly
a right to be proud. For we have enjoyed peculiar advantages. The
_Mayflower_ did not land her pilgrims on a narrow island, but on the
edge of a great continent. Of that continent we have the most productive
zone, stretching from ocean to ocean, and a thousand miles in breadth;
while within that zone our Government has given us, for the support
of educational institutions, as much land as the entire area of Great
Britain and Ireland. At the same time, we have not been loaded down with
a standing army, an established church, a vast landed aristocracy, and
all the rubbish of royalty. In America labor receives its highest wages,
and pauperism finds its least excuse. It will be no special credit to us
if we become in the next half century the most powerful and prosperous
and generous of nations; but it will be a great shame to us if we do
not.

As we read the history of our country's early struggles, it may help us
to avoid any unworthy feeling of resentment if we bear in mind the fact
{353}that there is a wide and peculiar discrepancy of character between
the English people and the English Government. That people perhaps at
present the most enlightened on earth, are justly noted for their innate
love of fair play; for their continual struggles toward liberty, and
their development of the great principles of jurisprudence; but that
Government, in its dealings with other powers, has been for centuries
arbitrary, selfish, barbarous, and inconsistent to the last degree.
Priding itself upon legitimacy, it has befriended a bloody usurpation in
France, because it hated the alternative of French republicanism. It has
opened the ports of China with its cannon, for the purpose of selling
there a narcotic drug of which it holds the monopoly. It boasted its
abolition of the slave trade; yet when our country was at war over the
slavery question, its sympathies were all with the slaveholders.
Seventy years ago, as we have seen, its cruisers cared nothing for
the neutrality of any harbor in which a hostile ship of fewer guns was
riding at anchor; but twenty years ago it could not offer its neutral
hospitalities too lavishly to privateers that had not a port of their
own to hail from or sail to, and were burning all their prizes at sea
without adjudication. It witnessed the dismemberment of Denmark with
scarcely a protest, but has {354}sacrificed thousands of English lives
to maintain the Turk in Europe. It has stood for years at the head of
a great conspiracy to keep Russia shut up in the centre of a continent
long after her industrial growth and commercial importance have entitled
her to a broad and unobstructed outlet to the highway of nations. It has
eaten India into famine, and is now laying its kleptic fingers on the
great island of Borneo, and apparently making ready to consume the
continent of Africa.

We must blush for these things while we execrate them; for we ourselves
are Englishmen. That famous little island, with its green lanes and
waving woodlands, its busy towns and historical hamlets, was the home of
our ancestors, and must ever have for us the highest romantic interest
of any spot on earth; and we cannot too warmly sympathize with those
who are still bearing burdens of feudal days, when the bravery of feudal
leadership has long since passed away. Let us never forget how near of
kin we are to the English people; but God forbid that we should inherit
the vices of the English Government, or copy its crimes!

If the story of a war like that we have been reading of teaches
anything, it teaches the broad wisdom of dealing justly, and the
ultimate folly of all chicanery, violence, and wrong.



INDEX



Adams, John Quincy, American minister at St. Petersburg, 225.

Alexandria, capitulation of, 283.

Allen, Capt. W. H., killed, 202.

Allen, Col., 85; killed, 88.

Alwyn, Master, 69.

Angus, Capt., 169.

Appling, Major, at Sandy Creek, 256; at Plattsburg, 262.

Armistead, Major George, in command at Fort McHenry, 288.

Armstrong, Gen. John, made Secretary of War, and plans Wilkinson's
expedition, 149.

Austill, J., in canoe fight, 190, 191.

Autosse, battle of, 187.

Backus, Lieut.-Col. Electus, at Sackett's Harbor, 113; killed, 115.

Bailey, Capt., at Fort Mims, 181.

Bainbridge, Com. William, 24; cruise in the Constitution, 78.

Ball, Col., his fight with Indians, 44.

Barclay, Capt. R. H., on Lake Erie, 128.

Barney, Com. Joshua, in the defence of Washington, 275.

Barrette, Capt. G. W., killed, 220.

Barron, Capt. James, in command of the Chesapeake, 10.

Bayard, James A., made a peace commissioner, 225.

Beasley, Major Daniel, killed, 181.

Beatty, Col., at Craney Island, 173.

Beaver Dams, fight at, 122.

Beckwith, Sir S., at Hampton, 173.

Bennett, Major, at Lewiston, 164.

Biddle, Capt. James, 75; in the Hornet, 325.

Bisshopp, Lieut.-Col., attacks Black Rock, 124; killed, 125.

Bissley, a sailor, his heroism, 318.

Black Rock, N. Y., attack on, 124; fight at, 165, burned; 166.

Bladensburg, battle of, 278.

Blakely, Capt., in the Wasp, 320.

Blakeslie, Lieut.-Col., at Black Rock, 165.

Blockades, 12, 172.

Blue-Lights, origin of the term, 205.

Blythe, Capt. Samuel, killed, 204.

Boerstler, Lieut.-Col. C. G., captures batteries on the Niagara, 99;
captured at Beaver Dams, 123.

Boothbay, fight at, 273.

Bounties, 224.

Boyd, Gen. J. P., at Fort George, 108; at Chrysler's Field, 154.

Boyle, Capt., in the Comet, 216.

Brody, Col., at Lundy's Lane, 239; killed, 244.

Brant, John, at Beaver Dams, 122.

Bridgewater, battle of, 244.

British Government, character of, 353.

Brock, Gen. Isaac, assumes command at Malden, 34; receives surrender of
Detroit, 36; at Queenstown, 54; death, 55.

Broke, Capt. Vere, 65; captures the Chesapeake, 179.

Brown, Gen. Jacob, at Ogdensburg, 47; at Sackett's Harbor, 113; in
Wilkinson's expedition, 152; his campaign on the Niagara, 231.

Brownstown, fight at, 31.

Buffalo burned, 166.

Bum, Col., at Fort George, 111.

Burnt Corn Creek, fight at, 179.

Burrows, Lieut. Wm., killed, 204.

Bush, Lieut., 69.

Caller, Col. James, in Creek campaign, 179.

Canada, invasion of planned, 26. Canoe-fight, Dale's, 188.

Carronades described, 76.

Cass, Col. Lewis, in Detroit campaign, 032; to 037; made provisional
governor of Michigan, 148.

Castine, Me., captured, 269.

Castlereagh, Lord, quoted, 15.

Champlin, Capt. Guy R., his fight in the Armstrong, 218.

Chandler, Gen., at Stony Creek, 118.

Chapin, Maj., at Beaver Dams, 124.

Charlotte, N. Y., stores captured at, 121; bombarded, 225.

Chateaugua, battle of, 157.

Chauncey, Com. Isaac, on Lake Ontario, 98; pursues Yeo, 125; captures
four vessels, 148.

Chesapeake, frigate, attacked by the Leopard, 10.

Chicago, battle of, 33.

Chippewa, battle of, 233.

Chrysler's Field, battle of, 154.

Chrystie, Lieut.-Col. John, at Queenstown, 51.

Claiborne, Gen. F. L., in Creek campaign, 187; governor of Louisiana,
333.

Clay, Gen. Green, relieves Fort Meigs, 91.

Clay, Henry, made a peace commissioner, 226.

Cochrane, Admiral, in the burning of Washington, 282.

Cockburn, Admiral, ravages the coasts of the Chesapeake, 170; in the
campaign against Washington, 277.

Cocke, Gen. John, in Creek campaign, 183.

Coffee, Col. John, in Creek campaign, 183; at Horseshoe Bend, 228; at
New Orleans, 335.

Coombs, Leslie, 84.

Cooper, Capt., at Hampton, 175.

Cost of the northern campaigns, 160.

Covington, Gen. L., killed, 155.

Cowell, Lieut. J. G., his heroic death, 317.

Craney Island, fight at, 172.

Creek Indians supplied with arms by British agents, 178; Jackson's
campaign against them, 179.

Crockett, David, in Creek campaign, 183.

Croghan, Major, at Fort Stephenson, 94; at Michilimackinac, 259.

Crutchfield, Major, at Hampton, 174.

Dacres, Capt., loses the Guerriere, 70.

Dale, Col., killed, 344.

Dale, Gen. S., his canoe-fight, 188.

Darnell, Elias, his journal, 39.

Dartmoor, prisoners at, 348.

Davis, John, his heroism, 216.

Dearborn, Fort, 32.

Dearborn, Gen. Henry, placed in command of United States army, 23;
enters into an armistice, 49; on the Niagara, 118.

Decatur, Com. Stephen, his cruise in the United States, 76; driven into
New London, 204; in the President, 325.

Decrees, the Berlin and Milan, 12, 15.

De Haren, Major, at Beaver Dams, 123;

Dennis, Capt., at Queenstown, 52.

Deserters, reclamation of, 007, to 010.

Desha, Capt., wounded, 259.

Diron, Capt., in the Decatur, 220.

Dorchester, Lord, calls a council of Indians, 3.

Douglass, Major, at Fort Erie, 246.

Downes, Lieut. J., with Porter, 295.

Downie, Com. George, at Platts-burg, 262; killed, 267.

Drummond, Gen., takes revenge for the burning of Newark, 162; besieges
Fort Erie, 244.

Drummond, Lieut.-Col., at Fort Erie, 246; killed, 247.

Dudley, Col., at Fort Meigs, 91.

Eastport, Me., captured, 268.

Econochaca, battle of, 187.

Elliott, Lieut. Jesse D., his exploit on the Niagara, 48; in battle of
Lake Erie, 132.

Embargo, 13; of 1813, 206.

Emucfau, fight at, 227.

Enotachopco Creek, fight at, 227.

Erie, Fort, captured by the Americans, 232; beseiged by the British,
244.

Erie, Lake, building vessels on, 127; battle of, 130; Indian battle on,

136.

Eustis, Hon. Wm., 26.

Fanning, Lieut., at Sackett's Harbor, 115.

Farragut, David G., in battle of Essex and Phoebe, 314; extracts from
his journal, 314.

Fitzgibbon, Lieut., at Beaver Dams, 123.

Floyd, Gen. John, in Creek campaign, 187.

Forsyth, Capt., at Gananoqui, 46; at York, 100; at Fort George, 108; in
Wilkinson's expedition, 152.

Fort Wayne, siege of, 40.

Franklin, Benj., his prediction, 1.

Fredericktown, Md., ravaged, 171.

Frenchtown, battle of, 85.

Gaines, Gen., takes command on the Niagara, 244; disabled, 249.

Gallatin, Albert, made a peace commissioner, 225.

Gamble, Lieut., in Typee campaign, 300.

Gananoqui, fight at, 46.

Gattanewa, Happah chief, 298.

George III. quoted, 2.

George, Fort, capture of, 107.

Georgetown, Md., ravaged, 171.

Ghent, Treaty of, 346-7.

Gibbs, Gen. Samuel, at New Orleans, 339; killed, 344.

Gleig, Lieut., quoted, 336, 338.

Gray, Col., at Sackett's Harbor, 115.

Hall, Gen., at Buffalo, 164.

Hamilton, Lieut., at Fort Madison, 44.

Hampden, Me., captured, 270.

Hampton, Va., destroyed, 173.

Hampton, Gen. W., his connection with Wilkinson's expedition, 150;
defeated by De Salaberry, 139.

Hancock, Major, at La Colie, 232.

Hanson, Alexander, mobbed, 21.

Hardy, Sir Thomas, his expeditions on the eastern coast, 268.

Harrison, Fort, fight at, 41.

Harrison, Gen. Wm. H., in command in the West, 38, 55, 84; his campaign
on the Thames, 140.

Hartford Convention, 326.

Havre de Grace destroyed, 370.

Heald, Capt. Nathan, in battle of Chicago, 32.

Henley, Lieut., at Plattsburg, 266.

Hillabee towns, fight at, 186.

Hillyar, Capt. James, sent out in search of the Essex, 310; captures
her, 373.

Hindman, Capt., at Fort George, 108; in Brown's campaign, 232.

Hislop, Gen., captured, 80.

Holmes Major, killed, 239.

Hoophole Creek, fight at, 137.

Horseshoe Bend, battle of, 228.

Hough. Lieut., at Stonington, 273.

Houston, Sam, in Creek campaign, 183, 228.

Hull, Capt. Isaac, his race in the Constitution, 66; captures the
Guerriere, 68.

Hull, Gen. William, his campaign, and surrender of Detroit, 028, to 037.

Indians, armed for depredation by the British, 3.

Irvine, Capt. Armstrong, at Chrysler's

Field, 156.

Isaacs, Midshipman, 313.

Izard, Gen. George, on the Chateaugua, 159; succeeds Wilkinson, 253;
fiasco on the Niagara, 258.

Jackson, Gen. Andrew, takes command of Tennessee volunteers, 183;
campaign against the Creeks, 383; second campaign against the Creeks
227; his campaign on the Gulf coast, 332; his victory at New Orleans,
343.

Jesup, Major, his plan to invade Canada, 26; at Chippewa, 233; at
Lupdy's Lane, 239.

Johnson, Lieut.-Col. James, at battle of the Thames, 144.

Johnson, John, his heroism, 216.

Johnson, Col. R. M., in Harrison's campaign, 140; kills Tecumseh, 145.

Jones, Capt. Jacob, sails in the Wasp, 73.

Keane, Gen., at New Orleans, 343; wounded, 344.

Kerr, Capt., at Beaver Dams, 722.

Key, Francis S., how he wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner," 288.

King, Major, at York, 101.

La Colle Mill, fight at, 251.

Lafitte, Jean, in Jackson's campaign, 332.

Lambert, Capt., killed, 80.

Lambert, Gen. John, at New Orleans, 341.

Lang, John, his exploit, 74.

Larrabee, Lieut., at La Colie, 252.

Lathrop, Lieut., at Stonington. 273.

Lawrence, Capt. James, sails in the Hornet, 79; defeats the Peacock,
195; defeated in the Chesapeake, 197; killed, 199.

Lawrence, Maj. W., at Mobile, 334.

Leavenworth, Major, at Chippewa, 235; at Lundy's Lane, 239; killed, 244.

Lee, Gen. Henry, assists Hanson against rioters, 22.

Leonard, Capt., at Fort Niagara, 163; at Plattsburg, 262.

Lewis, Col., 83.

Lewistown, Del., bombarded, 168.

Lewiston, N, Y., burned, 764.

Lingan, Gen. James M., killed, 22.

Long-log Lane, battle of, 287.

Lundy's Lane, battle of, 239.

McArthur, Col., in Detroit campaign, 32.

McClure, Gen. George, his performances on the Niagara, 161.

McDonall, Lieut.-Col., at Michilimackinac, 259.

McDonell, Lieut.-Col., at Queenstown, 55.

McDonough, Lieut., at Fort Erie, 247.

Macdonough, Lieut. Thomas, at Plattsburg, 264.

McDougall, Capt., at New Orleans, 344.

McFarland, Major, killed, 244.

McHenry, Fort, bombarded, 287.

McKnight, Lieut., in Typee campaign, 305.

McNeil, Major, at Chippewa, 235; at Lundy's Lane, 239; killed, 244.

Macomb, Gen. Alexander, at Fort George, 108; in Wilkinson's expedition,
152; at Plattsburg, 261.

McPherson, Capt., at La Colie, 252.

Madison, Fort, fight at, 43.

Madison, James, President of the United States, recommends a declaration
of war, 16; at Bladens-burg, 278.

Madison, Major, at Frenchtown, 88.

Maguaga, fight at, 32.

Malden, Hull's forces at, 29, 30.

Manchester, N. Y., burned, 164.

Manners, Capt., killed, 321.

Manowa, Chief, his exploit, 230.

Martin, sloop-of-war, fight with, 169.

Meigs, Fort, siege of, 90.

Melville, Capt., at Sandy Creek, 257.

Michilimackinac captured by the British, 30; American expedition
against, 258.

Miller, Col. James, at Maguaga, 31; at Lundy's Lane, 242.

Miller, Col. John, at Fort Meigs, 91.

Mills, Col., killed, 114.

Mims, Fort, massacre at. 179.

Mitchell, Lieut.-Col., at Oswego, 254.

Mobile, battle at, 334.

Monroe, Jas., at Bladensburg, 278.

Montgomery, Major L. P., at Horseshoe Bend, 229; killed, 230.

Moorfields, fight at, 285.

Moravian Town destroyed, 147.

Morris, Capt., at Hampden, 269.

Morris, Lieut., 69.

Murray, Col., at Fort Niagara, 163.

Naval Battles: Argus and Pelican, 202. Armstrong and Queen, 214; and an
English frigate, 218; destroyed at Fayal, 322. Chesapeake and Shannon,
197. Comet against four vessels, 216. Constitution and Guerriere, 67;
and Java, 79; and Cyane and Levant, 325. Decatur and Dominica, 220.
Dolphin and two vessels, 217. Enterprise and Boxer, 202. Essex and
Alert, 65; and Phoebe and Cherub, 310. Globe against two packets, 221.
Grampus and a sloop, 221. Hornet and Peacock, 195. Hornet (another) and
Penguin, 325. Lake Erie, Perry's victory, 130; an Indian, 136. Lottery
against barges, 218. Peacock and Epervier, 320. Plattsburg, Macdonough's
victory, 263. President and Belvidera, 64; and Endymion, 325; and Little
Belt, 62. Saratoga and Morgiana, 221. Tompkins and a frigate, 215.
United States and Macedonian, 75. Wasp and Avon, 321; and Bream, 220;
and Frolic, 73; and Reindeer, 320. Yankee and Eagle, 222.

Navy, British, size of, 23.

Navy, U. S., size of at opening of war, 23; proposal to lay up, 23.

Negro sailors, protection denied to, 206.

Newark, burned, 162.

New London, Conn., American vessels blockaded at, 204.

New Orleans, British forces appear before, 336; first battle, 337;
second battle, 342.

Newspapers, English, cited, 6, 71, 72, 78, 211, 222, 225, 284, 285, 337.

Niagara, battle of, 244.

Niagara, Fort, capture and massacre, 162.

North Point, battle of, 286.

Ogdensburg, expedition against, 47.

Old Ironsides, 81.

O'Neill, at Havre de Grace, 170.

Orders in Council, 12, 16.

Oswego, Yeo's expedition against, 253.

Pakenham, Gen. Sir Edward, in command before New Orleans, 339; killed,
344.

Parker, Sir Peter, killed, 286.

Patterson, Com., sent against Lafitte, 333; at New Orleans, 341.

Peace negotiations, 223.

Peake, Capt., killed, 195.

Pearce, Col., at York, 103.

Pearson, Lieut.-Col., at Chippewa, 232.

Percy, Capt., at Mobile, 334.

Perry, Capt. O. H., at Fort George, 108; exploits on Lake Erie, 127; in
Thames campaign, 141.

Perry, Capt., commands a battery on the Potomac, 284.

Pensacola, occupied by Jackson, 335.

Pettigrew, Lieut., captures stores, 107.

Pike, Gen. Zeb. M., in expedition against York, 101; death, 103.

Plattsburg, battle of, 261.

Poinsett, Joel R., United States Consul at Valparaiso, demands
protection for the Essex, 313.

Political parties, explanation, 16.

Porter, Capt. David, commands a battery on the Potomac, 284; his cruise
in the Pacific, 290.

Porter, Col.M., at Fort George, 109.

Porter, Gen. Peter B., at Black Rock, 125; in Brown's campaign, 231; at
Charlotte, 255. Poultneyville, N. Y., fight at, 256.

Prairie du Chien captured, 258.

Prevost, Gen. Sir George, attacks Sackett's Harbor, 112; his invasion of
New York, 260.

Prisoners, twenty-three of them held for trial, 59; treatment of, 348.

Privateers, 207; Jefferson's opinion of, 208; abolished by the Treaty of
Paris, 210; some of their captures, 212; some of their battles, 215.

Proctor, Col. Henry, in Detroit campaign 31; at Frenchtown, 86; in
Thames campaign, 141.

Pryor, Capt., at Hampton, 174.

Purdy, Col., on the Chateaugua,158.

Putnam, Major, at Lastport, 268.

Queenstown, battle of, 49.

Race, a celebrated naval, 66.

Raisin, massacre at the, 89.

Randall, Col., at Stonington, 273.

Red Jacket at Chippewa, 234.

Reid, Capt. Samuel C., in the General Armstrong, 322.

Rhea, Capt., at Fort Wayne, 40.

Riall, Gen., bums villages on the Niagara, 164; at Chippewa, 232; at
Lundy's Lane, 239; captured, 241.

Riddle, Lieut., at York., 103; at Buffalo, 166.

Riot in Baltimore, 21.

Ripley, Gen. E. W., succeeds, and at Lundy's Lane, 243.

Rochester, N. Y., 231.

Rodgers, Com. John, naval battles, 62-64.

Ross, Gen., his expedition against Washington, 274; killed, 286-87.

Rottenberg, Gen. de, attacks Wilkinson's expedition, 153.

Ruff, negro boy, drowned, 318.

Rule of 1756, 11.

Russell, Jonathan, made a peace commissioner, 226.

Russian Government offers mediation, 225.

Sackett's Harbor, attack on, in.

St. Clair, Commander Arth., his expedition to Michilimackinac, 258.

St. Leonard's Creek, fight in, 275.

Salaberry, Lieut.-Col. de, defeats Hampton, 157.

Sandy Creek, fight at, 256.

Scalps, bounty offered for, 3, 179.

Scituate, Mass., shipping burned at, 273.

Scott, Lieut.-Col. Winfield, at Queenstown, 52; his repartee, 82;
at Fort George, 108; at Hoophole Creek, 157; march from Plattsburg to
Buffalo, 231; at Chippewa, 233; at Lundy's Lane, 239; his bad memory,
330.

Seamen, impressment of, 8, to, 10.

Servant, Capt., at Hampton, 174.

Shaler, Capt. N., his sea-fight, 215.

Shead, Sailing Master, in fight with sloop Martin, 169.

Sheaffe, Gen. Roger H., at Queenstown, 54; at York, 100.

Shelby, Gov., in Harrison's campaign, 140.

Sheldon, Lieut., at La Colle, 252,

Short, Lieut.-Col., his ideas about quarter, 95.

Smith, Sydney, quoted, 350.

Sodus, N. Y., burned, 121.

Southcomb, Capt., his fight in the Lottery, 218.

Springs, definition of, 313, note.

Stafford, Capt. W. S., his cruise in the Dolphin, 217.

Stansbury, Gen., at Bladensburg, 279.

"Star-Spangled Banner," how it was written, 288.

Stephenson, Fort, siege of, 94.

Stewart, Capt. Charles, 24; in the Constitution, 325.

Stone, Col., bums St. Davids, and is court-martialed, 238.

Stonington, Conn., bombarded, 270.

Stony Creek, battle of, 118.

Strieker, Gen., at North Point, 286.

Swartwout, Gen. Robert, at Chrysler's

Field, 154.

Swift, Gen. J., at Poultneyville, 256.

Talladega, battle of, 185.

Tallnschatches, battle of, 184.

Tar-cha-chee, death of, 192.

Taylor, Gen. Robert R., at Hampton, 177.

Taylor, Capt. Zachary, at Fort Harrison, 41.

Tecumseh, at Maguaga, 32; his scheme, 38; at Fort Meigs, 92; his rebuke
of massacre, 93; in Thames campaign, 144; killed, 145.

Thames, battle of the, 140.

Thornton, Col., at N. Orleans, 342.

Thornton, Dr., saves the Patent Office, 282.

Towson, Capt., in Brown's campaign, 235; at Fort Erie, 245.

Tuscarora, N. Y., burned, 164.

Tuttle, Lieut.-Col., at Sackett's Harbor, 116.

Typee Valley, Porter's campaign in, 297. J

Upham, Lieut.-Col., at Chrysler's Field, 156.

Van Horne, Major Thomas B., at Brownstown, 31.

Van Lloyd, Capt., at Fayal, 323.

Van Rensselaer, Lieut.-Col. Sol. at battle of Queenstown, 50.

Van Rensselaer, Gen. Stephen, in command on the Niagara, 49.

Vincent, Gen., at Stony Creek, 117.

Wadsworth, Gen. William, at Queenstown, 56.

Walbach, Adjt.-Gen., at Chrysler's Field, 156.

War, its issue determined by the battle-ground, 24.

Wareham, Mass., raid on, 273.

Warren, Admiral, joins Cockburn in the Chesapeake, 171.

Warrington, Capt. Lewis, in the Peacock, 320.

Washington, Ross's campaign against, 274; burned, 282.

Weathersford, Wm., at Fort Mims, 180; at the canoe-fight, 189.

Whinyates, Capt., loses the Frolic, 73.

White, Gen. in Creek campaign, 186.

Whitley, Col., killed, 147.

Wilkinson, Gen. James, his expedition toward Montreal, 149; his last
invasion of Canada, 251.

Wilmer, Lieut., killed, 318.

Winchester, Gen., his expedition, 84.

Winder, Gen. Wm. H., at Stony Creek, 118; in command before Washington,
276.

Wood, Capt., quoted, 93.

Wool, Capt. John E., at Queenstown, 52; at Plattsburg, 262.

Woolsey, Lieut.-Com., in the Oneida, 98; at Sandy Creek, 256.

Worth, Lieut., Wm. J., at Chrysler's Field, 156.

Yeo, Sir James Lucas, attacks Sackett's Harbor, 112; at Charlotte and
Sodus, 121.

York, expedition against, 100, 122.

Youngstown, N. Y., burned, 164.





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