صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

vanced, with grape shot. Major Appling, who commanded the Ajnerican riflemen, placed them and his Indian allies in ambush about half a mile below the American barges. Allowing the enemy to approach within close rauge, he suddenly poured in a destructive volley, which so paralyzed them that they threw down their arms and begged for quarter All the boats, officers, and men were taken, making a total loss of a hundred and eighty-six men.

The guns were then carried across to Sackett's Harbor, and the new ship Superior armed, which so strengthened Chauncey's force that Sir James Yeo raised the blockade and sailed for the Canada shore. At last the expedition against Mackinaw got under

way. Two war brigs, the Lawrence and July 3,

Niagara, together with several smaller vessels, carrying in all nine hundred men, began slowly to traverse the inland seas from Detroit to Mackinaw. Nothing but canoes and batteaux had hitherto floated on those scarcely known waters, with the exception of a single schooner or sloop, which made an annual solitary trip to the extreme north-western posts to carry supplies. More than a thousand miles from the ocean, and lifted nearly six hundred feet above it, those vast seas rolled their waves through unbroken forests. This was the first fleet that ever penetrated those solitudes, through which roamed unscared beasts of prey, and from whose further margin

EXPEDITION TO MACKINAW.

73

stretched away those immense prairies that go rolling up to the base of the Rocky Mountains. Amid unknown rocks and shoals — feeling its way along narrow channels—at one moment almost grazing the sand-bars with its keels, and the next moment floating over water nearly a thousand feet deep-now traversing groups of beautiful islands, and anon skirting the bases of precipices, on whose summit waved forests that had stood undisturbed since the birth of time—that little fleet crept on towards its destination. Its progress was so slow that Colonel McDowell, commanding at Mackinaw, had ample time to make preparations for defence.

Captain Sinclair, on his arrival, refused to advance against the fort, for its batteries looked down on his decks from a hundred feet in the air. A land attack was therefore resolved upon and carried into execution.

But the dense woods, filled with sharp shoot

ers, through which the troops were compelled to force their way, rendered the movement a complete failure. Captain Holmes, a gallant officer, was shot by an Indian boy. A black servant of Colonel Croghan immediately covered the body with leaves, to prevent mutilation by the Indians, and the next day it was recovered. The troops were re-embarked, and the discomfitted fleet turned homeward. Overtaken by a storm in Lake Huron, all their boats were destroyed, and the vessels themselves narrowly es

VOL. 11.--4

Ang. 4.

caped being wrecked. A detachment having destroyed six months' supplies at the mouth of the Natewasaga river destined for Mackinaw, two schooners

were left to blockade the place. Mackinaw, Sept. 13.

thus cut off from all communication with the provinces, would be starved out and compelled to surrender. But to complete the disaster of this unfortunate enterprise, four batteaux, with a fleet of small boats from Mackinaw, surprised and captured one of the schooners, the Tigress. Lieutenant Woolsey then took command of her, and the next morning, with American colors flying, stood steadily down on the Scorpion until he ranged alongside, when he fired all his guns at once, and running aboard, took the unsuspecting vessel without a struggle.

Thus ended an expedition, romantic from the scenery through which it passed, but comparatively useless in its results, and costing more than it was worth, even if it had been successful.

+

By page 215. Vol I. Brown had been made Brigadier General the year before the define of fackett's harbour

CHAPTER IV.

Brown takes command of the army at Niagara-Crosses the river into Canada

Battle of Chippewa-Brilliant charge of the Americans Desperate battle of
Niagara-Conduct of Ripley-The army ordered to Fort Erie-General Gaines
takes command.

July 3.

On the same day the expedition to Mackinaw sailed from Detroit, the army which had been concentrated at Buffalo during the winter, crossed the

Niagara, in its third campaign against Cana

da. Brown, who had been made Brigadier-+ General for his gallant conduct at Sackett's Harbor, was afterward promoted to the rank of Major-General and given the command of the army destined to act on the Niagara frontier. Two regular brigades, commanded by Scott and Ripley, and a brigade of volunteers and militia, with a few Indians, under General Porter, composed his force.

He was directed to carry out that portion of the Secretary's plan which looked to the possession and fortification of Burlington Heights, previous to a descent on Kingston and Montreal. First, he was to seize Fort

Erie, risk a combat with the enemy at Chippewa, menace Fort George, and then, if Chauncey's fleet could co-operate with him, advance rapidly on Burlington.

The two regular brigades had been subjected for three months to a new and most rigid discipline. The system of tactics hitherto in use, had been handed down from the Revolution, and was not, therefore, adapted to the improved mode of warfare. Scott, here, for the first time, introduced the French system. He drilled the officers, and they, in turn, the men. So severe and constant was this discipline, that, in the short space of three months, these brigades became intelligent, steady, and invincible as veterans. The preparations being completed, the army cross

ed the Niagara river, and took Fort Erie July 3.

without a struggle. The main British army, under General Riall, lay at Chippewa, towards which Scott pressed, heading the advance, with his brigade, chasing before him for sixteen miles, a detachment commanded by the Marquis of Tweesdale, who said he could not account for the ardor of the pursuit until he remembered it was the 4th of July, our great anniversary. At dark the Marquis crossed the Chippewa, behind which lay the British army. This river enters the Niagara nearly at right angles. Two miles farther up, Street's Creek joins the Niagara

« السابقةمتابعة »