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Chapter 2

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Title
Chapter 2
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http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?b=1&ref=oo&id=298033
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46-77
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46

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

a ►lfuo•:

-ow IC)

I'I A`IIT.E11. IL

V;:ei PI; •

Description of OP Canadian lakes, and the chief
military posts in their vicinity—Notice of the
declaration of war—British regular force in the
Canadas—Surrender of Fort Michilimacinac —
„Previous hostile, preparations on the part of the
American government
nvasion of Upper Canada by gene* Hull—Capture of the American Chicago packet—Skirmishes betw' een the Americans.andIndians- 4necdote of ,the American
captain M'Culloch—General Hull's disappointscent, and his return to the American territory
- -The first battle between ;the British and Americans—Scalmtpkuby the ,Apterican militia—
Abandonment ofrprAChicago,-General Brock's
advance to Detroit-l ghe surrender of that Inc. •
portant post, and the whole of the Michigan territory—Generalffull's trial—Effects of the loss
of Detroit on the cabinet at. .Washington—Sir
George Prevost's impolitic armistice.
,

:

7

.

S our Canadian frontier was unfortunately
destined to bear the brunt of the war declared
against us by the United States, it will be assisting the reader to give a brief account of the
towns and military posts distributed along the

47

extensive stream of water, through the middle of
which the boundary line runs.
The most remote piece of water on this frontier, worthy of notice, is Lake Superior ; a collection of fresh water unequalled by any upon
the face of the globe. Lake Sperior is of a triangular form, in length 381, in breadth 161, and
in circumference, 1152 miles. Among its several islands is one nearly two-thirds as large as
the island of Jamaica ; but neither its islands nor
its shores can yet boast of inhabitants. - Out of
Lake Superior a very rapid current flows, over
immense masses of rock, along a channel 27
miles in extent, called St. Mary's river, into
Lake Huron ; at the head of which is the British
island of St. Joseph, containing a small garrison. This post is nearly 1700 miles from the
lowest telegraph-station on the St. Lawrence,
and about 2000 miles from its mouth.
Lake Huron is in length from west to east 218,
in breadth 180, and in circumference, through
its numerous curvatures, 812 miles. Except the
island of St. Joseph, and one or two trading
establishments belonging to the north-west come'
pany, the shores of this lake, also, are in a state of
nature. Lake Michigan is connected with Lake
Huron, at its western angle, by a short and wide
strait ; in the centre of which is the island of
Michilimacinac, belonging to the United States.
This island is about nine miles in circumference ;
.

48

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

and, upon some very high ground, has a fort, in
which a garrison is maintained. The distance
from Michilimacinac to St. Joseph's is 47 miles.
Lake Michigan, which, in length from north
to south, is 262, in breadth 55, and in circumference 731 miles, belongs wholly to the United
States, the boundary line passing from Lake Superior, along the centre of Lake Huron, in a
southerly direction, to the entrance of the river
St. Clair. This river flows for 60 miles, till it
expands into a small circular, lake, about 30
miles in diameter, and named after itself. The
beautiful river Thames, in Upper Canada, opens
into Lake St. Clair ; from which lake the stream,
as the river Detroit, in width from one to three
miles, and navigable for vessels drawing not more
than 14 feet water, pursues a course of 40 miles. into Lake Erie.
Upon the western side of the river Detroit, is
situate the American town of that name ; containing about 200 houses, and, among its public buildings, a strong fort and military works.
About three miles below Fort-Detroit, upon the
opposite side of the river, is the British village
of Sandwich, containing about 40 houses; and,
16 miles lower, and within three of the mouth
of the river, is the British village of Amherstburg, containing about 100 houses, and a fort,
where a small garrison is usually stationed, and
where our principal vessels for the service of Lake
/

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.' V-

Erie were built. The distance from Quebec to
Amherstburg, by the nearest rout, is 1207 miles.
The American village of Brownstown, stands
opposite to the latter.
Lake Erie, from its south-west end, is in length
231, in breadth 64, and in circumference 658
miles. Its= greatest depth of water is between
40 and 45 fathoms; but a very rocky bottom
renders the anchorage unsafe in blowing weather. Except Amherstburg, the British have no
harbor or naval depot upon Lake Erie; while
the Americans have two or three excellent ones.
Presqiiile harbor is situate on the southern side
of the lake, not far from the entrance to the
Niagara. It is a safe station, but has a sevenfeet bar at its entrance ; as, indeed, have all the
other harbors on this lake. The town, named Erie,
is situate on the south side of the harbor, and contains about 200 houses, besides several storehouses, and a dock-yard, at which the Americans
built their Lake Erie fleet. To the eastward
of the town stands a strong battery ; and, on
the point of the peninsula forming the harbor, a block-house, for the protection of this
► depot. The Americans have also a strong
nail
battery and a block-house at the mouth of
another harbor, named Put-in-Bay, situate at
the opposite end of the lake. Most of these
works have been constructed since the commencement of the war. The rivers Raisin,
VOL. I.

•11

40

SO MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Sandusky, and Miami, the scenes of important
operations during the war, discharge themselves
into Lake Erie.
mg;
On the north-western side of the entrance
the Niagara river, stands, at a distance of 665
miles from Quebec, the British _Fort-Erie;
when the war commenced, without a cannon
mounted upon it, and, at best, a very in.
considerable work ; as may be conceived, when an
American general can declare that, in July 1814,
it " was in a defenceless condition."* The word
fort, is, indeed, very vaguely applied throughout the British provinces, the Canadians usually
calling by that name any building surrounded
by a palisade, as a protection from the Indians;
although not a cannon, perhaps, was ever seen
within miles of the spot. Near to the same out.
let from Lake Erie is Buffaloe creek, on the
border of which stands the American village of
Buffaloe, and beyond it, about two miles, Black
Rock, where there is a battery, and a ferry,
about SOO yards across, to Bertie in Upper
Canada.
The Niagara proceeds, at a quick rate, past
several small, and one large island, called Grand
isle, ten miles long ; about two miles below
which, on the American side, and distant two
miles from the falls, is the site of Fort-Schlos•
ser.t At about the same distance from the
+ See Plate I.
* Wilkiigion's Memoirs, Vol. I, p.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

51

falls, on the opposite side, standing on the
northern bank of the river Chippeway, is the
British village of the same name, distant from
Fort-Erie 17 miles. Chippeway consists chiefly
of store-houses; and near it is a small stockaded
work, called Port-Chippeway. At the distance
of 23 miles from the entrance to the Niagara, is
Goat-island, about half a mile long; and which
extends to the precipice that gives rise to the
celebrated falls. The larger body of water
flows between Upper Canada and Goat-island ;
at the upper-end of which the broken water, or
rapids, commence. Here the stream passes on
both sides of the island, over a bed of rocks and
precipices, with astonishing rapidity; till, having descended more than 50 feet, in the distance of half a mile, it falls, on the British side
1.57, and on the New York side 162, feet perpendicular.*
From the cataract the river is a continued rapid, half a mile in width, for about seven miles.
Atthis point stand, opposite to each other, the
villages of Queenstown and Lewistown.* The
latter, situate upon the American side, contained, till destroyed as a retaliatory measure,
between 40 and 50 houses; the former has still
remaining about 15 houses, with stores for government, barracks, wharf, &c. About three
miles from Queenstown, upon the banks of a
Sec Plate I.
E

2

52 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

stream, called the Four-mile creek, where it
arosses the road leading to the head of Lake
Ontario, is the village of St. David's; which
contains, or rather did contain till visited by the
Americans, about 40 houses. At about six miles
and a half from Queenstown, near to the river
side, stands the British Fort-George,* constructed
of earthern ramparts, and palisades of dry cedar i
to which a lighted candle would set fire. It
mounted, when the war commenced, no heavier
metal than 9-pounders, and those condemned
for being honey-combed. About half a mile be.
low Fort-George, and close to the borders of
Lake Ontario, is the site of the once beautiful,
once flourishing village of Newark.*
Directly opposite to Newark, upon a neck of
land projecting partly across the mouth of the
river, which is here 875 yards in width, stands the
American fort of Niagara.* It was built by the
French in 1751; taken by us in 1759 ; and, along
with several other frontier-posts, ceded to the.
United States in 1794: and, though again taken,
has again been ceded to the same power. Fort.
Niagara, unlike any of the Canadian forts along
that frontier, is a regular fortification, built of
stone, on the land-side, with breast-works, and
every necessary appendage. It mounts between
20 and 30 heavy pieces of ordnance, and con. ,
tains a furnace for heating shot.
* Sec Plate

GREAT BR.ITAIN AND AMERICA.

The strait of Niagara is about 36 miles in
length; and its shores, on both sides, were, more
or less, the scenes of active warfare during the
whole period of hostilities. Lake Ontario, to
which the strait leads, is in length, from west to
east, 171, in breadth 50, and in circumference
467 miles. The depth of water varies much ; it
being in some places three or four, in other 50
fathoms: towards the centre 300 fathoms of line
have, it is said, not found the bottom. York
harbor lies on the north-side of Lake Ontario ;
is nearly circular, of about a mile and a half in
diameter, and formed by a narrow peninsula
extending to Gibraltar-point, upon which a
block-house has been erected. The town, which
is the infant capital of Upper Canada, is in lat.
43°30' north, and long. 79 20' west, distant from
Fort-Niagara, by water 30, and by land about
90 miles. The plot of ground marked out for it
extends about a mile and a half along the northside of the harbor ; but, at present, the number
of houses, a very few of which are of brick or
stone, does not exceed 300. The public buildings consist of a government-house, the house of
assembly, a church, court-house, and a gaol,
with numerous stores belonging to government.
The barracks are situate at the distance of two
miles to the westward of the town, and are protected by a small battery and two block-houses;
which also serve, aided by the block-house at
0

Z4

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Gibraltar-point, to defend the entrance of the
harbor.
Kingston-harbor is situate at the easterntx.
tremity of Lake Ontario. It contains good
Anchorage in three fathoms- water ; and is 'd
fended by a small battery of 9-pounders• on
Mississaga-point, and another, of the same metal
chiefly, on Point Frederick. The town, which
is the largest and most populous in the upper
province, .-contains about 370 houses ; including
several buildings and stores belonging to. go;
yernment.; . Its distance from York is 145, front
Montreal, in an opposite direction, 198, and
from Quebec 378 miles. Opposite to, and disy
tant about half a mile from the town, is•a long
low peninsula, forming the west-side of NO
Bay, the principal naval depot of the British o
this lake, and where the ships of war were eon.
structed.
Of the American military posts on Lake On.
tario, the principal one is Sackett's-11arbo0
distant from Kingston, by the ship-channel, 1,
miles. We shall defer any further descriptiok
of this important post, as well as of several otheri
American stations upon Lake Ontario, ana
along the frontier to the eastward, until some:aco
tion or military event brings them into notice;
The line of demarkation, travelling all the way,
from the upper lakes, enters the river Cataraqui,

F'

-

Sec Plate U.

,

,

wr

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

55

Iroquois, or, as more commonly called, St. Lawrence; down whose course it proceeds as far as
St. Regis, distant about 109 miles from Kingston, where it strikes, due east across the country,
along the parallel of 45°, till it reaches, at a distance of 147 miles, the west bank of the river
Connecticut in the United States.
The instant the war became known at New
York, some British merchants of that city despatched expresses to Queenstown in Upper, and
Montreal in Lower Canada. According to an
American editor, the Queenstown messenger,
described as a native of Albany, told his countrymen, on the way, that he was proceeding with
the news to Fort Niagara ; and obtained, in Onsequence, every facility that money and horses
could afford him. Thus, through private channels, notice of the war reached Queenstown and
Montreal in six, and Quebec in eight days after
it had been declared ; which was fortunate, as, by
some unaccountable accident, the official notification from the British minister at Washington
did not arrive at Quebec till some weeks had
elapsed. At this time, the British regular force,
in the Canadas consisted of the 8th, 41st, 49th
and 100th regiments, a small detachment of artillery, the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion, and the
Canadian, Newfoundland, and Glengary Fencibles; amounting, in the whole, to 4,450 men.

56

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

These were distributed along the different posts
from the telegraph station, about 250 miles be,
low Quebec, to St. Joseph's, but so unequally
divided, that, in the upper province, whose front
extends to nearly 1300, out of the 1700 miles, there
were but 1450 men ; and the restricted navigation
of the St. Lawrence, by the time any succours
could arrive from England, left no hopes of a
reinforcement previous to the ensuing summer.
Major-general Brock, the president of Upper
Canada, was at York when the news of war
reached him. He, with his accustomed alacrity,
sent immediate notice of it to lieutenant-colonel
St. George commanding a small detachment of
troops at Amherstburg, and to captain Roberts
commanding part of a company of the 10th R. V.
Battalion at St. Joseph's. A second despatch to
the last-named officer contained the major-gene.
rat's orders, that he should adopt the most prudent measures, either for offence or defence.
Captain Roberts, accordingly, on the day succeeding the arrival of his orders, embarked with
45 officers and men of the 10th Royal Veteran
Battalion, about 180 Canadians, 393 Indians,,
and two iron 6-pounders, to attack the American fort of Michilimacinac. This force reached
the island on the following morning. A summons
was immediately sent in ; and the fort of Michilimacinae, with seven pieces of ordnance, and

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA..

57

61 officers and privates of the United States_ /
army,* surrendered, by capitulation, without a /'
drop of blood having been spilt.
of The editor of the " History of, the War,"
while be admits that " every possible preparation was made by the garrison to resist an attack,"
describes the force under Captain Roberts as
" regular troops 46; Canadian militia 260 ; Indians 715." Here the regulars are correctly
enumerated ; but their inconsiderable number
taught Dr. Smith a preferable method of stating
the British force. He lumps the whole together
thus : —" regular troops, Canadian militia, and
Indians, amounting to 1,000 men ;" and omits
not to add, that they were " furnished with every
implement for the complete investment and siege
of the place."t —Lieutenant Hanks states, that
he " had anticipated" the declaration of war :I
in fact, there is no doubt that he, in common
with the other American commanders at the
posts along the frontier, had been instructed to
expect it.
The misunderstanding that had, for several
years, subsisted between Great Britain and the
United States, and the recent broils between the
latter and the Indians on the Wabash, had occasioned a considerable augmentation of the mili* App. Nos. 1. 2. 3.
i Hist. of the United States, Vol. III. p. 177,
-

4. App. No. 3.
- -

58

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

tary force of the United States, Since early in
the month of May, brigadier-general Hull had
been despatched with a force to the north-west;
and was invested with discretionary powers to
invade Canada from Detroit, immediately on
receiving intelligence of the war, then resolved
to be declared against Great Britain. This
army, 2,500 strong, arrived at Detroit on the
6th of July, to be in readiness for the contemplated invasion.
Every preparation having been made, not
emitting a proclamation to the Canadians,* sent
purposely from Washington, the embarkation of
the troops took place on the 12th. The army
landed on the opposite or Canadian side of the
Detroit ; and, after a short cannonade, took
possession of the defenceless village of Sandwich,
situate about two miles within the province.
The few militia, there stationed, had previouSly
retired, carrying with them the most valuable
of the stores, to Amherstburg.t
Lieutenant-colonel St. George, inspecting fieldofficer of the district, commanded at this post;
having under his orders a subaltern's detachment
of artillery, about 100 of the 41st regiment, 300
militia, and about 150Indians, under Tecumseh,
The timely notice of the war, sent by majorgeneral Brock, enabled the lieutenant-colonel,
early in July, to intercept, as she was entering
* App. No. 4.

t See p. 48.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

59

Detroit river, the American Chicago packet,
having on board the baggage and hospital stores,
and an officer and 30 men, of general Hull's
army.
Instead of proceeding against Amherstburg,
which would have fallen an easy prey to so
powerful a force, and proved an important acquisition to the American cause, general Hull
remained in the neighbourhood of Sandwich,
carrying on an excursive war by detached parties,
and, through them, occasionally. reconnoitring
the British outposts in the neighbourhood.
A company of the British 41st regiment,
about 60 militia, and .a party of Indians, being
posted near a bridge, crossing the river . Atar
Canards, four miles from Amherstburg, an American reconnoitring party, consisting of about
300 men,* under colonel Cass, advanced, on the
15th of July, to a plane, distant about a mile
from the bridge. To induce the Americans to
approach the position occupied by the British
regulars and militia, 150 Indians were sent across
the bridge. A company of American riflemen,
concealed in a wood that skirted the plane, immediately fired upon the Indians, killing one,
and wounding two. After scalping the dead
Indian, the American force was no more seen.
Not a musket was fired by the Indians, nor were
the regulars or militia in any way engaged ; yet
* Hist of the War, p. 37.

,

60

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA-

NIILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

an American editor trumps up a story of colonel
Cass having " driven the 41st regiment and
some Indians more than half a mile, when the
darkness of the night made further progress
hazardous ;" and adds :—" The colonel was content to possess the bridge and some adjoining
houses until morning, when, after reconnoitring
the neighbourhood, and not finding the enemy,
he commenced his return to the camp at Sandwich."*
On the 19th a second reconnoitring party,
consisting of 150 men of the Ohio volunteers,
and a detachment of artillery, with two pieces of
cannon, under the command of colonel M'Arthur, returned to the ground abandoned by
colonel Cass ; but who, with 100 men, soon afterwards joined M'Arthur's detachment.* Of a
small look-out party of the 41st regiment, sent
across the very bridge, which colonel Cass had
been " content to possess," but too much flurried to destroy, two privates, who behaved like
noble fellows, were wounded and taken prisoners. Upon the bridge the British had two
light field-pieces, with the fire from which they
disabled one of the American guns, and drove
the Americans into the plane ; but were too inferior in force to pursue them. The American
editor, concealing that any artillery was engaged
on his side, has multiplied the British guns from
* Sketches of the War, p. 22.

61

two to six, and in despite of dig tame and shoal
water brought to the spot the British ship
" Queen Charlotte, of 20 guns."* .After stating
-

;

that " the chief, .Tecumseh, celebrated for his
dexterity with the tomahawk and rifle, was at
the head of the Indians," Mr. Thomson gravely
pronounces " the escape of M'Arthur and hisi
companions" as "truly miraculous."*
The American general, in expectation that
150 Ohio volunteers, under the command of
captain Brush, were waiting at the river Raisin,
36 miles off, with a quantity of provisions for
the army, despatched major Vanhorne, with 200
men,f to meet and escort the reinforcement to
its destination. Fortunately, the major encountered, on his second day's march, near Brownstown, 70 Indians, under the brave Tecumseh, in
ambuscade. The latter fired, and, according to
the American accounts, killed twenty men, including captains McCulloch, Bostler, Gilcrease,
and Ubry ; and wounded nine. Tecumseh and
his 70 Indians, with the loss of only one man
killed, drove these 200 Americans before them,
for seven miles, and took possession of the mail
they were escorting.' When the American force
first appeared in sight, Tecumseh sent an express
to the river Aux Canardsy for captain Muir and
his company. But captain Muir had been de* Sketches of the War, p. 23.

1-

of the War, p. 40

IMF
, 62

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

MILITARY OCGURRENCES BETWEEN

tached, across the river, to a spot three miles beyond Amherstburg. Being relieved by captain
Mockler of the Newfoundland Fencibles, captain
Muir hastened back ; and, re-crossing the riven
arrived at Brownstown just as the affair ended,
Not a white man was engaged ; yet have the
American editors magnified Tecumseh's little
party into "a very superior force of regulars
and Indians." One editor says, " The whole
detachment retreated in great .disorder, and
could not, by any exertion of major Van Horn,
be rallied ;" another says, " they fled with
precipitation ;" and a third editor, and he Min
alone has, in direct contradiction to the official
account,* ventured to reduce major Vanhorn'a
command to " 150 men," says : — " To the
Americans the odds were fearful, but, after an
obstinate resistance, they succeeded in making
an orderly retreat." j Here is confusion !
Among the numerous anecdotes which contribute to fill the pages of the American histories,
iwing most authentic one no where ap•
the foll
pears. In the pocket of. captain M'Culloch, of
the American army, killed in this affair with the
Indians, was found a letter addressed to his wife,
in which this humane individual, this officer of
a nation vaunting itself to the world as a pattern
of civilization, states that, on the 15th of .Jul,
y
-

* App. NQ. 9.

+ Sketches of the War, p. 25.

63

he killed an Indian,* and had the pleasure of
tearing the scalp from the head of the savage with
his teeth !—We may presume that, had this exploit been performed in December instead of
July, the bloody trophy itself would have been
found in the other pocket, ready to accompany
the letter, as a still more delectable present to
the American lady. /
The fall of Michilimacinac had, to use general Hull's language, " opened the northern
hive of Indians" upon him ; and he was induced, from his fears, greatly to magnify " the
reinforce•tents from Niagara" that had been
sent to colonel Proctor, who had succeeded
lieutenant-colonel St. George, at Amherstburg.
But the worst of all was, that the general's proclamation, " so well calculated to inspire confidence, and secure the friendship of the Canadians,"t no longer produced its effect. The
promised " protection to persons, property, and
rights," was fulfilled in a way that taught the
subjects of Canada what reliance they could
place upon republican faith. The inhabitants
received from their " brethren" worse treatment
than the most ferocious enemy could inflict.
This, by degrees, opened their eyes ; and, as
the American general deplores, " the desertion
of the (Canadian) militia ceased." Much of


* Sec p. 59.

t Ilist. of the War, p. 36.

64

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

general Hull's disappointment, no doubt, arose
from the salutary effects of the counter-prochIllation*, which general .Brock, on the 22d of
.July, issued at Fort-George. These " untoward"
circumstances combined. to relieve the upper
province from the tread of the invaders. The
general and his powerful army, except 250
infantry and a corps of artillerists, left in a
small fortress on the banks a little below. Detroit, re-crossed the river during the night of
the 7th of August, and, by day-break next
morning, were safely encamped at Detroit ; thus
shamefully leaving to their fate,' . says Mr.
O'Connor, in the height of his indignation against
general Hull, " the Canadians who had joined
the American standard."
The communication which had been opened
by the American army, between Raisin and their
present post, was shut up by the Indians. It
was deemed indispensably requisite that it should
be re-opened, or the provisions at that river
could never reach the garrison ; which, in a few
days, would be in want of subsistence. Accordingly, 600 men,' under the command of
lieutenant-colonel Miller, accompanied by a
detachment of artillery with two six-pounders,
were immediately sent upon that service. Upon
the lieutenant-colonel's arrival at Maguaga,
4,
App. No. 5.
i Sketches of the War, p. 40.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

63

about 14 miles from Detroit, and four from
Brownstown, he fell in with 75 men of the 41st
regiment, 60 militia, 120 Indians under Tecumseh, stationed on the left of the militia, and 70
Indians from the lake, under Caldwell, on the
right of the regulars : the whole under the command of captain Muir of the 41st. This force
one American editor has augmented to 200 regulars and 500 Indians, in order that he might
make it " more than one-third superior" to his
own, which he has, in his old way, reduced below
the number stated in the official account. Nor
is there a word of the two 6-pounders.
Here the first trigger was pulled between the
British and Americans in the late war. The
firing commenced on our side ; and, very soon
afterwards, the whole of the lake Indians fled.
This gave an opportunity to the American troops
to outflank the British regulars ; who, to prevent
being surrounded by four times their number,
retired, but, in such order, that the Americans
did not attempt to follow, contenting themselves
with firing a few distant shots. The British drew
up again, at a narrow way, within half a mile of
the scene of action, intending to dispute the
enemy's passage, but he advanced no further.
The British lost three men killed, captain Muir,
lieutenant Sutherland, (since dead,) and 10 men
wounded. The Americans have stated the Indian loss at 100 killed, and their own at 83
VOL. I.

60

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

killed and wounded. Colonel Miller, coy.
pletely frustrated in his design by the trifling
force opposed to him, returned to Detroit. the
following night.
It is perfectly consistent, that the American
editor who can make so free with his own
official accounts when they are not sufficiently
extravagant, should here boast of a victory;
but who expected he would resort to the silly
expedient of representing the British regular
as almost naked, and frightfully painted, send
ing forth such dreadful whoops and yells, as
"might have appalled almost any other troops,"$
than those, whom Mr. Thomson afterwards dig.
nifies with the title of " heroes of Brownstown,S,
This ridiculous stuff would excite our laughter
but that feelings of disgust and indignation are
suddenly called forth by a paragraph in the
National Intelligenc,er", (the American govern.
ment-paper,). stating that, ." when the American
militia returned to Detroit from the battle 0(
„Brownstown, they bore triumphantly on the
points of their bayonets between 30 and 40
fresh scalps, which they had taken on the field.'
The American captain Brush, who was still
waiting at the river Raisin for an escort, re'
ceived orders to remain, and defend himself at
that place, or to proceed by an upper route,
crossing the river Huron ; whither the militia
)

* Sketches of the War, p. 27.

67

of Raisin had been ordered*to attend him.
On the evening of the 13th, general Hull
despatched colonels M'Artisur and Cass, with
400* of their most effective men, by an upper
route through the woods, to form a junction with
captain Brush, and to assist in the transportation
of the provisions.
On the same day that the battle of Maguaga
took place, captain Heald, the American commander at Fort-Chicago, near the head of Lake
Michigan, received orders to abandon his position. Accordingly, on the 15th, after delivering to the friendly Indians, in conformity to his
instructions, all the goods in the factory, and
such provisions as could not be taken away, and
destroying all the surplus arms and ammunition,
he commenced his march, with 54 regulars and
12 militia, and was escorted by captain Wells,
of Fort-Wayne, and a few Indians of the Miami tribe, sent thither for that purpose. The
Americans were afterwards met by a hostile band
of Indians, attacked, defeated with great slaughter, and made prisoners. Captain Heald and
his lady fortunately effected their escape ; and,
says one American account, " procured a conyeyance to Michilimacinac, where they were
litely received by the commandant, captain
Roberts." Mrs. Heald, it appears, was wounded
by six, and her husband by two shots.
* App. No. 9.
F 2

68

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN'

General Brock had just arrived at Foit ∎
George from York, when he heard of general
Hull's invasion. It was his intention to attack,
and there is no doubt he would have carried,
Fort-Niagara; but, sir George Prevost not have
ing sent him any official account of the war t
nor any order to guide his proceedings, the ge ,
neral was restrained from acting according to
the dictates of his judgment, and the natural
energy of his mind. After issuing a proclamaa
tion, to defeat the object of that circulated by
general Hull, general Brock returned to York,
to meet the legislature of Upper Canada ; which,
on account of the war, he had called together
for an extra-session. This session was short;
and, on the 5th of August, the general again left
York, for Fort-George, and for Long-point on
Lake Erie. On the 8th he embarked at the
latter place, with 40 rank and file of the 41st
regiment, and 260 of the militia forces ; leaving
the important command on the Niagara frontier
to his quarter-master-general, lieutenant-colonel
Myers, an able and intelligent officer.
General Brock and his little party landed safe,
at Amherstburg on the evening of the 12th;
when that enterprisingotficer lost not a moment,
but, with the reinforcement he procured
this place, pushed on for Sandwich. Hero
he found that the Americans had evacuated and
destroyed a small fort which they had con-

GREAT BRITAIN• AND AMERICA.

69

Itructed soon after their arrival. On the morning of the 15th general Brock sent across a flag
of truce, with a summons, demanding the immediate surrender of the garrison : to which an
answer was returned, that " the town and fort
would be defended to the last extremity.'fy That
being the case, at four o'clock in the afternoon,
the British batteries, which had been constructed
for one 18-pounder, two 12-pounders, and two
51- inch howitzers, opened upon the enemy, and
continued to throw their shells into the fort
until midnight. One shell killed three or four
officers, and produced great alarm in the garrison. The fire litinAS returned by seven 24-pounders, but without the slightest effect.
At day-light the next morning the firing recommenced; and the major-general, taking with
him 30 of the royal artillery, 250 of the 41st regiment, 50 of the Royal Newfoundland regiment, and 400 militia, crossed the river, and
landed at Spring-well, a good, position, three
miles west of Detroit. The Indians, 600 in
number, under the brave Tecumseh, had effected
their landing two miles below ; and they immediately occupied the woods about a mile and a
half on the left of the army. The direction of
the batteries on the opposite shore had, in the
mean time, been left to an intelligent officer.
At about 10 o'clock the troops advanced, in a
t elose column, 12 in front, along
the bank of tile

70

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

river towards the fort, and halted at about a
mile distant : by which time, the Indians had
penetrated the enemy's camp. When the head
of the British column had advanced to within
a short distance of the American line, general
Hull, and the troops under his command, retreated to the fort, without making any use of
two 24-pounders, adVantageously posfed on an
eminence, and loaded with grape-shot.
Just as the British were about to commence
the attack, a white flag was seen suspended from
the walls of the fort. So unexpected a►ineasure
caused general Brock to despatch au officer in
front, to ascertain the fact. Shilrtly afterwards
the capitulation* was signed ; and the fort of
Detroit, its ordnance and military stores, a fine
vessel in the harbor, the whole north-western
army, including the detached parties, also the
immense territory of Michigan, its fort ified posts,
garrisons, and inhabitants, were surrendered to
the British arms.
General Brock permitted the American volunteers and militia to return to their homes, but
sent general Hull and the principal part of the
American regulars to Montreal ; whence they
were afterwards removed to Quebec. After issuing a proclamation,t announcing to the inhabitants of Michigan, the cession of that territory
to the arms of his Britannic majesty, and after
* App. Nos. 6 and 7.
it
-i- Ibid. No. 8.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

71

placing colonel Proctor in command of the fort
at Detroit, general Brock hastened back to FortGeorge ; which place he reached on the 24th of
the same month.
The editor of the " Sketches of the War" states
the force of general Hull to have been, at muster
on the morning of the surrender, 1060 men, exclusive of the detachments of " 350" regulars,
and 300 Michigan militia then out on duty.
Having already convicted M r. Thomson of underrating the American force, even in the teeth of
his own official accounts, it would be an over,
strained concession to place implicit reliance
upon the accuracy of his numbers. However, to do
no more than add 50 to his " 350 men," detached
under colonels Cass and M'Arthur, and who,
on the day of the surrender, bad, in pursuance of
fresh orders, returned in sight of the fort and
" were accidentally thrown into a situation, the
best for annoying and cutting off the retreat of
the British army,"* the force under general Hull
would amount to 1760 men ; of whom 1060 at
least, were entrenched in a superior position,
under the protection of a fort, mounting 33
pieces of ordnance, including nine 24-pounders.
General Hull, in his letter states, that the "whole
effective force at his disposal did not exceed. SOO
men." But effective is a very vague term : it
may include the not willing, as well as the not
* Sketches of the War p. 31.
;

72 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

able to fight. Nor, is it probable, that his sick

The best evidence that these figures are correctly transcribed, is the trifling amount by
which they exceed the round numbers stated in
. major-general Brock's despatch. Were it not for,
.that, we should be warranted in relying upon

the American colonel Cass's letter, published
in the " National Intelligencer." He says :" I have been informed by colonel Findlay, who
saw the return of their quarter-master-general,
the day after the surrender, that their whole
force, of every description, white, red, and black,
was 1080." In another part of his letter the
colonel says : —" I was informed by general Hull,
the looming after the capitulation, that i he British forces consisted of 1800 regulars, and that he
surrendered to prevent the effusion of human
blood, That he magnified their regular force
nearly five fold, there can be no doubt."—Except to blame general Hull for " the folly and
ruin of crowding 1100 men into a little work,
which 300 could fully man," the editor of the
"History of the United States" has not touched
upon the force of either party, in his brief notice
of the surrender of Detroit.
o account of ordnance-stores found in the
fort appears in the British official returns, for
which a reason is there assigned. The editor of
the " Sketches of the War," satisfies us that there
that
was no deficiency in this respect, by
the American troops had, among their stores,
" 400 rounds of 24-pound shot, already fixed ;
about 100000 cartridges made up ; 40 barrels of
wder ; and 2500 stands of arms."*
One reason for general Brock's marching so. T

* Sketches of the War, p. 33.

* Sketches of the War, p. 30. 31.

amounted to 260, or to half the number ; otherwise the American historians would have taken
advantage of the circumstance.
It was natural for general Hull to magnify the
British force ; which he did to an extent that
enabled him, assisted by the previous diminution
of his own, to urge to his government the " great
inequality" between the two armies. Mr. 1 homson, however, has exerted himself, as successfully in the one, as he had in the other case,
-to disprove the general's assertion. W ithout
answering for the authenticity of the alleged
document, or the purity of the channel through
which it reached Mr. Thomson, here follows a
statement, purporting to be taken from the return of major-general Brock's quarter-mastergeneral :
British regulars, infantry and artillery,
Indians, principally Chippeways, Hurons]
and Putawatamies,
"in regular uniform," or, rather, in
coats and jackets of all colours and shapes,

382
.

650
362

Total, 1394*

-

,

74

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICAi7 75

comparatively small a force against Detroit, was
a deficiency of arms wherewith to equip the
Upper Canada militia.. •- Many of the latter
were obliged, in consequence, to remain behind;
and even the arms that had been distributed
among their companions, were of the very worst
quality : so that general Hull's " 2500 stands of
arms,". which were, indeed, of the very best
quality, became a valuable acquisition. The
success that attended this first enterprise is
which the militia had been called upon to act,
produced an electrical effect throughout the two
provinces. It inspired the timid, settled the
wavering, and awed the disaffected ; of which
latter there were many. It also induced the
Six Nations of Indians, who had hitherto kept
aloof, to take an active part in our favor.
So determined appears M r. Thomson's hostility
towards general Hull, that he declares the Antedcan commander surrendered " to a bOdy of troop(
inferior in quality as well as number." Upon
what ground that assertion is made, other than
the superior gallantry displayed by the Ameri•
ican troops in the few skirmishes already re
corded, no where appears ; and how widely ditf6
rent were the sentiments of the commander Of
those inferior troops, Mr. Thomson has made
known to us in his preceding page. " When,"
says he; " general Brock said, that the force at
his disposal. authorized him to require the sm.
,

render, he must have had a very exalted opinion
of the prowess of his own soldiers, or a very mistaken one of the ability of those, who were commanded by the American general."*
Brigadier-general Hull was afterwards exchanged for 30 British prisoners ; and his trial
commenced at Albany on the 5th of January, and
ended on the 8th of March, 1814. The particulars
may not be uninteresting, and are therefore extracted from the pages of Mr. O'Connor's book :
" Three charges were presented against him ;
to wit, treason against the United States; cowardice; and neglect of duty, and unofficer-like
conduct—to all which he pleaded Not Guilty.—
The general having protested against the competency of the court to try the first charge, the
court declined making any formal decision on it ;
but yet gave an opinion that nothing appeared
to them which could justify the charge.
The court acquitted him of that part of the
third specification, which charges him with
having forbidden the American artillery to fire
on the enemy, on their march towards the said
Fort-Detroit, and found him guilty of the first,
second part of the third, and the fourth specifications. On the third charge, the court found
the accused guilty of neglect of duty, in omitting seasonably to inspect, train, exercise, and
order the troops under his command, or cause
*' Sketches of the War, p. 32.

76 11IILITARV

URF,AT BRITAIN AND

AMERICA. 77

OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

the same to be done. They also found him
guilty of part of the fourth and fifth specific•
lions, and the whole of the sixth and seventh;
and acquitted him of the second and third, and
part of the fourth and fifth specifications.
" The court sentenced the said brigadier'general William Hull, to be shot to death, twothirds of the court concurring in the sentence;
but, in consideration of his revolutionary services, and his advanced age, recommended him
to the mercy of the president of the United
States. The president approved the sentence,
remitted the execution, and ordered the name
P
AO of general Hull to be erased from the list of the
army.*—It is an undoubted fact, that most of
general Hull's lenient judges had, during the war;
either run from, or been beaten by, a British
force, much inferior to theirs. As their best excuse, we can only suppose, that the sentence of
death was understood to be a mere ?orm to save
appearances ; in short, that the president of the
United States had pledged himself not to con,
firm it.
The chagrin felt at Washington, when news
arrived of the total failure of this the first attempt at invasion, was in proportion to the sanguine hopes entertained of its success. To what
a pitch of extravagance those 'hopes had been car.
vied, cannot better appear than in two speeches
* History of the War, page 21 5.

delivered upon the floor of congress, in the summer of 1812. Dr. Eustis, the secretary at war
of the United States, said :—" We can take the
Canadas without soldiers ; we have only to send
officers into the provinces, and the people, disaffected towards their own government, will
rally round our standard."' The honorable
Henry Clay seconded his friend, thus :—" It is
absurd to suppose we shall not succeed in our
enterprize against the enemy's provinces. We
have the Canadas as much under our command as
she (Great Britain) has the ocean ; and the way
to conquer her on the ocean is to drive her from
the land. I am not for stopping at Quebec, or
any where else ; but I would take the whole
continent from them, and ask them no favors.
Her fleets cannot then rendezvous at Halifax as
now ; and, having no place . of resort in the
north, cannot infest our coast as they have lately
done. It is as easy to conquer them on the land,
as their whole navy would conquer ours on the
ocean. We must take the continent from them.
I wish never to see a peace till we do. God has
given us the power and the means : we are to
blame if we do not use them. -If we get the
continent, she must allow us the freedom of the
sea." This is the gentleman who, afterwa4.ds,
in the character of a commissioner, —and it
stands as a record of his unblushing apostacy,—
signed the treaty of peace.

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