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Chapter 11

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Chapter 11
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A.
FULL AND CORRECT ACCOUNT
OF THE

MILITARY OCCURRENCES
OF

THE LATE WAR

LHC

973.3
J29

BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN
AND

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
WITH

AN APPENDIX,
AND

PLATES.
BY WILLIAM JAMES,
AUTHOR OF " A FULL AND CORRECT ACCOUNT OF THE CHIEF
NAVAL OCCURRENCES, &C."

.ellterum alterius auxilio eget.
SALLUST.

IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. II.

Unbolt :
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR:
SOLD BY BLACK, KINGSBURY, PARBURY, AND ALLEN, LEADENHALL-STREET;
JAMES M. RICHARDSON, CORNHILL ; JOHN BOOTH, DUKE STREET /
-

PoRTLAN D -PLACE ;. AND ALL OTHER BOOKSELLERS.

1818.

'1) 1" 1'.:41 3 1111
.44

.

MILITARY OCCURRENCES,
.c.

4c.

CHAPTER XI.
British force on the Niagara in October, 1813
A ttack upon the piquets—Effects of the surrender
of the right division—Major-general Vincent's
retreat to Burlington— His orders from the
commander-in-clarf to retire upon Kingston—
Fortunate contravention of those orders—General
Harrison's arrival at, and departure from FortGeorge Association of some Upper Canada
militia after being disembodied—Their gallant
attack upon, and capture of, a band of plunder ing traitors—General M'Clure's shameful con
duct towards the Canadian inhabitants—Colonel
Murray's gallant behaviour Its effect upon
general M'Clure—A Canadian winter—Nightconflagration of Newark by the AmericiansM'Clure's abandonment of Fort-George, and
flight across the river=–Arrival of lieutenantgeneral DruMmond—Assault upon, and capture
of Fort-Niagara — Canadian prisoners found
there Retaliatory destruction of LeWistown,


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VOL. Jr.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Youngstown,Illanchester ,and Tuscarora—Attack
upon Bufaloe and Black Rock, and destruction
Of those ifillagei—Americaii resentment against
general 31' Clure—Rernarks upon the campaign ;
also upon the burning of Newark, and the
measures pursued in retaliation.

HAVING brought the campaign of 1813 to a
close upon the northern,; and north-western,
Canadian frontiers, the operations along both
shores of the Niagara come, next, to be detailed.
Major-general Vincent, who again commanded,'
in the absence of general De Rottenburg, the
centre-division, had received, since the middle
of September, a reinforcement of the 100th
regiment; in order to counter-balance the
reduction his force would sustain in the
departure of the 49th and 104th regiments,
already noticed.• The general's head-quarters
were at the Cross Roads; and the piquets of his
advanced corps, which was commanded by colonel
Murray, occasionally showed themselves• in the
town of Newark. From the American accounts
only we learn, that, on the 6th of October, "about
500 militia-volunteers and about 150 Indians,
commanded by colonel Chapin," attacked the
piquet-guard of the_ British ; and, " after an
hour and a half's bard-fighting," drove it upon
the main-body ; when "the whole British army,
-

* See Vol. I. p. 261.

?,'Ctikt

3

consisting of 1100 men, with the great general
Vincent, at their head, fled into the woods."
The British are declared to have sustained a
loss of 32 in killed only, and the Americans of
four killed and wounded. * This is the way the
" literary gentlemen" of the United States
contrive to fill their " histories." Colonel, or
doctor Chapin (for he professes, and is equally
mischievous in, both characters) had lately
escaped from the British, t and, for that exploit,
been promoted ; probably by the secretary at war
himself, as he was known to have been in the
neighbourhood of the Niagara, while the Montreal expedition was preparing.
On the 9th of October intelligence of the
disaster that had befallen the right division,
reached the head-quarters of the centre-division;
and caused general Vincent, after destroying
considerable quantities of stores, , provisions
and Indian goods, to retreat, with his troops;
towards Burlington Heights : where colonel
Proctor joined him with the small remnant of
his division. As soon as general Vincent and
his troops had got well on their way to
Burlington, major-general M'Clure, with the
whole of his force, numbering 2 700
0 0 men, besides Indians, marched a few miles along the
road, and back. This was not ' without an
object ; for we .Were afterwards 'told; that
* Hist. of the War, p. 158.
+ See Vol. I. p. 218.
B 2
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MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN
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general M'Clure, with the New York militia,
volunteers, and Indians, succeeded in driving
the British army from the vicinity of FortGeorge, and pursued them as far as the Twelveriiile Creek."'
Major-general Proctor's discomfiture reached
the head quarters of the" commander in chief
about the middle of October ; and orders were
instantly forwarded to major-general Vincent,
directing him to commence upon his retreat
without delay, and to evacuate all the British
posts beyond Kingston, Some delay did fortunately take place, owing chiefly to counterorders, not from head-quarters ;. and a council
of war, summoned at Burlington Heights, came
to the noble resolution of not moving a step
to the rear, in the present conjuncture of affairs
on the peninsula. Fatal, indeed, would have
been the retreat. There was still a considerable number of sick, both at Burlington
Heights and at York ; and, considering the
season of the year, and the state of the roads,
the whole of them must have been left to the
protection of the enemy. Nor, for the same
reason, could the ordnance, ordnance-stores,
baggage, and provisions, have followed the
army ; and yet the garrison of Kingston, upon
which place the troops were directed to retire,
had, at this time, scarcely a_week's provision in

4 6

* History of the War, p. 158. •

store. This abandonment of territory so soon
following up the affair at the Moravian village,
what would the Indians have thought of us 9—
ln short, it will not bear reflection.
Towards the end of October, among other
sacrifices caused by the dread of general
Harrison's zeal and promptitude, two companies
of the 100th regiment, which had been stationed
at Charlotteville, in the London district of
Upper Canada, were ordered to evacuate that
post, and join the main body of the centredivision of the army at Burlington, distant 60
miles. Orders were at the same time issued, to
disembody and disarm the militia. The officer
who had this duty to perform, having ascertained
that a large body of traitors and Americans had
been plundering the houses of the inhabitants,
while the latter were away in the service of their
country, left a supply of arms and ammunition
with some of the militia officers and privates.
These, in number 45, i mmediately formed themselves into an association ; and marched,with lieutenant-colonel Bostwick, of the Oxford militia,
at their head, against the marauders; whom
they fortunately fell in with on the Lake Erie
shore, about nine miles from Dover. An engagement ensued ; in which several of the gang were
killed and wounded, and 18 taken prisoners.
These 18 were afterwards tried at Ancaster for
high treason ; and all, except three, convicted.
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MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Eight of the 15, so convicted, underwent the
penalty of the law. The remaining seven were
respited, to await the prince regent's final decision ; and have since been transported. How
highly, and yet how justly, this well-planned
and well-executed enterprise was appreciated by
the president of Upper Canada, will be seen in
the general orders which he caused to. be issued
upon the occasion."
About theist of: November general Harrison
arrived at Fort-George, with about 1700 of
his troops ;, who, agreeably to Mr.. Secretary
Armstrong's orders, were immediately quartered upon the inhabitants of Newark. In the
course of November, both general Harrison
and colonel Scott, with their respective corps,
embarked on board commodore Chauncey's
fleet for Sackett's Harbor ; leaving general
McClure, with his '2700 militia, and a few
regular troops, in charge of Fort-George.
General McClure, . now having the entire com•
mand to himself, and being disappointed,
notwithstanding all the intrigues of his friend
Wilcocks, in his endeavours " to secure the
friendship and co-operation of the inhabitants,"
began sending the most obstinate of the latter
across to the American side, and then set about
pillaging and destroying the farm-houses and
barns in the neighbourhood of Fort-George.
* App. No. 1.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. 77

These atrocities were represented to major.
general Vincent, and he was strongly urged to
allow a small regular and Indian force to be
marched against general McClure.. Colonel
Murray finally gained his point ; and, taking
with him 379 rank and file of the 100th regi.
ment, abOut '20 volunteers, and 70 of the western
Indians, led by colonel Elliot, moved forward on
the road towards the Forty-mile Creek ; beyond
which point he had been ordered not to proceed.
The advance of this small detachment soon
reached the ears of general McClure, who had
taken post at the Twenty-mile Creek, and who
now retreated, in haste, to a position somewhat
nearer to Fort-George. Colonel Murray obtained
fresh permission to extend his march to the
Twenty-mile Creek, and subsequently to the
Twelve-mile Creek. These movements had
driven the American general and his men to
Fort-George ; and then commenced a scene of
devastation and horror, of which no adequate
idea can be formed, except by such as had the
misery to be spectators. How, then, shall we
hope to succeed in describing it ?
The winter of 1813, according to general
Wilkinson, set in earlier than usual. Lambert,
in his account of the climate of Lower Canada,
says that Fahrenheit's thermometer is sometimes
36 degrees below 0, and that the mean of the

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

cold in winter is about 0.* The climate of
Upper, is certainly not quite so rigorous as that
of Lower Canada ; but yet the mildest winter of
the former, bears no comparison whatever to the
severest winter of this country. For several days
previous to the 10th of December, the weather
in Upper Canada had been unusually severe,
and a deep snow lay on the ground. Towards
night-fall on that day, general M'Clure gave
about half an hour's notice to the inhabitants of
Newarksthat he should burn down their village.
Few of the poor people believed that the wretch
was in earnest. Soon, however, came round the
merciless firemen. Out of the 150 houses of
which Newark had consisted, 149 were levelled
to the dust ! Such articles of furniture and other
valuables as the incendiaries could not, and the
inhabitants had neglected or been unable to,
carry away, shared.the general fate. Of counsellor
Dickson's library, which had cost him between
5 and 6001. sterling, scarcely a book escaped the
ravages of the devouring element. Mr. Dickson
was, at this time, a prisoner in the enemy's
territory ; and his wife lay on a sick bed. The
Villains—how shall we proceed ?—took up the
poor lady, bed and all, and placed her upon
the snow before her own door ; where, shivering
with cold, she beheld, if she could see at all,


* Lambert'* Travels, Vol. I. p. 107.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

9

her house and all that was in it consumed to
ashes. • Upwards of 400 helpless women and
children, without provisions, and in some
instances with scarcely cloaths upon their backs,
were thus compelled, after being the mournful
spectators of the destruction of their habitations,
to seek shelter at a distance ; and that in such
a night, too !--The reader's imagination must
supply the rest.
In what way will the American historian, or
will he at all, describe the conflagration of
Newark ? Not one word about it appears in
'doctor Smith's book. Mr. Thomson says briefly :
" General M'Clure determined on destroying
the town of Newark."' It is Mr. O'Connor
whom we have to thank, for being explicit upon
this point. " As a measure deemed necessary,
to the safety of the troops, the town of Newark
was burned. This act,' said general M'Clure,
(proceeds Mr. O'Connor) however distressing
to the inhabitants and my feelings, was by order
of the secretary of war, and I believe, at the
same time, proper.' The inhabitants, (continues
Mr. O'Connor,) had 12 hours' notice to remove
their effects, and such as chose to cross I he river
were provided with all the necessaries of life."t
With the knowledge that Mr. Secretary Armstrong had recently been in the neighbourhood
of, if not at Fort-George, we can readily sup* Sketches of the War, p. 188.
-I- Hist. of the War, p. 158.

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MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

pose general M'Clure acted, as he says, by the
former's orders. This confers additional atrocity upon the offence ; but, on that head, we
shall forbear comments. " Distressing to my
feelings :"—was not some such language used
by captain David Porter, of the American navy,
after he and his crew had been massacring the
natives of the small island of Nooaheevah,which
he had unfortunately visited during his cele-;
brated cruize to the Pacific ?* As to the
" twelve hours' notice," the liberty to " cross
the river," and the promise that the poor people
should be " provided with all the necessaries of
life," we give Mr. O'Connor himself credit for
the whole ; and can only attribute his not
having come forward with a better excuse, to a
sudden qualm of conscience, • or perhaps to a
momentary torpor in those inventive faculties
on most other occasions so serviceable to him.
The nearer colonel Murray approached to the
neigbourhood of Fort-George, the louder were
the complaints of the people against the " lawless banditti" by whom they had been oppressed.
That active officer immediately wrote to general
Vincent ; and, anticipating the answer he should
receive, dashed forward to Fort-George. General M'Clure's scouts gave him timely intelligence of the approach of the British ; and the
cowardly wretch, with the whole of his minions,
,

* Quart. Review, Vol. XIII. p. 364-9.

11

abandoned Fort George, and fled across the
river. Not the slightest opposition did he make ;
although the fortifications had been so much
strengthened, since the capture of the fort in the
preceding May, that the American commander,
with only half the force he possessed, might
have maintained a regular siege. He was in too
much haste to destroy the whole of his magazines,
or even to remove his tents; of which a sufficiency
for 1500 men were left standing. Colonel Murray,
in his first letter, states that general M'Clure had
passed over his cannon, as well as stores.* But,
in a second letter, he mentions that one 18, four
12, and several 9-pounders, together with a large
supply of shot, were found in the ditch. Even
the destruction of the new barracks, which we
had recently erected on the Niagara, was not
deemed, by Mr. Armstrong and general M'Clure,
so " necessary. in the military operations there,"
as Mr. Munro has since declared the burning
of Newark to have been : consequently, the
former were allowed to remain untouched. The
indignant feelings of the soldiers, as they beheld
the smoking ruins of what was once, as acknow.:
ledged by all, a beautiful and flourishing
would have burst with a heavy vengeance upon
the heads of the American general and his troops,
had they not followed up their atrocious conduct
by a precipitate flight.
* App. go. IL

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Mr. O'Connor informs us that " a council of
war," that fatal damper of American military
ardor, decided that Fort-George " was not
tenable." Of the guns, or the fortifications, lie
says nothing. Mr. Thomson concurs in opinion
that the post was untenable ;" and gives as a
reason, that the British force outside consisted
of .1500 regulars, and at least 700 Indians ;"
calls general M'Clure's troops " the remnant of
an army ;" and then informs us, that the American general " determined on destroying the
batteries ;" leaving to doctor Smith to advance
the next step ; who, as if to confirm his predecessor's discernment, says roundly " FortGeorge was soon afterwards abandoned, and
blown up, by general M'Clure." 1 ,.
Early in November lieutenant-general Drummond and major-general Rial had arrived from
England ; the former to relieve major-general
De Rottenburg, in the military command and
presidency of the upper province. These officers had been detained below, to see the end of
general Wilkinson's expedition. That business
concluded, they moved on to Kingston and
York ; at which latter place general Drummond
w as sworn into office ; and then, along with
major-general Rial, hastened to join the centre
division of the army. Both generals arrived at
St. David's, major-general Vincent's present
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* Sketches of the War, p. 18g.' + History of the War, p. 265.

13

head-quarterS, soon after the capture of Fort4
George ;. and at. a time when colonel Murray's
prompt and decisive measures had given a new
aspect to affairs..
This officer contemplated a retaliatory attack
upon the opposite lines ; to which plan general
Drummond yielded, not only his approbation,
but, rightly judging that the delay of waiting
for permission from the commander-in-chief,
then at Quebec,* might recover the enemy from
his panic, and thus defeat the object,—his immediate sanction. No more than two batteaux
were on the Niagara shore, the remainder were
in Burlington Bay. Captain Kerby, an active
militia-officer, under the orders of captain
Elliott, the deputy assistant-quarter-master-general, contrived, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, and the badness of the
roads, to effect the carriage, by land, of a sufficiency of batteaux for the enterprise.
Every thing being prepared by the evening
of the 18th, the troops destined for the assault,
consisting of a small detachment of royal artillery, the grenadiers of the royal Scots, the flank
companies of the 4lstt, and the,effective men of
the 100th regiment, amounting, altogether, to
fewer than 550 rank and file, and commanded by
colonel Murray, crossed the river on that night,
and landed at the Five-mile Meadows, about
* Distant 530 miles.
+ 2d Battalion which had recently arrived from Europe.

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GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

three miles above Fort-Niagara. At about four
o'clock the troops commenced their march ; and
the advance, consisting of the grenadiers of the
100th regiment, and a small party of the royal
artillery, succeeded in cutting off two of the
enemy's piquets ; as well as in surprising the sentries on the glacis, and at the gate, by which
means the watch-word was obtained, and the
eutrance into the fort greatly facilitated. While
three companies of the 100th, under captain
Martin, stormed the eastern demi-bastion, five
companies of the same regiment, under colonel
Murray in person, assisted by lieutenant-colonel
Hamilton of the 100th, entered the fort by the
main gate, which had been left open for the
return of the guard from relieving sentries, The
American main guard now rushed out of the
south-east block-house, and fired a volley or
two ; ancl some musketry was fired from another
stone building within the fort ; but the bayonet
overpowered all resistance, and the British union,
in a few seconds more, waived triumphantly
upon the stone-tower of Fort-Niagara.
The number of prisoners taken, including
two officers and 12 rank and file wounded,
amounted to one captain, nine lieutenants, two
ensigns, one surgeon, one commissary, 12 serjeants, and 318 rank and file. Add to this
number 65 in killed, * and " about 20 that
effected their escape," and we have 429 for the

garrison of Fort-Niagara. Upon the different
defences were mounted no fewer than 27 pieces
of ordnance; and, among them, some 32-pound
carronades. The arsenal contained upwards of
3000 stands of arms, and many rifles. The
ordnance and commissariat stores were immense ; and so was the quantity of armyclothing and camp-equipage. A portion of the
articles consisted, no doubt, of such as general
IVI‘Clure, in his flight, had brought across from
Fort-George. Had the garrison afforded an opportunity for a greater display of gallantry on the
part of the assailants, the capture of Fort-Niagara,
a post by far the strongest of any on the inland
frontiers, would have been a still more brilliant achievement : it was no slight consolation,
however, that we managed the business with the
trifling loss of six men killed, and five wounded;
including the gallant projector and commander
of the enterprize, colonel Murray, severely in
the wrist. Nor is it without feelings of exultation, that we compare the number of British sent
against Fort-Niagara, with the number of Americans,—covered too by the fire from a fleet of
ships, and from that same fort,—sent against
Fort-George,* so much its inferior in point of
strength and armament.
The deputy incendiary M'Clure, with wellgrounded apprehension of British vengeance,
had, since the very day of his crossing from Fort-

* Appendix No. 3.

* See Vol. I. p. 153.

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George, ordered the commandant of Fort-Niagara
to prepare to defend the post, and be ready with
" a proportion of hand-grenades in the different
block-houses."* He did not consider the disaster as " attributable to any want of troops,
but to gross neglect in the commanding officer
of the fort, captain Leonard, in not preparing,
being ready, and looking out for, the expected
attack." t General M'Clure describes the
British that captured Fort-Niagara, as of " great
force," and as consisting of regulars and " Indians;" although not an Indian was at the attack;
for even the " Indian chief," Norton, who
was present, is a Scotchman. The official letter
then states that, on entering the fort, we
" commenced a most horrid slaughter." This
is utterly false, as respects the implication
intended. The piquets and sentries, as in all
cases of assault or surprise, were bayonetted ;
and so were those within the fort who made any
resistance. The fort was entered in darkness,
and a formidable opposition expected ; particularly as general M'Clure had himself been
boasting, that the block-houses and defences
within-side, aided by the 32-pounder and other
carronades, which were so mounted as, if necessary, to be fired inwards, would enable a small
garrison to drive out or destroy 1500 British. No
musket whatever was discharged by the latter;
nor, from the moment that the soldiers could he
* App. No..5.

t ibid, No. 4.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. .

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certain 'of all resistance having ceased, was a,
single bayonet employed.
Mr. O'Connor describes the assaulting party:
as " regulars, militia, and Indians, to the num' her, by the most probable account, of 1500 men,"
who, he says, entered the fort while the mew
were nearly all asleep " killing, without mercy
or discrimination, those who came in their way."*,
Doctor Smith considers the capture of Fort:
Niagara to be a sore subject ; therefore merelystates that, in the month of January, it " was
surprised and captured." Mr. Thomson begins
his account by stating, that the fort was
" garrisoned by 324 sick and effective men" ;.
although we took, as prisoners, 20 more than
that number, exclusive of those that bad escaped
and been killed. He proceeds :":At 4 o'clock
on the morning of the 19th, the enemy, 400 in
number, crossed the Niagara, under colonel
Murray, and approached :-the principat gate
which was then open."—We find no " Errata"
referred to in Mr. Thomson's book, but must
consider that the printer has made " 400" of
what was intended for " 1400."—This editor
caught by the word Indians" in the official
letter, then says : ." Accompanied by his Indian
warriors, he rushed furiously in upon the
garrison. " " On entering the garrison, "
continues Mr. Thomson, " colonel Murray
"

* History of the War, p. 159.
TOL. II.

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received a wound in the arm ; after which he
yielded the command to colonel Hamilton,—
under whose superintendance, the women of the
garrison were stripped of their clothing, and
many of them killed, and the persons of the
dead officers treated with shocking indignity."*
—Never was so base a falsehood ! But who, out
of the United States, will believe this pettifogging scribbler's story ? and as to those in
the United States who may do so, they are too
insignificant, we are sure, to give the gallant
colonel the slightest uneasiness.
Among the valuables found in Fort-Niagara,
were eight respectable Canadian inhabitants;
who, in direct violation of civilized warfare, had
been taken from their peaceful dwellings to be
immured within the walls of a prison. That no
doubt may remain of the fact, we here present
the reader with the names of six out of the eight
individuals, who were thus so happily released
from bondage. The names are : Thomas Dickon,
Samuel Street, and J. M. Cawdle, esquires ;
Messrs. John Tompson, John Macfarlane, and
Peter M`Micking ; the latter 80 years of age.
On the same morning on which Fort-Niagara
was carried, major-general Rial, taking with
him detachments from the royal Scots and 41st
regiments, amounting to about 500 rank and
file, crossed over to Lewistowm About 500
* Sketches of the War, p. 180 ; and third edition!

19

Indian warriors had preceded this force, and
had a skirmish with, and' completely routed, a
detachment of American militia, under a major
Bennett ; in which affair the latter lost eight'
men killed. • 'NO sooner had the Americans aban
doned Lewistown, than the Indians commenced'.
setting fire to it. Major-general Rita, who'
found no enemy to contend with, took possession
of a 12 and '6-pOunder gun, with travelling
carriages, and every thing 'complete ; also a
considerable quantity of small arms, some ammunition, nine barrels of powder, and about 200
barrels of flour.. The small villages of Youngstown, Manchester, and the Indian Tuscarora,
as soon as the inhabitants had deserted them,
shared the fate of Lewistown.
There is no doubt that the Indians committed
many enormities ; but who could have told Mr.
M'Clure,—himself the origin of all that happened,—that the savages were " headed by
British officers painted." ? Mr. O'Connor is the
only one of our three editors who has repeated
this story. A. ajor-general Rial and his troops'
passed on to Fort-Schlosser ;* which place' they.
destroyed : they then proceeded as far as Tonewanto Creek, * which is within 10 miles of
Buffaloe ; but, finding the bridge broken, returned, and crossed over to Queenstown.
The exposed state of the American Niagara* See Plate I.
c2
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MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

frontier began to excite serious alarm ; and
general McClure, too dastardly to meet in the
field the avengers of the conflagration of Newark,
had requested major-general Hall to take the
command of the regulars and militia, then
assembling from all parts, to repel any further
encroachments. On the morning of the 23d
the major-general fixed his head-quarters at
Batavia, a village about 40 miles from Buffaloe.
On the morning of the 29th we find him at
Buffaloe, reviewing his troops ; which then
amounted to 2011 men, but were afterwards, it
appears, considerably reduced by desertion.*
On the 28th lieutenant-general Drummond
took up his head-quarters at Chippeway ; and,
on the next day, within two miles of FortErie. Having reconnoitred the enemy's position at Black Rock, the lieutenant-general
determined to attack him. Accordingly, on
the night of the 30th, major-general Rial,
having under his command four companies of
the 8th, 250 men of the 41st, the light company
of the 89th, and the grenadiers of the 100th,
regiments, numbering, with 50 volunteer-militia,
about 590 rank and file, also a body of Indian.
warriors, not exceeding 120, crossed the Niagara,
and landed, without opposition, about two miles
below Black Rock. The light-company of the
89th advanced along the road, and secured an
* Mist. of the War, p. 161.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

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American piquet, as well as the bridge over the
Conjuichity,* or Schojeoquady,t the boards
of which had already been loosened, preparatory
to their removal. The 250 men of the 41st, and
the grenadiers of the 100th, were joined to the
light company of the 89th t' and the whole,
amounting to about 400 rank and file, in order
to secure the passage of the bridge, took up a
position, a short distance beyond it, at a place
called the Sailor's battery. In the course of the.
night several attempts were made by general
Hall's militia to dislodge the British from their
position ; but, " owing to the darkness of the
night, and the confusion into which the militia
were thrown by the enemy's fire,"* every
attempt failed.
At day-dawn on the 31st, the royal Scots,
about 800 strong, along with a detachment of
the 19th dragoons, the whole commanded by
lieutenant-colonel Gordon, of the royals, crossed
over to land above Black Rock, for the purpose
of turning the enemy's position, while major' general Rial's force should attack him from
below. Unforttinately, owing to some error in
the pilots, several of the boats grounded ; and
became, in consequence, exposed to a heavy and
destructive fire from one 6, one 24, and two
12-pounders; at the Black Rock battery, and
from about 600 menT drawn up on the beach,
-

*App No. 6.

1- See Plate I.

t Mist. of theWar, p. 161.

22

MILITARY QCCURRENCES BETWEEN

4

flanked by a number of Indians. The gallant
royals, thus sitting in their grounded boats, to
be shot at like targets, lost 13 rank and file,
killed, and three serjeants, and 29 rank and file
wounded. „Fortunately, a few well-directed
shots from five field-pieces stationed on the
opposite shore, and the near approach of majorgeneral Rial's force upon the,, enemy's right,
caused a favorable diversion.
By this time a considerable force of militia,
certainly not fewer than 1300, had assembled in
the town ; but, after a short resistance, the
Americans abandoned Black Rock and its batteries, and fled towards Buffaloe, about 2-1- miles
distant, To this town they were followed, in
close pursuit ; and, although protected by a
field-piece posted on a height that commanded
the road, made but a slight resistance, ere they
fled in all directions to the neighbouring woods.
The British captured at these two posts eight
pieces of ordnance, including a 2.1 and 18-pounder. For want of adequate means of conveyance
the public stores, consisting of considerable quan- •
titles of clothing, spirits, and flour, were obliged
to be destroyed. All the inhabitants having left,
Black Rock and Buffaloe, the two villages shared
the fate of Newark. The United States' vessels
Chippeway, Little Belt, and Trippe, were found
aground near Buffaloe Creek ; and, along with
,st9res, were ,also committed to the flames,
their
• - • -1 •
.

0

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

23

This fact is scarcely noticed by the American
editors ; although the smallest of these three
vessels, when captured from us a short time
previous,* was, with the utmost gravity, styled,
—" His Britannic majesty's schooner Chippeway."1 The British loss on this occasion,
including that of the royal Scots already given,
amounted to 31 killed, 72 wounded, and nine
missing. The American loss does not appear ;
except where general Hall states, that " many
valuables were lost. t. Owing to the nimbleness
of the American militia, and the contiguity of
the woods, only 130 prisoners were made ;
among whom was the notorious colonel, or doctor
Chapin. Major-general Hall himself,_••with
nearly 300 of the most pursy of his soldiers,
brought up at the Eleven-mile Creek, about
three miles from Buffaloe.
The nine missing of our troops were some
careless fellows who had strayed to the margin
of the village, and were captured on the 1st of
January, by an American scouting party, headed
by a captain Stone. Two officers of this detach►nent were surprised, while on horseback,
by a patrole of the 19th light dragoons, and one,
" lieutenant Totman, of the Canadian volunteers," was shot. Mr. Thomson declars, that
-

James's Naval Occurrences, p. 286.
t Nay. Mist. of the. United States, Vol. IL p. 242.
App. No. 7. -

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

lieutenants Riddle and Totman " would bare
given themselves up, but for the treatment
which other prisoners on the Niagara had recently received."* These American editors are
never at a loss. The fact is, Mr. Tottnan was
like his friend Nlr. Wilcocks, an Irishman, and
an inhabitant of Upper Canada, where he had
resided many years. With a halter thus before
his eyes, lie had a much more powerful inducement than-is alleged by Mr. Thomson, for not
delivering himself up to the British.
v Mr. Thomson is very loud in his complaints
against the '' timid militia," assembled at Buffaloe and Black. Rock.4 -Nor' is he so without
reason ; for, in proof of the ,i.nunterous population in and around those villages, we find it
stated by a writer from Batavia, under date of
December the 23d, that 5000 men could be
assembled in 14 hours: nay, Mr. O'Connor himself fixes the number of sufferers, by the conflagration, alone, at " 12000 persons." t Nor does
this number include such as resided even a short
distance beyond the narrow slip of land, which
was the scene of the British incursion. It was
not a week after the pusillanimous behaviour
of the American militia upon this frontier, that
Mr. Wright, member of congress for Maryland,
in a speech which was to prove, that the army of
,

* Sketches of the War, p. 192.
t Dist. of the War, p. 164;

'.. GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

the United States had " been marvellously successful," said thus : " There was no evidence
against the courage or conduct of our army ;
which had displayed, not Roman but American
valor: so conspicuous, indeed, had been the
courage displayed, by both our army and navy,
that he hoped whoever should hereafter speak of
Roman valor, on this floor, would be considered
as speaking of the second degree, and not of the
first."* As far as any thing appears on the
minutes of this day's debates, Mr. Wright's
language caused no unusual sensation in the
house.
After the American Niagara frontier had thus
suffered a just retribution for the conduct of
the American government along the shores of
Upper Canada, the British troops, under majorgeneral Rial, evacuated the whole of the territory of the United States, except Fort-Niagara,
at which a .small garrison was stationed ; and
the centre-division of the army of Upper Canada,
consisting now of about 2500 rank and file,
retired into peaceable winter-quarters at FortNiagara, St. David's, Burlington Heights, and
York. Mr. O'Connor, affer declaring that our
proceedings had been marked " with the ferocity of the tiger, and the all-desolating ruin of
the locust," adds : •" On the 4th of January the
robbers retired into their own woods ; not daring
* Proceedings of Congress, January 6, 1814.
,

26

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

wait the chastisement that was preparing for
them." He next furnishes us with a piece of
useful information. " The enemy," says he,
" having declared their conduct on the Niagara
frontier to have been committed in retaliation
for excesses said to have been committed by the
American armies in Canada, the censure, or
rather indignation, of the suffering inhabitants
was turned against general McClure, who had
the command. The general, previous to retiring
from command, published an address to the
public, in justification of his own conduct, in
which he seems to have been pretty successful."
His success did not, at all events, reach to the
security of his person ;- for he was compelled,
for a long while, to have a strong guard of
regular troops stationed before his door, in order
to restrain the justly enraged population from
treating him as he deserved.
In the harbor at Erie,t distant 91 miles from
Bnffaloe, were lying, the ships, brigs, and larger
schooners of the American fleet ; nor could they
seek safety upon the lake, on account of the ice
that surrounded them. The Americans, having
good reason to fear an attack upon, had, by
collecting troops and cutting away the ice from
the sides of the vessels, made every arrangement
for the security of this important depot. After
the incompetency of the American militia to

to

* History of the War, p. 164.

+ See p. 49.

-,,- -GREAT BRITAIN. AND AIVIERICA.

27

defend the post; had,. however, been so well
proved, we presume it was the known unbearable state of the ice, and not any special orders
from Quebec, that restrained major-general
Rial from attempting to carry into effect so
desirable an object.
Having now brought to a close the campaign
of 1813, against the British provinces ; we will
borrow an American editor's remarks upon the
subject. " Though," says Mr. Thomson, " the
American arms had attained a high degree of
reputation, no one advantage was obtained, to
atone for the blood and treasure which had
already been exhausted. The capital of Upper
Canada had been taken. It was scarcely captured, before it was abandoned. The bulwark
of the province, Fort-George,.-had been gallantly carried ; but an inferior force was suffered
to escape, after being beaten ; and the conquerors were soon after confined to the works of the
garrison, and closely invested upwards of six
months. The long contemplated attack upon
Montreal was frustrated : Kingston still remained
a safe and advantageous harbor, in the hands of
the enemy ; and a fortress,* which might have
been long, and obstinately, and effectually
defended, was yielded, with scarcely a struggle,
and under circumstances mysterious in the
extreme, to the retaliating invaders of the
* Fort-Niagara.

28

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

American Niagara frontier. In the course of
the summer oV 1813, th6 American army
possessed every position between Lake Ontario
and Lake Erie, on both sides of the Niagara.
In the winter of the same - year, after having
gradually lost their possessions, on the British
side of that stream, they were deprived of their
possessions'' on their own." If we may be
allowed to leave out " gallantly" ; to substitute
" without any" for " with scarcely a"; and
to bestow a smile upon. the " high degree of
reputation which the American arms had
attained," we see no objection to Mr;. Thomson's
recapitulatory observations.
The circumstances that caused the surprising
changes which he so naturally deplores, seem to
have escaped his notice. " Had " the long
contemplated attack upon Montreal" not been
attempted, a comparatively large regular army
of the United States could still have occupied
the peninsula of Upper Canada ; and a M'Clure
not been wanted, to prove himself the willing
tool of Mr. Secretary Armstrong's atrocious
purposes. had not Newark been set on tire,
remorse would not have made cowards of M'Clure
and his myrmidons ; nor would a just indignation have stimulated a small band of British to
pursue and punish those guilty wretches ; many
Of whose dwellings happily shared the fate of the
* Sketehet of the War, p. 193.

i

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

29

town which they had destroyed. Yet—mark the
difference. The destruction along the American
frontier was the work of an assaulting foe,
glowing with wrath at the commission of injuries,
unauthorized by the laws of war. It was an
event which the inhabitants themselves had, for
the last eight days, been expecting ; an event,
therefore, which they, by removing their property, and, in many instances, themselves, from
the spot, did but partially feel. The burning
of Newark, on the other hand, was the deliberate act of an enemy, who had been six months
in quiet possession of the country ; and who had
received no provocation whatever from the inhabitants, —" the innocent, unfortunate, and distressed inhabitants," as M'Clure himself had
styled them ; and that too in the very proclamation, wherein he pledged himself to protect
them. Warning the poor people had none ;
unless half an hour or so may be called by that
name : nor even day-light, to enable them to see
to collect their little cloaths and property, and
to seek another habitation, in the room of that
they had for ever lost. Poor Mrs. Dickson, too !Who, then, will deny that the wanton conflagration of Newark still remains unatoned for '

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