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Chapter 14

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Title
Chapter 14
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http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?b=1&ref=oo&id=298071
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112-159
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Text
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112

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

as Mr. Thomson says, was so " generally repro.
bated." This editor is not satisfied with having,
as he supposes, freed colonel Campbell from
blame : in order to enable him to expatiate upon
that sickening subject, American humanity, he
must reproach Us. To high-minded Americans
it could not fail to appear as a very dastardly act,
for 70 or 80 dragoons to retreat before 500 infan•
try. The British having, however, " abandoned
the women and children," we shall now present
a specimen of the " humane treatment," which
the latter " experienced from the Americans."
Not only did colonel Campbell, and his 500 re.
gulars, lay waste as much of the surrounding
country as came within their reach, and pilfer
and carry off as much private property as was
easily portable, but they set fire to the whole
of the little village of Dover, comprizing the
following 46 buildings : one saw-mill, one tan.
house, three distilleries, six stores, 13 barns,
three grist-mills, and 19 dwelling-houses ; thus
utterly ruining 25 " peaceable" families. Yet
was all this no more than an " error" on the
part of the American commander by whose
orders it had been perpetrated.

01.1

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

113

CHAPTER XIV.
Serious preparations for the fifth invasion of the
Canadas—American force on the Niagara frontier —British force in the same neighbourhood—
Disembarkation of major-general Brown's army
—Capture of Fort-Erie, together with its
small garrison—British force at Chippeway
—Advance of the American army—Battle of
Chippeway, or Street's creek—Retreat of majorgeneral Riall—Return of the Americans to their
camp—Fresh movement against the British at
Chippeway—Further retreat of the latter to
Fort-George—Advance of the Americans to
Queenstown—Spirited behaviour of a British
patrolling party—General Brown's plans developed—General Riall's departure from FortGeorge to the Twenty, and Fifteen-mile, creeks—
American reconnoissance before Fort-George
— Wanton conflagration of the village of
St. David— Investment of Fort-George—Retreat of the Americans to Queenstown—Destruction of their baggage, and further retreat to
Chippeway—Corresponding advance of majorgeneral Riall's light troops—Re-advance of the
Americans towards Queenstown — Skirmishing
between the adverse piquets—Arrival of lieutenant-general Drummond with a reinforcement—
Detachment sent across to Lewistown—General
VOL. II.

114 MILITARY- OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

UREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

Drummond's junction with general _Malt Battle of Niagara, or Lundy's lane—Retreat of
the Americans to Chippewa!! and Street's creek
—Their destruction, of Street's mills, and of their
. own baggage, camp-equipage and stores—Their
_further retreat to Fort-Erie—Various American
accounts of these operations—Their gross misstatements corrected.
,

.

EARLY in April major-general Brown, with a
strong force in regulars, marched, a second time,
from Sackett's Harbor to Batavia ; and thence
to Buffaloe, where he fixed his head-quarters.
Here he remained drilling his troops, and receiving occasional reinforcements, till the middle
of June ; when he received orders, " to carry
Fort-Erie, and beat up- the enemy's quarters at
Chippeway ; but," adds the American secretary
at war, " in case his fleet gets -the control of
Lake Ontario, you are immediately to re-cross
the strait." This late commencement of the
campaign arose, no doubt, from the backwardness of commodore Chauncey to decide the
ascendancy upon Lake Ontario ; without which
the objects of the American government could
be only partially fulfilled.
It took major-general Brown from the 15th of
June to the 2d of July, to prepare himself for
crossing the Niagara ; which, according to the
"General Order"It issued upon the occasion, he
-

* Wilkinson's Mcm. Vol. I. p. 644.



1 App. No.25,
-

116

Was then about to do, with two brigades of infantry, a corps of artillery ; and a body of volunteers.
As far as we can gather from the American accounts, one brigade consisted of the 9th, 11th,
22d, and 25th regiments, under brigadier-general Scott ; the other, of the 17th, 19th, 21st,
and 2:3d :regiments, under brigadier-general
Ripley ; the two united brigades numbering
2580 rank and file. The corps of artillery con=
sisted of upwards of 400 men, having in charge
eight field-pieces ; and one or two howitzers ;
including, among the former, several 18 and 12pounders, There was, also, a squadron of
dragoons, under captain Harris ; which we may
estimate at 70 men. To this regular force of
3050 rank and file, were added from 8 to 1100
(say 900) New York, Pennsylvania, and" Canadian" (or traitor) *volunteers.; and about 150
Indians ; makings total farce of 4100 rank and
file, Besides this force, there -were, at different
posts between Erie anti Lewistown, . the 1st
regiment of infantry, a regular rifle corps, •and
from 2 to 300 volunteers, - under a colonel
Swift ; making an aggregate of, at least, 5000
men: But even this %Ember does not include the
militia of the district, who, in case of invasion,
could assemble to the amount of 2 or 3000 ; not
3 or 4000 regulars, whom commodore Chauncey,
if disposed to be bold, mightrbring down from
Saekett's harbor. • So that the command of Lake
2
.

116

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Ontario could very speedily augment the American force upon the Niagara to 10000 men. '11
The British force upon the same frontier was,
at this time, under the command of major-general Riall, and consisted of the royal Scots, (1st
bat.) 100th, and 103d regiments, a troop of the
19th light dragoons, and a detachment of artillery; numbering, altogether, about 1780 rank
and file. But out of this force were garrisoned the forts Erie, George, Mississaga, and
Niagara ; (the latter on the American side of
the strait ;) also the post upon Burlington
Heights ; comprehending an extent of frontier
of full 70 miles.
On the morning of the 3d of July, general
Brown's army crossed the strait, in two divisions;
one division landing about a mile and a half
below, the other about the same distance above,
Fort-Erie ; against which the American troops
i mmediately marched. Having planted a battery of 18-pounders in a good position in from
of the fort, and fired, and received in return, a
few shots; by which a loss was sustained, on our
part, of one man killed, and, on the part of the
Americans, of four men of the 25th regiment
wounded, major-general Brown summoned the
fort to surrender. Fort-Erie was, at this time,
garrisoned by two companies of the 8th and
100th regiments, and a small detachment of
artillery, under major Buck, of the 8th ; and,

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

117

in respect to armament or means of resistance,
was, as an American general says, " in a defenceless condition." Tire fort, consequently, surrendered. The prisoners, 170, including officers
of all ranks, were taken across the river, to be
marched into the interior of New York ; and a
small detachment of American artillery, under
lieutenant Macdonough; placed as a garrison
within the captured fort : in front of which, on
the lake, were stationed, as a further security,
three armed schooners, under the orders of lieutenant-commandant Kennedy, of the United
States' navy.
The British force at Chippeway was under the
immediate command of lieutenant-colonel Pearson ; and consisted of 230 of the royal Scots, 450
of the 100th regiment, a troop of light dragoons,
and a small detachment of artillery, amounting,
in all, to 760 rank and file ; exclusive of 300 sedentary militia, just assembled at the rendezvous,
and about the same number of Indians. The
first intelligence of the landing of the invading
army reached major-general Riall at Chippeway, at about eight o'clock on the same morning; and he immediately ordered that post
to be reinforced by five companies of the
royal Scots ; but even then, his inferiority of
force forbad any other movement, than for the
purpose of reconnoitring the enemy's position
* Wilkinson's Mein. Vol. I. p. 647.

18

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

and numbers. This service was gallantly
performed by lieutenant-colonel Pearson, at the
head of the flank companies of the 100th regiment, and a few militia and Indians ; and the
Americans were seen posted on an eminence,
near the ferry at Bertie.* Major-general Mall
would have Commenced the attack on that evening, had he been joined by 'The 8th regiment,
then hourly expected from York.
- On the morning of • the 4th, general Scott's
brigade, with a company of artillery, advanced,
by the main road along the margin of the river,
towards Chippeway ; and was soon afterwards
followed by general Ripley's brigade, and the
field and park artillery, under major Hindman;
also ,by general Porter and his volunteers.t
On its approach to Street's creek, the first brigade encountered the British advance, now consisting of the light companies of the royal Scots
and 100th regiments, and a subaltern's detachment of the 19th light dragoons. General Scott
immediately detached in front captain Towson's
conopany of artillery, (100 strong,) with three
18-pounders ; and, at the same time, directed a
flank company of the 9th regiment of infantry
to march out to the left of the brigade,
and cross the creek above the bridge ; so as to
assail the right of the British advance. The
heavy firing of the enemy's 18-pounders, and
-

* See Vol. I. p. 50.

- 1 Sketches of the War, p. 274.
-

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

119

the close approach of his main body, compelled
colonel Pearson and his small party, to retreat ;
but "not until they had intrepidly destroyed
the bridge over which the advancing column
would be obliged to pass."* Captain Crooker'scompany of the 9th regiment came suddenly
upon the detachment of dragoons, under lieutenant Horton, while the latter was covering
colonel Pearson's retreat. A skirmish ensued,
and the American detachment, . which had retreated to a house, would have certainly been
captured, but for the arrival of a strong reinforcement, under captains Hull and Harrison,
god lieutenant Randolph. Out of this skirmish,
in which four of the dragoons, and eight of their
horses, were wounded, Mr. Thomson has woven
a fine story ; concluding it with the declaration
of one of the American generals, that, " in pare
tizan war, he had witnessed nothing more gal.
lant than the conduct of captain Crooker and
his company."* The American pioneers having
repaired the bridge, the army crossed ; and, at
about 11 o'clock -on that night, encamped on
the right bank of Street's creek ; the first brigade
facing the creek and the bridge; the second
brigade forming the second line ; and the volun,
teers, the third. The park of artillery was sta ,
tioned on the right of the encampment, resting
on some buildings and an orchard, close to the
,

* Sketches of the War, p. 274.

129 31ILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

through the woods on the right, which were
skirted by the remainder of the militia, and by
the light companies of the royal Scots and 100th
regiments, under lieutenant-colonel Pearson.
The approach of the Indians being discovered
by the Americans, general Porter, with the
whole of his volunteers and Indians, supported
by a detachment of 80 men from the second
brigade, under captain W. Macdonald, was
ordered to advance from the rear, and drive
them hack. About 220 of our Indians, led by
Norton, had kept too much to the right, and were
wholly out of the action. The remaining 80,
consisting chiefly of Wyandots, led by captain
Kerr, on being encountered by general Porter's
brigade, fell back, first, upon the militia, and then,
along with the latter, upon colonel Pearson's
detachment of regulars. A spirited action now
ensued ; bUt a few well-directed volleys from the
British presently reversed the order of things ;
and general Porter's brigade of volunteers and
Indians gave way, and " fled in every direction."
So said general Brown.* But general Porter
himself says :—" The action of Chippeway, in
which the volunteers took so conspicuous a part,
will ever be remembered, to the honor of the
American arms. It was commenced by 800
Pennsylvania volunteers and Indian warriors,
who met about the same number of British

river Niagara ; and the light troops, or riflemen,
together with the Indians, were posted within
the same space, on the left, resting on the
woods.
The American army, thus encamped, will
only differ in numbers from that which crossed
the strait,* in the absence of the small garrison,
say 50 men, left at Fort-Erie, under lieutenant
Macdonough. Consequently, major-general
Brown had, under his immediate command at
Street's creek, 3000 regulars, (including 70 dragoons,) 900 New York, Pennsylvania, and Canadian volunteers, and 150 Indians ; total, 4050
Men ; along with nine field-pieces and howitzers,
including some 12, and three 18-pounders.
Major-general Riall had stationed himself on
the left bank of the Chippeway, distant about
14 miles from the American encampment ; and,
having been joined, on the morning of the 5th,
by 480 rank and file of the 8th regiment,
determined to attack the Americans on that
afternoon. His force now consisted of'''1530
regulars, (including about 70 dragoons,) 300
sedentary militia, j' and about the same number
of Indians ; total, 2130 men ; along with two
24-pounders, and a 52 inch howitzer.
At the appointed hour the British crossed the
Chippeway, and marched to the attack ; the
Indians, and a part of the militia, advancing
* Sec p. 116.

-I- Only partially armed.

121

1

* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 658.

1112 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

militia and Indians, overthrew and drove them
behind the main line of the British army;
destroying, at least, 150, and annihilating, it
is believed, this description of the enemy's
force."*
The reader may well conceive, what 'a para.
graph can be made out of this modest eulogiutn, by au American editor ; • and- who so
able as Mr. Thomson i'—.Thus, then, says the
latter : —" General Porter met, attacked, and,
after a short but severe contest, drove, the ene.
my's right before him. His route to Chippeway
was intercepted by the whole British column,
arrayed in order of battle ; and against this
powerful force the volunteers desperately main.
tained their ground ; until they were over.
powered by the superiority of discipline and
numbers."t Not only does major-general Riall's
despatch shew, clearly, that Mr. Thomson's
" whole British column" consisted of " the light
troops,"4: under colonel Pearson ; but general
Wilkinson himself is compelled to admit, that
his friend, general Porter, surprised a body of
Indians, who appeared to be in consultation, and
i mmediately gave way ; but, keeping up a brisk
skirmish, retreated to where they were strongly
reinforced by the enemy's troops," (called " irre,
gulars" in the very next paragraph,) " who, in
-

"

* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 658.
-f Sketches of the War, p. 277:.
t. App. No. 26.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. 123

turn, forced Porter to retreat." In this way do
we expose a " general Porter," as completely as\
we trust, we formerly did a " commodore" or
captain, of the same name,t and, it seems likely,
of the same family too.
Colonel Pearson, with his light troops, militia, and Indians, pursued general Porter's
brigade -of volunteers and Indians, and captain
Macdonald's 80 regulars ; till the arrival of a
strong reinforcement from general Ripley's.
brigade, including the whole of the 25th regiment, obliged the British advance to fall back,
in its turn. While this skirmishing Was going
on upon the right of. the British line, majorgeneral Riall had drawn up his troops before the
enemy's position ; placing the 8th regiment, and
the two light 24-pounders and howitzer, upon
the left, and the royal Scots and 100th regiments,
directly in front. The .enemy had posted his
artillery upon the right of h is line ; which consisted
of the st, or general Scott's brigade, and a portion
of the 2d, or general Ripley's brigade: another
portion had been detached in support of the
3d, or general Porter's brigade of volunteers.
The royal Scots and 100th regiments were
ordered to charge the enemy's column. The
ground over which they had to pass was uneven,
and covered with long: .grass, which .greatly
impeded their progress. It was not, however;* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 651.

James's Nay. Occur. p. 305-20.

,

124

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

till the enemy's musketry, and a flanking fire
from four pieces of his artillery, had caused a
serious loss of killed and wounded in the ranks
of these brave regiments, that the attempt was
given up. Any further contest with a force
so superior in numbers being considered as
unavailing, the British troops were directed to
retire upon Chippeway. This they did in the
most perfect order; bringing away, among their
guns, a piece that had been disabled, and
losing in prisoners none but the wounded. So
gallantly was the retreat covered by the Sth regi•
ment and colonel Pearson's light detachment,
that the Americans were deterred from advancing
with sufficient promptitude, to hinder the British
from destroying the bridge across the Chippeway ; on the left bank of which, major-general
Riall again encamped. This the American general calls being " closely pressed."
The British loss in the battle of Street's
creek was very severe. The killed amounted
to three captains, three subalterns, seven serjeants, and 133 rank and file; the wounded, to
three field-officers, (including the commanding
officers of the royal Scots and 100th regiments,)
five captains, 18 subalterns, 18 seKleants, and
277 rank and file; and the missing, to one
subaltern, one serjeant, and 44 rank and file ;
total, 148 killed ; 321 wounded ; and 46 missing : grand total, (including 433 of the two
* App. No. 28.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

125

before-mentioned regiments,) 515.* The royal
Scots were now reduced, in effective strength,
to 275, the 100th, to 245, and general Iliall's
whole force, of regulars, militia, and Indians,
to under 1520, rank and file. The loss of the
Americans, in the same battle, amounted to two
serjeants, and 58 rank and file, killed ; one
colonel, three captains, seven subalterns, 14 serjeants, and 210 rank and file, wounded ; and
one lieutenant-colonel, one major, one captain,
(all of militia,) two serjeants, and 22 rank file,
missing ; total, 60 killed ; 235 wounded ; and
27 missing ; grand total, 322:* thus leaving
general Brown a force of full 3730 men.
Considering that the firing between the main bodies of the two armies did not continue beyond an hour and a half, and that the 8th regiment, from the nature of its position, participated very slightly in the engagement, the loss
on both sides is a proof of the spirit with
which it was contested. It is rather extraordinary, that not one of our three historians
should have thought fit to state numbers on
either side ; yet do they all concur in declaring,
that the numerical superiority was in our
favor, Mr. O'Connor's account not less for its
conciseness than its gross extravagance, is worthy
of insertion. " The American troops," says this
writer, " on no occasion behaved with more
gallantry than on the present. The British
App. No. 27.
+ App. No. 29.

GREAT BRITAIN ANT) AMERICA.

126 MILITARY OCCURRENCES RET*Eit

regulars suffered defeat from a number of nieM
principally volunteers and militia; — inferior
in every thing but courage to the vanquished
is the man whose title-page has
the words : " Carefully compiled front official
documents ;" and yet, who pretends to be igno.
rant, that the " official" returns on his own side;
particularize five regiments of regular infantry
'and a corps of artillery, as having suffered a loss
in the action. Even general Wilkinson, so
cautious in these matters ; states the effective
strength of general Scott's brigade, alone, at1100
regular infantry,t and the force that crossed the
strait under general Brown, at about 3500 inen,t,
including about 2700 regulars. §
We will readily admit that, in this battle ;
the Americans fought with more bravery and
determination, than they had done since the
war commenced. 1\o opportunity, however;
occurred, of employing the bayonet to any
advantage ; and our troops had to resort to nuts.
ketry ; "'in which," says general Wilkinson,
" the American soldier, from habits of early life,
will always excel." 11 The general adds : " Comparing small with great things, here, as at
Minden, the fate of the day was settled by the
artillery ; and the American Towson may de..
servedly be ranked with the British Philips t
,

* Hist. of the War, p. 254;
Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 654.
II Ibid. 6b%
§ Ibid. 668.
Ibid. p. 646.

127

Drummond, and Foy." * Poor general Wilkinson's comparisons are the most amusing part
of his book. Without elevating " the American
Towson" to quite so lofty a station, we may
observe, that the Americans deserve great credit
for the attention they pay to their artillery ;
which is, in general, fully as well served as our
own, and, excepting the accidental circumstance of our having two 24-pounders in this
action, of much heavier caliber.
The readiness of the Americans to engage, at
the battle of Street's creek, appears to have originated in mis-information. From the prisoners
taken at Fort-Erie general Brown learned, that
major-general Riall's regular force at Chippeway
consisted solely of the first battalion of the royal
Scots, and the 100th regiment ; and consequent) Y,
of not more than 11 or 1200 men. The American
commander, therefore, with his 3000 " accomplished troops," j- advanced boldly to the attack.
This is confirmed by Mr. Thomson ; who, not
only mentions no other than the above two regiments as present, but states, that lieutenantgeneral Drummond ordered up " the 8th or
king's regiment from York," in consequence of
" the defeat of major-general Riall."T
On the other hand, intelligence reached
the British, — probably through emissaries, or
* Wilkinson's Memoirs, Vol. I. p. 652.
App; No. 28.
Sketches of the War p p. 280:

1'28

MILITARY OtCURItENCES BETWEEN

spies, purposely sent from the American camp,
—that general Brown's force exceeded 5000 men;
and major-general Riall himself, from the report
of the American militia-officers, taken prisoners
at the commencement of the action, considered
the enemy's force to amount to " 6000 men,
with a very numerous train of artillery!'t We
here see a striking difference in the impression
respecting his adversary's strength, under
which each of the generals led his troops into
battle.
During the 6th and 7th of July, general
Brown remained quiet at his encampment on
the bank of Street's creek ; but, on the morning
of the 8th, he determined upon an attempt to
dislodge major-general Riall, who was still
stationed at Chippeway. To effect this object,
general Ripley proceeded, with his brigade and
the artillery, to a point on the right bank of
the Chippeway, three miles above the British
camp, in order to open a road of communication,
and to construct a bridge across the river, or
creek, for the passage of the troops. After the
Americans had planted their artillery on the
bank, a detachment of general Riall's artillery
arrived in front ; but the latter, having now in
charge two pieces only, was obliged, after a slight
cannonade, to withdraw. The bridge was soon
afterwards completed ; and the whole of the

OREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

120

American force crossed over. In the mean while,
major-general Riall had broken up his eneampment, and retired towards Queenstown and FortGeorge ; at which latter place he arrived on that
evening. During the same night, general Brown
occupied Chippeway ; and, on the following
morning, advanced to Queenstown ; where he
again encamped.
On the 12th, while the Americans were at
Queenstown, brigadier-general Swift was de :
tacked, with 120 (one American account says
200) of general Porter's volunteers,* to reconnoitre general Riall's position at FOrt-George.
On arriving near the fort, general Swift, with
his detachment, came suddenly upon a corporal
and five men, belonging to a patrolling party
of 32 rank and file from the light company of
the 8th, under major Evans of that regiment.
One of the five privates levelled his piece at the
American general ; and, after mortally wounding him, was himself shot dead: His five comrades now fell back upon the remaining 26
men of their detachment ; who, on the report
of the first musket, had, with major Evans at
their head, marched forward to the spot. The
31 British were instantly surrounded by their
120 opponents ; but the former, by their skill and
promptitude, extricated themselves, without
further loss from their perilous situation. Mr.
,

,

* App. No. 26.

* Sketches of the War p. 251.
;

VOL. II.

K

130

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Thomson, who is the only editor that notices
the affair, magnifies our force to 60 men ; and
then pretends that the man, after he had surrendered, shot general Swift, The truth is, from
the hour that the Americans landed near Fort-,
Erie, those inhabitants who " behaved peace•,
ablyi• and followed their private ocupations,"*,
instead of being, as was promised by general.
Brown, in his proclathation to the Canadians,
" treated as friends," were plundered of their
property, and, in many instances, sent as prisoners to the American side. By way, therefore,.
of palliating the enormities known to have
been committed by the American army in its
progress through the country, Mr. Thomson
prepares this account of general Swift's death ;
adding :—" The whole volunteer brigade to
which the general was attached, solicited an op .'
portunity to avenge the fall of their brave officer:
and an opportunity was not long wanted."t
While at his encampment at Queenstown,;
general Brown writes commodore Chauncey,.
under date of the 13th July, to the following
effect : —" All accounts agree that the force of
the enemy in Kingston is very light. Meet me
on the lake•shore, north of Fort-George, with
your fleet ; and we will be able, I have no doubt,
to settle a plan of operation that will break the
power of the enemy in Upper. Canada, and that
in the course of a short time. At all events, let
,

.

,

;

* App. No. 25,

+ Sketches of the War, p. 282.

131

me hear from you ; I have looked for your fleet
with the greatest anxiety, since the 10th. I do
not doubt my.. ability to meet the enemy in
the field, and to
march in any direction over
A
his country ; you r fleet carrying for me the
necessary supplies. We can threaten forts
George and Niagara, and carry BurlingtonHeights and York ; and proceed direct to Kingston, and carry that place. For God's sake let
me see you. Sir James will not fight. Two of
his vessels are now in Niagara river. If you
conclude to meet me at the head of the lake, and
that immediately, have the goodness to bring
the guns and troops that I have ordered from
Sackett's Harbor.*
Commodore Chauncey,- knowing better than
that sir James would not fight, was lying
at Sackett's Harbor, awaiting the equipment
of his second frigate, the Mohawk ; " to main
tain," says an American editor, " the existing
equality ;' but, in reality, to acquire that onethird superiority, without which it would not be'
prudent to appear on the lake.1
On the morning of the 9th, major-general
Riall, leaving at the forts George and Mississaga,
in lieu of the 350 rank and file of the Glengarry
regiment, and of the 300 militia4 by whom he had
-

-

* Wilkinson's Memoirs, Vol. I. p. 666.
t James's Naval Occurrences, p. 399.
II. Both recently arrived from York.

x2

132 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

there been joined, detachments of the royal Scots,
and 8th, and the remaining 245 of the 100th, regi.
ments, proceeded, with a force in regulars and
militia, amounting to about 1360 rank and file,
towards Burlington heights ; where he expected
to meet the 103d regiment, and the flank compa•
nies of the 104th, the latter of which had recently
arrived there. This junction was fortunately
effected at the Twenty-mile creek ; whence the
major-general, with his force, now augmented to
about 2000 regulars and militia, marched back
to, and took post at, the Fifteen-mile creek,
distant about 13 miles from the American camp.
Intelligence of this movement on the part of
major-general Riall, unaccompanied, however,
by any account of his having been joined by
the 103d regiment, reached general Brown on
the 14th, the day after he had called for comma•
dore Chauncey's co-operation. The British
force, thus assembled, was stated to consist of
one wing of the royal Scots, the 100th regi.
ment, and the Glengarry light infantry ; amounting, in all, to 1250 men, besides 800 incorporated
militia and Indians ; making a total of 2050
men.* We have here the total, though not the
details, of the British force, as accurately stated
as need be. Had the junction of the 103d
regiment been known, we may well suppose
that major-general Riall's force would have been
It Wilkinson's Memoirs Vol. I. p. 669.
;

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. •

133

swelled out to 3000 men ; but, although considered to be a third below that amount, no
attack was to be made, without the sanction of a
council of war. General Brown's force, on this
occasion, " was estimated at 2700 regulars, and
1000 volunteers, militia, and Indians ;" which
amounts, within 30 men, to what we stated to
have been that officer's force, after the battle of
Street's creek. At this council the minority
was for attacking major-general Riall ; the
majority, for investing Fort-George. Accordingly, on the 15th, general Ripley's brigade of
regulars, and general Porter's brigade of volunteers, accompanied by a detachment of regular
artillery, with a 6-pounder and a 52 inch howitzer, the whole numbering about 2200 rank and
tile, advanced tp the neighbourhood of the
British fort. While this strong body of American troops was reconnoitring the fortifications,
lieutenant-colonel Tucker, with the detachment
of the 8th regiment, and two 6-pounder fieldpieces, mov ed out from Fort,Mississaga ; and,
being joined by the few royals from FortiGeorge,
and aided by the guns of that fort, compelled
the Americans, in spite of their great superiority
of numbers, to retire to a more respectable distance. Not a casualty occurred on our part.
Several slight skirmishes afterwards took place
between the adverse piquets, in which the Ante,
ricans were almost the only sufferers. The fur* Wilkinson's Memoirs Vol. I. p. 669.
)

136

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

death" ?* But that the Canadians had expe•
rienced, both in their persons and properties,
so many flagrant violations of that " General
Order," as to entitle it to be considered, unless,
in its intended operation upon the public mind,
as mere blank paper, we might suppose that
the gallant colonel had saved himself, by the
quibbling excuse, that he was not it " plunderer," but an incendiary. The most extra.
ordinary thing is, however, that the American
government, within seven weeks after the burning of St. David's, and when some apology
for that, among other atrocities, was thought due
to the representations made on our part, should
say :—" For the burning of St. David's, committed by stragglers, the officer who commanded
in that quarter was dismissed, without a trial, for
not preventing it."t Lieutenant-colonel Stone,
then, was not " dismissed without a trial,"
because he 5- directed," but " for not preventing," the burning of the village ; nor was the
act committed by the militia sent, under the
orders of this very colonel, " to scour the
country," but by " stragglers," under the orders
of no one ; and this, although the American
camp was only three miles off.
On the day succeeding the conflagration of
St. David's, general Brown abandoned his
'

* App. No. '25.
+ Mr. Munro's letter to sir Alexander Cochrane, dated
.Sept. 6 2 1814.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

137

encampment at Queenstown, and concentrated
his whole force in the neighbourhood of FortGeorge ; stationing a part of it on the shore of
Lake Ontario, to keep a sharp look-out for the
arrival of commodore Chauncey's fleet, with the
anxiously expected " guns and troops from
Sackett's Harbor." After waiting in suspense
from the 20th to the 23d, general Brown prepared to retrace his steps to Queenstown and
Chippeway ; in order, as he says, to draw a sup.
ply of provisions from Schlosser, and then march
directly to Burlington Heights.* American
caution was never more conspicuous than in
this retrograde movement of general Brown's.
The fortifications of Fort-George were not in
a better state than when general. M'Clure,
with a garrison of upwards of 2000, abandoned
them to colonel Murray, with fewer than 500
men t and now that fort was garrisoned by a
smaller number than then besieged it, and was
beseiged by double the number that then
composed its garrison. Yet major M'Farland,
in his before-mentioned letter, assigns, as a
reason for general Brown's retreat, that it would
require 6000 men, with a large train of battering artillery," to make any impression upon
Fort-George. The Americans seem determined
to remind us, as well of general M'Clures
bloodless surrender of this same fort, as of
;

,

* App. No 32.

See p. 11.

13S

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

Colonel Murray's gallant assault upon, and
capture of, their own Fort-Niagara.
General Brown, with his army, entered.
Queenstown on the evening of the 23d ; and, on
the next day, this American general, who had
scarcely done boasting that he did not doubt
his ability " to meet the eneiny in the field, and
to march in any direction over his country,"
finding, by accounts from Sackett's Harbor, that
the commodore was unable, or, rather, unwilling, to leave port, became so " apprehensive
of an attack upon the rear of : his army,"* that
be not only continued his retreat to Chippeway,
but, to quicken his movements, disencumbered
the army of its baggage. .4-laving re-crossed
the Chippeway, general Brown encamped on
the right bank of that river, with the whole of
his army, except the 9th regiment, which was
posted on the left, or north bank, protected in
front by a block-house. It ought not to be
omitted, that the Americans, during their retreat to this place, plundered, and made prisoners
of, several of the inhabitants.
Intelligence of general Brown's arrival at Chippeway reached general Riall, on the same afternoon ; and, at eleven o'clock that night, the
Iiiritish advance, consisting of the Glengarry
regiment, under lieutenant-colonel Battersby;
40 men of the 104th, under lieutenant-colonel
-

* Sketches of the War, p. 283.

+ App. No. 32.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA:



139

Drummond ; the incorporated militia, under lieutenant-colonel Robinson, and the sedentary militia, under lieutenant-colonel Parry, of the 103d ;
major Lisle's troop of the 19th light dragoons,
and a detachment of artillery, having in charge
the two 24-pounders and howitzer employed at
Street's creek, and three 6-pounders ; the whole
numbering about 950 rank and file, and placed
under the immediate command of lieutenantcolonel Pearson, moved from the Twelve-mile
creek ; and, at seven o'clock the next morning,
took up a position near Lundy's: lane, leading
into the main Queenstown, or Niagara road,
and distant from the American encampment
about 21- miles.
The American general, having received intelligence that the British bad crossed over, in
•considerable numbers,' from Queenstown to
•Lewistowl; and that the force near Lundy's
lane was a mere patrolling party, determined,
by way of causini a diversion, to re•occupy
the former village. Accordingly, at about a
quarter past five on the afternoon of the 25th,
general Scott, at the head of his own brigade
of regular infantry, Towson's artillery; with
his two 18-pounders, " and all the dragoons and
mounted men," numbering, as we gather
from the American accounts, fully 1150 rank
and file, marched towards Queenstown ; with
,

* App. No. 32.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

140

141

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

special orders " to report if the enemy appeared,
and to call for assistance, if that was necessarv.*
On arriving at the falls, just two miles from
camp, the advanced piquets commenced firing;
and general Scott immediately despatched two
or three officers in succession, to acquaint general Brown, that the enemy was in force, directly
in his front ; although he confessed that a narrow
wood intercepted that force from his view. As
the enemy " was in force," it became " necessary" to send " assistance ;" therefore general
Brown, who had been reinforced by 250 men
of the 1st, and 100 men of the 22d regiments,
just arrived in three schooners from Erie,
taking with him generals Ripley's and Porter's
brigades, and major. Hindman's corps of artillery, having in charge seven field-pieces, instantly " pressed forward with ardor."* In the mean
while, some of the American officers, having
heard at Mrs. Wilson's house, near the falls,
and reported to general Scott, " that the enemy
could not be in force," t that officer, with
the first brigade, the artillery, and dragoons,
" pressed forward with ardor," to attack the
British advance. General Riall, who happened
to be- with the latter, considering general Scott's
detachment as merely the van of a force nearly
four times superior to his own, ordered colonel
* App. No. 32.
+ Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. his App. No. 9,

Pearson to retire upon Queenstown ; and sent
similar orders to colonel Scott, who, with the
main body, was advancing from the Twelvemile creek. We must now relate what caused
a sudden change in the destination of the retreating British force.
As soon as intelligence of major-general
Riall's discomfiture at Street's creek reached
lieutenant-general Drummond. at Kingston, the
latter, leaving orders for De Watteville's regiment to follow, in two columns, marched to
York, with the remnant of the 2d battalion of
the 89th regiment, about 400 strong, under
lieutenant-colonel Morrison. On the evening
of the 24th, the lieutenant-general and suite,
with the 69th, embarked at York, on board
sir James Yeo's vessels, the Netley, Charwell,
Star, and Magnet ; and arrived at Fort-Niagara at
day-light on the morning of the 25th. Having
despatched to Queenstown the 89th regiment,
and the detachments of the royal Scots and
8th which had been left by general Riall in the
forts George and Mississaga, lieutenant-general Drummond ordered lieutenant-colonel
Tucker to proceed up the right bank of the
Niagara, with 300 of the 41st, about 200 of the
royal Scots, and a body of Indians, supported
on the river by a party of armed seamen, under
captain Dobbs, of the Charwell brig, in order
to disperse or capture an American force. Cu-

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

140

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

special orders " to report if the enemy appeared,
and to call for assistance, if that was necessary."
On arriving at the falls, just two miles from
camp, the advanced pig nets commenced tiring;
and general Scott immediately despatched two
or three officers in succession, to acquaint gene,
ral Brown, that the enemy was in force, directly
in his front ; although he confessed that a narrow
wood intercepted that force from his view. As
the enemy " was in force," it became " necessary" to send " assistance ;" therefore general
Brown, who had been reinforced by 250 men
of the 1st, and 100 men of the 22d regiments,
just arrived in three schooners from Erie,
taking with him generals Ripley's and Porter's
brigades, and major Hindman's corps of artillery, having in charge seven field-pieces, instantly " pressed forward with ardor."* In the mean
while, some of the American officers, having
heard at Mrs. Wilson's house, near the falls,
and reported to general Scott, " that the enemy
could not be in force," t that officer, with
the first brigade, the artillery, and dragoons,
pressed forward with ardor," to attack the
British advance. General Riall, who happened
to he with the latter, considering general Scott's
detachment as merely the van of a force nearly
four times superior to his own, ordered colonel
4`

* App. No. 32.
+ Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. his App. No.

141

Pearson to retire upon Queenstown ; and sent
similar orders to colonel Scott, who, with the
main body, was advancing from the Twelvemile creek. We must now relate what caused
a sudden change in the destination of the retreating British force.
As soon as intelligence of major-general
Riall's discomfiture at Street's creek reached
lieutenant-general Drummond at Kingston, the
latter, leaving orders for De Watteville's regiment to follow, in two columns, marched to
York, with the remnant of the 2d battalion of
the 89th regiment, about 400 strong, under
lieutenant-colonel Morrison. On the evening
of the 24 th, the lieutenant-general and suite,
with the 89th, embarked at York, on board
sir James Yeo's vessels, the Netley, Charwelk,
Star, and Magnet ; and arrived at Fort-Niagara at
day-light on the morning of the 25th. Having
despatched to Queenstown the 89th regiment,
and the detachments of the royal Scots and
8th which had been left by general Riall in the
forts George and Mississaga, lieutenant-general Drummond ordered lieutenant-colonel
Tucker to proceed up the right bank of the
Niagara, with 300 of the 41st, about 200 of the
royal Scots, and a body of Indians, supported
on the river by a party of armed seamen, under
captain Dobbs, of the Charwell brig, in order
to disperse or capture an American force en-

142

r

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

GREAT 'BRITAIN AND ANIERICA
-

camped at Lewistown. Some unavoidable delay
occurred in the march of the troops up the right
bank ; and colonel Swift, with his 200 volun;
teers, and whatever other troops belonged to
the post, had effected their escape towards
Schlosser, and crossed over to the American 1
camp at Chippeway. • The British arrived in
ti me only to take possession of about 100 tents,
a quantity of baggage and provisions ; with
which, at about four o'clock on the same afternoon, they crossed over to Queenstown, and
there •met the detachment under lieutenantcolonel Morrison. After the troops had dined,
lieutenant-general Drummond sent back, as
garrisons to the three forts in the rear, 220of the
41st, and the whole remaining strength of the
100th regiments, under the orders of lieutenantcolonel Tucker ; and hastened forward to the
falls, with the 89th regiment, detachments of
the royal Scots, and 8th, and the light company of the 41st regiments, numbering, alto
gether, .815 rank and file.
- No sooner had this seasonable reinforcement,
after a rapid march of seven miles from Queenstown i ; and of 14 altogether, arrived within
half a mile of Lundy's lane, than information
was brought of the retreat of major-general
Riall's advanced division ; and the troops had
scarcely halted, ere they were joined by the
militia which had formed part of it, and whose
,

143

retreat had been ably covered by the Glengarry
regiment. General Drummond, first despatching an officer to recall colonel Scott, pushed
forward to Lundy's lane ; where he arrived a few
minutes before six o'clock, and just as the enemy
had approached within 600 yards of the top of the
hill. The British force was quickly formed ;-the 80th regiment, the 320 men of the royal Scots,
and the 41st light company, in the rear of the hill,
with their left resting on the Queenstown, or
Niagara road; the two 24-pounders a little in
advance of the centre, on the summit of the hill ;
the Glengarry regiment, in the woods on the
right of the line ; and the militia, and the • 120
men of the 8th, on the left of the Niagara road,
with the light dragoons, on the same road, a
little in the rear : constituting a total of 1770
rank and file, supported by two 24-pounders, two
6-pounders, and a 51-incli howitzer. Scarcely
had the different corps taken their stations, than
the American troops, under the command of
general Scott, commenced the attack. With
the exception, however, of partially forcing back
the left, the Americans could make no impression
upon the British troops ; and, after nearly an
hour's combat, retired behind a new line, formed
by, generals Ripley's and Porter's brigades ; to
the former of which the 1st regiment, under
colonel Nicholas,* and to the latter', a fresh
* App. No. 32.

141

MILITARY OCCURRENCES

BErwEEN

party of volunteers, had been attached did
making the total force, under general Brown,
upwards of 4000 men.
Finding the British guns ►pon the hill very
destructive, the Americans made several desperate efforts to carry -them. After being most
gallantly resisted by the 89th, the detachments
of the royal Scots and 8th regiments, and
the sedentary militia under colonel Parry, the
great numerical superiority, and, certainly, welldirected fire, of the American infantry and artil•
lery, enabled them to gain their point. They
had no leizure, however, to remove, or, at this
time, to employ the captured pieces. Thebattle
had now raged for three hours ; " the thickest
and most impenetrable darkness prevailed ;"
and both armies had suspended their fire ; one
to collect and re-organize its " faultering" regi•
ments ; the other to await the reinforcement
momentarily expected from the Twelve-mile
creek. :lust at the hour of nine, colonel Scott,
with the 103d regiment, detachments of the
royal Scots, 8th, and 104th regiments, and
about 300 sedentary militia, few of whom had
muskets, accompanied by two 6 pounders, and
numbering, altogether, 1230 rank and file, now
came upon the ground. It had been intended
that colonel Scott's division should march
froin the Twelve-mile creek, and the men were
-

* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. his App. No. 9.

I

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

145

actually under arms, at three o'clock in the
morning. Unfortunately, however, the order
was countermanded, and the troops did not move
till past mid-day. At about a quarter before six,
and just as they had arrived within three miles
of the field of battle, came general Riall's order
for them to retire upon Queenstown ; and they
had actually made a retrogade movement of
nearly four miles, before they received general
Drummond's order to re-advance. Having thus
been nine hours on the march, the men were a
good deal blown and fatigued, when they joined
the contending division.
/ Owing to the extreme darkness of the night, the
103d regiment, and the sedentary militia, under
colonel Hamilton, with the two field-pieces,
passed, by mistake, into the centre of the American army, now posted upon the hill ; and, after
sustaining a very heavy and destructive fire, fell
back in confusion. The 103d, however, by the
exertions of its officers, afterwards rallied; and
formed in line to the right of general Drummond's
front column. Another disaster ensued from
the darkness. The detachments of the royal
Scots and 8th, forming part of the reinforcement,
unfortunately mistook, for the enemy, the Glengarry regiment, stationed in. the woods to the
right ; and kept upon it a severe and destructive
fire.
Under all these circumstances, 'general. Drummond derived but a partial benefit from colonel
VOL. II.

146 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN
Scott's reinforcement. In the meanwhile, the
conflict, which had been renewed`on the part of
the Americans, owing to the supposed advantage
gained over the British, in the repulse of the
103d regiment and militia, so peculiarly cir.
cumstanced, was assuming a more serious aspect
than ever. They were now in possession of the
crest of the hill, and of seven pieces of captured
artillery ; which, in conjunction with their own,
they turned against the British column. * On
the other hand, the British, 'besides their ink.
riority of numbers, were without artillery, and
bad to march up a steep hill, to regain the guns
they had lost ; or even, as the Americans were too
prudent to descend from their position, to give
a decisive character to the contest. After a

smart. struggle, the British, not only regained
their seven pieces of cannon, but captured a
6-pounder and a 5-1- inch howitzer, which major
Hindman, of the American artillery, had brought
up against them. Several determined, but vain
efforts, were now made by the Americans, to repossess the hill ; and, at about half-past 11, they gave
up the contest, and retreated to their camp;
leaving, upon the field, the whole of their dead,
and many of their wounded.
Major-general Riall, having been severely
wounded at the early part of the action, was,
with some other wounded officers and attendants, retiring to the rear to have his wounds
* Sketches of the War, p. 20X.

CREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

141

dressed, when he and his party were captured
by the American 25th regiment, under colonel
Jessup, and a detachment of cavalry ; which, in
driving back the British left, had gained a
momentary possession of the Niagara-road. At
this time, also, captain Loring, one of general
Drummond's aides de camp, and who was proceeding to the rear with orders, was also made
prisoner.
The British loss in this action was, one captain,
three subalterns, one deputy - assistant -adjutant-general, four serjeants, and 75 rank and
file, killed ; one lieutenant-general, one majorgeneral, one inspecting field-officer, one deputyassistant-q uarter-master-general, two lieutenant, colonels, eight captains, 25 subalterns, 31 serjeants, five drummers, and 482 rank and file,
wounded ; one captain, three subalterns, two
quarter-masters, 11 serjeants, five drummers,
and 171 rank and file, missing and prisoners;
one aide de camp, four captains, four subalterns,
one quarter-master, four serjeants, and 28 rank
and file, prisoners. Total, 84 killed ; 559
wounded ; 193 missing ; and 42 prisoners :
grand total 878* The great use made by the
Americans of buck-shot, while it swelled out
the returns, occasioned most of the wounds to be
very slight. That musket-cartridges, in the
American service, are invariably made up with
buck-shot, is acknowledged by general Wilkin11.:

App. No. 31.

L

148

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

son ; who, referring to the use of rifles in the dark.
says :—" The musket and bayonet, with buckshot, is preferable ; because, in nocturnal affairs,
nothing decisive can take place, but at close
quarters."—The British returns of loss show,
as clearly, that the militia brought up with
colonel Scott's division, and who, as already
stated, were, for the most part, without arms,
did not rally, after their surprise by the enemy,
as that those, forming part of the advance,
behaved in a distinguished manner. The few
Indians present were of no use whatever.
According to the official returns at the foot
of general Brown's letter, the American loss
amounted to, one major, five captains, one adjutant, four subalterns, 10 serjeants, and 150 rank
and file, killed ; one major-general, one brigadier-general, two aides de camp, one brigademajor, one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, four
majors, seven captains, one adjutant, one pay.
master, three quarter-masters, 32 subalterns,
36 serjeants, three musicians, and 478 rank and
file, wounded ; and one brigade-major, one
captain, six subalterns, nine serjeants, and 93
rank and file, missing. t Total, 171 killed ; 572
wounded ; and 110 missing : grand total 854.
The loss, thus admitted by the Americans, was
highly creditable to the skill and gallantry of
the inferior numbers opposed to them. But
• Wilkinson's Mom. Vol. I. p. 538.

t App. No. 3S.

GREAT BRITAIN AND 'AMERICA.

149

general Brown's loss has certainly been underrated ; for 210 dead, besides a great many
wounded, Americans were counted upon the field
of battle, on the following morning ; and, upon
the subsequent advance of the British to Chippeway, they found a number of fresh graves, in
which the bodies had been so slightly covered,
that the arms and legs were, in many instances,
exposed to view.
As first in order among the American accounts
of this action, we will take general Brown's
letter. In American official correspondence,
this letter forms, in one respect, an anomaly :
it no where mentions, that the Americans had
superior numbers to contend with. What are
we to infer from this, but that the reverse fact
was too glaring to be questioned' The letter
is certainly well written ; and the writer, we
should suppose, gave the number of his own
troops, at least, in this " memorable battle."
Perhaps the paragraph, containing that information, was suppressed, by the order of the
government. Such things, we know, have been
frequently done ; and, did the number agree
with what a writer from Buffaloe stated general
Brown's force, in the Lundy's lane battle, to have
amounted to, namely, " about 4000 men," the
probability is encreased. The American commander begins his letter, with telling us of the
" gallant men" he had the " good fortune to
lead;" and yet freely confesses, that one regiment

1.50

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

" faltered," and another " gave way and retreated." Upon the whole, however, the American troops fought bravely ; and the conduct of
many of the officers, of the artillery corps especially, would have done honor to any service.
Had general Brown's wounds allowed him to
remain long enough on the field, he would have
found that it was not the last British, but the last
American effort," that had been " repulsed ;"
and that it was after that last effort, " that the
victory was complete." flow are we to reconcile
this confidence of ' ' victory," with the order which
colonel Hindman, of the artillery, received from
general Brown, as the latter was retiring from
the field, on his way to Butfaloe :--" Collect
your, artillery, as well as you can, and retire
i mmediately ; we shall all march to camp"?
This . was deposed to at general Ripley's
court-Martial. If the American troops, who
had marched two miles to the field of battle,
needed
some refreshment," what must have
been the state of the British troops, all of whom,
except the advance, had marched 14 miles to
the field of battle .?
Some parts of Mr. O'Connor's account are
worth extracting :--" Wellington's inviaeibles,"
says 'he, " had just arrived from Europe, and
Drummond resolved that they should not only
maintain their character, but maintain it in a
manner that would make the most desponding
"

"

* Wilkinson's Mem: VOL I. his App. No. 14.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

151

impression on the brave, but raw recruits of the
republic." " A ine moon-light'night favored,
equally, the operations of both armies."—This is
excellent ; when all the American officers examined at general Ripley's court-martial, concur
in the fact, that the night was unusually dark.
"The Americans," proceeds this accurate gentleman, " could not be driven, nor withstood : determined not to be overthrown, even by superior
numbers, they seemed resolved to crush whatever foe opposed them. Had they been conquered, they would yet deserve honor ; as victors,
they covered themselves with glory." He
attributes the loss of the "howitzer," to the highspirited horses having run with it '' into the
ranks of the enemy." On the other hand, it was
the " want of horses" that compelled the Americans to leave to us " most of the cannon
which were taken." Here we discover, that Mr.
O'Connor alludes to the British unlimbered
6-pounder, for which an American one had, by
mistake, been placed upon a British limber.t
The British loss is made to amount to " between
1200 and 1300 men ;" and their " force engaged,
by their own confession, 4500 men, mostly, or
wholly regulars, besides a host of Indians • the
American force," proceeds Mr. O'Connor, "did
not exceed 2800; consisting, in a great propor,
tion, of the militia of Pennsylvania and New
York."* Yet, this writer, in the very next line s
f

* Hist. of the

T,

p: 257..

f App. No,. 30,

154 MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

refers to " general Brown's official letter ;" in
which the militia-volunteers are stated at less
than a third part of the American force in the
field. And how came Mr. O'Connor to omit
the honorable corps, styled, in the American
returns,—" Canadian volunteers," t and commanded by the " gallant colonel Wilcocks;" whose
traitorous acts, as the assistant of M'Clure, fell
so heavy upon the inhabitants of Newark?
Mr.. Thomson devotes 19 pages of his book to
the battle of Lundy's lane. He describes the
hour's action previous to the arrival of the whole
of Ripley's and Porter's brigades, as fought between generals Riall and Scott ; although general
Drummond, with his reinforcement, had been
present from the commencement. Be evidently
mistakes colonel Scott's, for general Drummond's
arrival. This misnomer is of some use to us. Mr.
Thomson, after stating that general Riall had
despatched messengers to lieutenant-general
Drummond at Fort-George, to inform him of
-the desperate nature of the conflict," says
Until this period of the engagement," that is,
until, in reality, colonel Scott's arrival, " his
force, including the incorporated militia and
some Indians, amounted to 1637 men."§ Mr.
Thomson has here, by pure accident, stated
nearly the amount of general Drummond's force,
-

.; * Hist, of the United States, p. 257.
+ App. No. 33.
I See p. 7.
§ Sketches of the War, p. 288. I,

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. 153

during the first three hours of the battle. He
attends every regiment in its marches and
counter-marches ; and makes a fine thing of the
charges upon the artillery. Not trusting to
language alone, he has given us a copper-plate
representation. So far from the American line
here resembling the - ." pot-hook" line, formed
by " captain Clodpole's company" of Carolina
militia, in Lambert's Travels,* Mr. Thomson's
artist has employed his rule for the purpose ;
and the line he has formed for Mr. O'Connor's
" raw recruits," in this night of " impenetrable
darkness," close in front of "a host of Wellington's
invincihles," reminds us rather, of what we
sometimes witness upon the parade in St. James'spark, than of the advance of the American
troops, to seize the British cannon at Lundy's
lane.
Turning over Mr. Thomson's confused pages,
we come at last to his numbers. He makes the
American force less, and the British force more,
than Mr. O'Connor does. One he states at
"2417 men ;" the other,—to prove how he can
make up for a bad beginning, — at " 3450
regulars, 1200 incorporated militia, and 480
Indians, making in all 5130 men."t This
moderate increase upon the 1637 arose, it appears, out of four several reinforcements ;
* Lambert's Travels, Vol. II. p. 198.
+ Sketches of the War, p. 300.

154

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

along with the last of which came up " four of
the British fleet." *—Poor Mr. Thomson ! Into
what a dilemma he has here fallen. The river,
from the falls, close to which the battle was
fought, to Queenstown, a distance of eight miles,
is, owing to its turbulence and rapidity, not na•
vigable even for boats; and the four vessels to
which this learned historian alludes, and which
were the same that brought general Drummond
and his troops from York, were lying peaceably
at anchor opposite to Fort-George, 14 miles from
the scene of action.
Our third historian, doctor Smith, has, in his
usual brief way, extracted none but the most
violent and extravagant parts of the accounts
before him ; excepting that, while he makes our
f` force engaged, including the Canadian militia,
4500," some one has persuaded him to advance
a step nearer to truth, and state " that of the
Americans at less than 3000."t An American
„writer from Buffaloe, speaking of this action,
says : " We had in our whole army 4000 men ;"$
and, in the " Buffaloe Gazette Extraordinary,"
pf July 28, we read : " The enemy's forces en.
gaged must have been nearly 5000 ; ours,"---here
s a frank admission,—" short of that number,"
After this, will it be pretended, that the Ameri.

i

* Sketches of the War, p. 296.
-1- Hist. of the United States, p. 313.
4,
Albany Paper, Aug. 2, 1814.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

155

cans had not 4000 men in the field at the battle
of Niagara ?
We had almost forgotten, that we have a
fourth historian to • glean from. General Wilkinson, finding it easier, and, as we infer from
his complaints of ill-usage, more profitable, to
fight on paper than in the field, drags us through
54 tolerably close octavo pages, (exclusive of
19 much closer pages of Appendix,) till he has
done descanting upon " true valor," in the performances of the " heroes of Bridgewater,"
and,—forgetful of his own behaviour in the Mdtttreal expedition, and before La Colic grist-mil l,—
upon military imbecility, in the proceedings of
generals Brown and Scott, on the " memorable
25th of July." As, for almost every important
fact, two opposite statements can be found, it
would be only misleading the reader to make
extracts. We may suppose, however, that the Jive
large diagrams, which the general gives of the
action, are tolerably correct. On the contrary,
our faith in them is destroyed, thus :—" Of course,
the diagram," says the general, "founded on
colonel Leavenworth's report, is erroneous."* ALE
though not explicit as to numbers, he takes care
to adopt a similar stratagem • to that which lie
practised about the gun-boats at La Colle,t and
represents the British columns upon his diagrams,
to he five times as large as the American. Even
* Wilkinson's IVtem. Vol. I. p. 689.

t See p. 88.

156

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA.

MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

here he is doOmed to contradict the inference lie
would have us draw. " I have no authority,"
says general Wilkinson, " to question general
Drummond's report of his own order of battle, or
his force, except from the information of colonel
Leavenworth and other officers." And vet,
alluding to the materials from which he pro•
fesses to draw up his history of this battle, he
asks : " But how shall we reconcile the very
opposite accounts, which have been rendered
on oath before a tribunal of justice ?"1 And
why the accounts may well be opposite, he
i mmediately afterwards explains, very satisfac•
torily, thus : " I will answer, from what I have
witnessed, that, in warm military combats, an
officer at the head of a platoon or battalion, who
does his duty, can see very little beyond his
i mmediate command, and that different men see
the same object with different optics ;"t—more
especially, when " it was so dark at the time,
that objects could not be distinguished many
paces." The capture of general Wall, and of
the other prisoners taken with him, the general
very properly attributes to " the confusion inci•
dent to a night-attack, and the shifting of the
action."' Nor does he, like Mr. O'Connor,
and most of the other historians, unwittingly
lessen the merit of the victors, by styling the
-

* Wilkinson's IVIem. Vol. I. p. 722.
Ibid. 701.

+ Ibid. 686.

157

vanquished—" cowards." The general, very
considerately, ranks British, next to American
valor; thus : " The enemy, whose persevering
courage could not be excelled, but by men who
sprang from the same stock," &c.* Our last
extract shall be from the general's " Preliminary Observations." " I speak not," says he,
" of achievements by which cities have been
saved, and states protected ; of great and sanguinary battles, wherein the life of the soldier
has been bartered for the safety of the empire ;
of Thermopylae, or—New Orleans
t Can
we proceed ?
After the `, victorious" American troops had
retired to their camp, and obtained the " necessary refreshment," they were again ordered, with
general Ripley, upon whom the command had
now devolved, at their head, to march to the
" battle ground," there to meet and beat the
enemy, if he again appeared."1: ; General Brown
simply and truly says :—" It was not executed ;"
leaving his commentators to find excuses. Doctor Smith, either not in the vein of fiction, or
become suddenly conscientious, prefers leaving
a hiätics in his " History," to separating the battle
of Bridgewater from the next " brilliant exploit"
be has to record: Neither Mr. Thomson nor
Mr. O'Connor is so easily staggered„ The
* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. I. p. 706. t Ibid. 676,
t App. No. 32.

firs MILITARY OCCURRENCES BETWEEN

latter, without the slightest hesitation, says:—
" On the morning after the battle, the Americans;
tinder generals Ripley and Porter, reconnoitred
the enemy, who did not shew any disposition to
renew the contest ; and then burned the enemy's
barracks, and a bridge at - Chippeway : after
which they returned to Fort-Erie."* Mr. Thumson attempts to qualify and alter the meaning
of general Brown's orders; and to prove that
the enemy was aAfth time " reinforced." " Under
such circumstances," he adds, " it would have
been highly injudicious to have attacked him."
" General Ripley," proceeds Mr. Thomson, "seeing the impossibility of regaining the field of
battle, and the probability of his own flanks
being compelled to fall back, by the immense
superiority of the enemy's numbers, turned his
army towards the Chippeway ; whence, having
first destroyed the bridge over that stream, as
well as the platforms which he had previously
constructed at the enemy's old works there, he
pursued his retreat towards Fort-Erie ; and
reached it, in good order, on the following day."'"
General Wilkinson says —" General Ripley,
finding the enemy strongly posted, in superior
force, judiciously retired ; and then a scene
ensued, which has been carefully concealed from
the public. By the improvidence of general
Brown, the deficiency of transport provided for
* Mist. of the War, p. 257.

GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA. 159

his baggage, stores, and provisions, had not
been remedied ; and a great portion of it was
now found necessary to the accommodation of
his wounded and sick. The necessity of a
retreat could be no longer concealed or delayed;
and the consequences were, that a considerable
quantity of provisions, stores, and camp-equipage, with a number of tents, were thrown into
the river, or burnt. ' I have this fact from an
officer left with the command which performed
this duty."*
This is what Mr. Thomson calls, retreating
" in good order." But for the strong pique
which general Wilkinson bears to general
Brown, the above fact would not have reached us
through an American channel. Mr. O'Connor,
by way of giving a daring feature to this
orderly retreat, declares that the Americans
" burnt the enemy's barracks :" why did he not
tell us, that they valiantly set fire to Street's
mills, the property of a private individual ?
* Sketches of the War, p. 302.
41., Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. 1. p. 722.

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