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in the main-rigging, and gave three cheers. But it was only to refill her cartridges, and she soon came back, and took up a raking position across the stern of her defenceless foe;—whereupon the Macedonian struck. She had thirty-six killed and sixty-eight wounded, and had received nearly a hundred shot in her hull; whilst the United States had lost but twelve killed and wounded, and suffered surprisingly little, considering the length of the cannonade. The prize was brought into New London, early in December, and added not a little to the joy and pride of the nation in their gallant navy.
The Argus, sixteen, under Captain Sinclair, which had set out on a cruise, at the same time as the United States, was very successful in making prizes; chased for three days and as many moonlight nights, by a squadron of the enemy; and not only escaped, but actually took and manned a prize during the chase!
One more naval victory belongs to the record of this year. The Constitution, (Captain Hull having given place to Commodore Bainbridge,) on December the 28th, met with the Java, thirtyeight, and maintained with her for about forty minutes a contest, in which seamanship as much as gunnery or courage was conspicuous. The English captain then resolved to attempt to board his antagonist, and ran down on the Constitution's quarter for that purpose. But before this could be accomplished, the foremast fell with a tremendous crash, the main-topmast came down, the head of the bowsprit was shot away, and the captain
fell, mortally wounded. Lieutenant Chads, who took the command, carried on the fight; but after the American commodore had passed out of the combat, for the purpose of refitting, and returned, he found his vessel a complete wreck, and struck. Finding it impossible to save their prize, after removing the crew, the Java was blown up. A hundred and twenty-four, killed and wounded, were said by the British to have been lost on board the Java; but Bainbridge reckoned their loss as much higher. Thirty-four alone suffered, in both ways, on board the Constitution. The Java had been literally picked to pieces by the fire of the Constitution, spar following spar until there was not one left; while, strange to tell, the American frigate did not lose a single spar. Commodore Bainbridge, landing his prisoners on parole, at San Salvador, left for home, and arrived at Boston on the 27th of February, 1813.
During the autumn of this year, the lakes were, witnesses of the gallantry of the small force which our country at the time possessed; and it soon became evident, that important results would depend upon proper preparation to meet the enemy there. Captain Isaac Chauncey was actively engaged in this work for forwarding his country's interests, and captured a schooner with $12,000 in specie on board.
Turning our attention again to operations on the land, we find them carried on in a way that cannot but excite surprise at the large amount of blundering and bungling on the part of most of those in authority, hot unmingled with admiration at the spirit and valor of a portion of the troops.
GREAT NAVAL SUCCESSES.
In the north-west, "Hull's treason," as it was termed, was indignantly denounced, and there was a spirit roused, the like to which has hardly, if ever, been witnesed elsewhere. Volunteers offered themselves in large numbers, and Ohio and Kentucky furnished their thousands, who nocked to the standard of General Harrison, ready to march at once to the recovery of what had been lost, and to the defence of the now exposed frontier. General Winchester was appointed by the president to the command in this quarter; but he soon after gave place to General Harrison, who, in the latter part of September, was made commander of the northwestern army. Great hopes were entertained of retrieving Hull's disaster before winter; but the spirit of volunteers, though capable of effecting wonders under favorable circumstances, is not to be relied on for patient endurance and necessary discipline. This was shown on several occasions, and prevented the attaining success, where success was plainly within reach.
The main division of the army, consisting of three thousand men, under Harrison in person, was at this time at the River St. Mary's. Another division, under General Winchester, consisting of two thousand, had penetrated on the road to Detroit, as far as Fort Defiance; but they were in want of provisions, and had sent to Harrison for relief. That general immediately marched with a considerable part of his troops, and on the 3d of October, joined Gen
eral Winchester at Fort Defiance. He returned the next day to St. Mary's, having previously ordered General Tupper, with one thousand of the Ohio militia, to proceed to the Rapids of the Miami, to dislodge the enemy, and take possession of that place. Want of experience and authority on the part of the officers, and especially of proper subordination on that of the troops, produced a failure in this, and another attempt made by General Tupper; and the British still retained possession of that post.*
Further westward, during September, nearly four thousand men, chiefly mounted riflemen, under command of General Hopkins, gathered at Vincennes, on the Wabash, for the purpose of chastising the Indians on the Illinois and Wabash Rivers. This foray was sanctioned by Governor Shelby of Kentucky, and was in appearance one of the most formidable that had ever entered the Indian country.
Earlier in the month, Captain Zachary Taylor had displayed his ability in defending Fort Harrison on the Wabash. On the 4th of September, the fort was attacked by several hundred Indians with great fury. Captain Taylor's force, though numbering fifty, consisted in fact of only eighteen effective men, the rest being incapable of duty in consequence of sickness; nevertheless, with great intrepidity and steadiness the assault was repelled, and the Indians retired in disgust.
* For a more full account of General Tnpper's movements, see fcTAfce's "History of the Late War in the Western Country" pp. 147-152.
Ch. VIII.] EXPEDITIONS UNDER
The army under General Hopkins reached Fort Harrison about the 10th of October, and on the 14th crossed the Wabash, and proceeded on the march against the Kickapoo and Peoria towns* the first about eighty miles distant, the others about one hundred and twenty. Its march lay through open plains covered with the luxuriant prairie grass, which in autumn becomes very dry and combustible. Murmurs and discontents soon began to show themselves in this unwieldy and illcompacted body, which was kept together by no discipline or authority. Every one consulted his own will; in fact, but little could be expected from this "press of chivalry." The Indians set fire to the prairie grass, which had to be met with a back fire as their only chance of escape. Scarcely four days had they been on their march, when they demanded to.be led back; a major, whose name it is unnecessary to remember, rode up to the general, and peremptorily ordered him to return! Of course, after this, nothing could be effected, and the whole force soon turned about and made its way back to Fort Harrison. The same officer, General Hopkins, we may here mention, led another party, in November, with more success, against the towns at the head of the Wabash. On the 11th, he again set out from Fort Harrison, with about one thousand two hundred men; while at the same time, seven boats, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, ascended the river with supplies and provisions. On the 19th, he reached the Prophet's town, and immediately dispatched three hundred men to sur
GENERAL HOPKINS. 167
prise the Winnebago towns on Ponce Passu creek. The party under Colonel Butler came upon the place about daybreak, but found it evacuated. This village, together with the Prophet's town, and a large Kickapoo village, containing one hundred and twenty cabins and huts, were destroyed, together with the winter's provision of corn. No Indians were seen until near the end of the month, when a skirmish took place with considerable loss on the part of the white men. The lateness of the season induced the detachment to forego further efforts; and their good conduct under great destitution was in striking contrast with that of the volunteers spoken of above.
Other expeditions were undertaken; one, by Colonel Russel, in October, who, with three hundred regulars and a party of riflemen, destroyed a flourishing Indian town called Pamitaris, and killed a number of the savages; another, by Colonel Campbell, in November, with some six hundred men, with which he marched against the towns on
the Mississinewa River, and put the Indians completely to the rout. The result of these and other incursions into the territory occupied by the Indians, was very salutary; and in great measure the frontier was secured against the scalping-knife and the midnight assaults of the savage.*
Military operations in the north next claim our notice. During the summer and autumn, a number of volunteer companies marched to the borders of
* Seo JTAfee's "Jlistory of the Late War in the Western Country,'" pp. 1C2-82.
Canada, as also the new recruits, as fast as they could be enlisted, and towards the close of the year, the forces were chiefly concentrated in two bodies; one near Lewistown, consisting of some regulars newly enlisted, and militia, amounting to four thousand men, under General Van Rensselaer, of New York; the other, in the neighborhood of Plattsburg and Greenbush, under the commander-in-chief, General Dearborn. Bodies of regulars were distributed at Black Rock, at Ogdensburgh, and Sack-, ett's Harbor, with officers of experience, for the purpose of drilling the raw troops as they arrived; and it was expected, that an invasion of Canada might be made before cold weather set in. Such officers as Pike, Boyd, and Scott were very diligent in training and disciplining the army; and with a force of between eight and ten thousand men, along the frontier, it was not unreasonable to look for some effective result in the proposed invasion of Canada.
General Van Rensselaer's head-quarters were at Lewiston on the Niagara River, opposite to which stood Queenstown, a fortified British post. Several forays and skirmishes, in which the Americans had been successful, and particularly the cutting out of two English brigs from under the guns of Fort Erie, by Lieutenant Elliot, roused the spirit of the army of the centre, as Van Rensselaer's force was denominated, and they were eager to be led to the fight; indeed, some of the volunteers threatened to return home unless they were gratified directly. The general, nothing loth, determined to make an attack upon Queenstown. From the information
he could collect, the enemy's force had been chiefly drawn off for the defence of Malden, as it was supposed, under the command of General Brock, who had left the territory of Michigan under the government of General Proctor, until he could organize a force to return. Could possession be obtained of Queenstown, our troops would be sheltered from the approaching inclemency of the season, and the operations of the western army much facilitated. Accordingly, at four in the morning of the 11th of October, in the midst of a dreadful north-east storm and heavy rain, an attempt was made to pass the river; but, owing to the darkness of the night, and various unforeseen accidents, the passage could not be effected.
This failure served to increase the impatience of the troops, who became almost ungovernable. Orders were dispatched to General Smyth, at Buffalo, to advance with his corps, as another attempt would be made on Queenstown. Every arrangement was rapidly completed; and early on the morning of the 13th, the troops embarked, under cover of the American batteries. The force designated to storm the heights, was divided into two columns; one of three hundred militia, under Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, the other of three hundred regulars, under Colonel Christie; but, by some mismanagement or carelessness, there were not boats enough to carry them all over at once, and they were forced to cross in detachments. Colonel Fenwick's artillery was to follow, and then the other troops in order.
The British, in the mean while, anticiat. vm.]
pating this attack, had obtained considerable reinforcements from Fort George, and if necessary, could be still further assisted by General Brock, who, it now appeared, commanded at that place. At daylight, the British opened upon the Americans with a shower of musketry and grape, which did considerable execution, and added to the difficulty of effecting a landing. Colonel Van Rensselaer was amongst the number severely wounded.
Captain Wool, on whom the command devolved at the moment, bravely led his men up the rocks to the right of the fort, though he was himself suffering from a dangerous wound. After several desperate charges, the heights were carried, and the enemy were driven down the hill in every direction. Betreating behind a large storehouse, they kept up their fire; but their batteries, with the exception of one gun, were silenced. Soon after, General Brock arrived at Queenstown, and led the forty-ninth regiment, six hundred strong, against the Americans on the heights. Captain Wool ordered a detachment of one hundred and sixty men to charge. They did so; were driven back; were reinforced, and charged a second time; again were they repulsed, and were about to be driven to the verge of the precipice, when one of the officers, supposing their condition desperate, placed a white handkerchief on the point of a bayonet, in token of submission. Wool indignantly tore it away, and ordered the men to be brought to the charge. They rallied, and drove the British back. General Brock fell, mortally wounded, Vol. III.—22
and the enemy retreated in great disorder.
At two o'clock, General Wadsworth, of the militia, and Colonels Scott and Mulaney crossed over; and Captain Wool was .ordered to retire and have his wounds dressed. The forty-ninth being repulsed, and the British commander having fallen, the victory was thought to be complete; and General Van Rensselaer crossed over, for the purpose of immediately fortifying a camp, to prepare against future attacks, should the enemy be reinforced. But the fortune of the day was not yet decided. At three o'clock, the enemy having rallied, and being reinforced by several hundred Chippewa Indians, again advanced to the attack. At first, our men were disposed to falter, but being animated by such leaders as Colonel Christie and Colonel Scott, marched boldly to the charge, and at the point of the bayonet once more compelled the British, who were now the assailants, to retire. This was the third victory gained since morning, and had the brave men on the Canada shore been properly sustained, complete triumph would undoubtedly have crowned our arms.
General Van Rensselaer, anxious to expedite the embarkation of the troops, recrossed the river for that purpose; but to his dismay, he found that not one of them was willing to go into the 6ght. Neither commands nor entreaties could prevail on them to move. The number of boats had from the first been insufficient; some of those had been lost or destroyed, and only three or four were left. And a great error
THE ATTACK ON QUEENSTOWN HEIGHTS.