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THE BATTLE OF THE THAMES.
purpose he took up a position at the did with an impetuosity and fury that Moravian village on the Thames.* were irresistible. They charged com
General Harrison's force was about pletely through the British line, which three thousand men, including the re was broken and routed beyond all posdoubtable marksmen of Kentucky and sibility of recovery. Proctor ingloriOhio. Proctor numbered something ously fled at this point, and though over two thousand, of whom twelve to hotly pursued, managed to escape with fourteen hundred were Indians. His a few followers. force too, it is fair to remember, was On the left, the battle was more sediscouraged and disarranged by a forced rious and more warmly contested. The retreat; Harrison's flushed with antici- galling fire of Tecumseh and the Indipations of victory, and with the excite- ans did not check the advance of the ment of pursuit.
American columns; but the charge was The British general drew up his not successful, from the miry character forces across a narrow strip of land cov- of the soil and the number and closeered with beech trees, flanked on one ness of the thickets which covered it. side by a swamp, and on the other by In these circumstances, Colonel the river; their left resting on the river, Johnson ordered his men to dissupported by the larger portion of their mount, and leading them up a second artillery, and their right on the swamp. time, succeeded, after a desperate conStill further to the right and near an- test, in breaking through the line of other morass, the Indians were placed the Indians and gaining their rear, under Tecumseh. The position was well Notwithstanding this, and the desperchosen ; but Proctor was guilty of an ate nature of their position, the Indierror in drawing up his
open ans were unwilling to yield the day; order,” a mode of array badly calcu- and quickly collecting their principal lated to resist a charge of cavalry. strength on the right, attempted to Harrison drew up his troops in battle penetrate the line of infantry comorder, and, on the 5th of October, the manded by General Desha. At first fight commenced, with the enemy de- they made an impression on it; but livering their fire upon the advanced they were soon repulsed by the aid of corps, about two hundred yards dis- a regiment of Kentucky volunteers led tant. This was the signal for Johnson's on by the aged Governor Shelby, who mounted rifles to charge, which they had been posted at the angle formed
by the front line and Desha's division.
The combat now raged with increasing * For a more full and detailed account of the battle fury, and the Indians, to the number of the Thames, see M'Afee's "History of the Late War in the Western Country,” pp. 380–98.
of twelve or fifteen hundred, seemed † Armstrong, who manifests strong dislike towards determined to maintain their ground to Harrison, makes some severe remarks on his third campaign, which the reader may find worth looking into the last. The terrible tones of TecumSee his “ Notices of the War of 1812," vol. i., pp.
seh could be distinctly heard, encourag.
ing his warriors; and although beset VOL. III.—28
on every side except that of the mo- shortly afterwards to be governor of rass, they fought with a courage and the recovered Territory of Michigan; determination worthy of a better cause. the Kentucky volunteers were dismissed, Johnson, dashing into the thickest of and Harrison, towards the close of Octhe fight, was a conspicuous object on tober, finding that he could not make his white horse; some authorities state, any attempt to recover Mackinaw, it was he who killed Tecumseh ; but, hastened his preparations to join in however this may be, it was not long the invasion of Canada from Buffalo; ere he fell to the ground severely to which place he transported above wounded. Though Tecumseh was slain twelve hundred of his men, to reinin the melée, his devoted followers kept force the army of the centre there. up the struggle for an hour later, but On the same day that Proctor was at last gave way on all sides.*
defeated on the Thames, six British Seventeen of the Americans were schooners, having on board two hunkilled and thirty wounded; the Brit- dred and fifty soldiers, proceeding from ish lost nineteen killed, fifty wounded, York to Kingston, without convoy, were and about six hundred prisoners; and captured by Chauncey, on Lake a hundred and twenty Indians were
Ontario. These repeated losses, left dead on the field. Among the coupled with the alarming intelligence trophies of the victory, were several received at the same time of great cannons originally captured at Saratoga preparations for a general invasion of and York from the British, which had Lower Canada, made Sir George Prebeen surrendered by Hull, at Detroit, vost wisely determine it to be imposand were, by this good fortune, regained. sible to continue any longer the investWith a noble spirit of returning good ment of Fort George; and the siege for evil, the prisoners were, without was accordingly raised a few days later. exception, treated humanely and justly, The retreat was conducted in an orderly although the memories of the massacre manner, and the British took post at at the River Raisin were vivid, and Burlington Heights, where Proctor, might have seemed to furnish justifica with those who had fled with him, tion for acts of severity and retaliation. soon after joined them, making the Colonel Lewis Cass was left at Detroit, entire force about fifteen hundred.
Having been driven from the territory * Tecumseh's fall broke completely the spirit of re
westward of the River Thames, the sistance on the part of the Indians. He had been in nearly every battle with the whites, since Harmer's
British were, necessarily, in a great dedefeat in 1791, and was the soul of the opposition to gree, cut off from their Indian allies, the United States. As he lay stretched in death on
with whom they now could maintain the field of battlo, the officers and soldiers surveyed his stern and haughty features with great interest, for he
no communication, but by the distant was majestic in stature, and terrible oven then to look and isolated fort of Michilimackinac, or upon. We are sorry to say, that some of the Ken: Mackinaw, on Lake Huron; an advantuckians disgraced themselves by committing indignities on his dead body. He was scalped, and otherwise tage of no small moment to our countrydisfigured.
i men for the future
of the war.
WILKINSON'S ADVANCE INTO CANADA.
General Armstrong, the new secre- lery, bayonets, and swords, must secure tary of war, (p. 179,) had effected them a triumph, or provide for them some changes in the military arrange- honorable graves.” ments for carrying forward hostilities Such, however, were the difficulties against the enemy. General Dearborn, attending the concentration of the as we have noted, (p. 190,) retired from troops, such the want of preparation, the service, and General Wilkinson was notwithstanding all that had been said placed at the head of the army of the on the subject, that, not till the begincentre. This officer, respecting whose ning of November, could Wilkinson character considerable difference of get the flotilla, in which his troops were opinion existed, was entrusted by the embarked, under way. French Creek secretary of war with the important was made the general rendezvous for duty of following up the brilliant suc the troops after their entrance into the cesses of Perry and Harrison, and St. Lawrence, and General Brown was though the season was far advanced, it sent forward to take the chief comwas confidently expected that he would mand. On the 2d of November, Combe able to march at once to Montreal, modore Chauncey took position in the and establish his winter quarters there. St. Lawrence, near French Creek, so as The force under his command on the to command the north and south chanNiagara, amounted to eight thousand nels. The enemy, who were vigilant regulars, beside the troops under Har- and active, attacked the detachment rison, which joined him at the close of under General Brown; but to no great October. General Hampton was in effect. On the 6th, the arny was emcommand of the army of the north, barked on the river, and in the eventhen encamped at Plattsburg, on Lake ing landed a few miles above the BritChamplain, and amounting to about ish Fort Prescott. An attempt was four thousand men. As the season for made the same night, under cover of military operations was rapidly draw- the fog and the darkness, to pass the ing to a close, it was important that no fort with the flotilla unobserved; but a
time should be lost, and meas-change in the weather exposed General
ures were immediately taken for Brown's movement to the enemy. A carrying into effect the projected inva- severe cannonade of three hours was sion of Lower Canada. The outline of kept up; nevertheless, out of three the plan which had been adopted, was; hundred boats, not one suffered the to descend the St. Lawrence, passing slightest injury; and before ten o'clock the British posts without attempting of the next day, they had all safely their capture; to form a junction with arrived at the place of destination. A General Hampton, at some designated messenger was now dispatched to Genpoint on the river; and then, with the eral Hampton, informing him of the united forces to proceed to the Island movements of the army, and requiring of Montreal. After which, to use Wil- his co-operation. kinson's flowery language, “their artil The British commander, anticipating
the designs of the Americans, had or first regiment, passed the wood which dered a corps of observation, from skirts the open ground called ChrystKingston, to follow the movements of ler's Field, and drove in several of the
Wilkinson's army. At every enemy's parties. General Covington
convenient point, parties of the had, before this, advanced upon the enemy were stationed along the Cana- right, where the enemy's artillery was dian shore to annoy and hinder the posted; and at the moment that Coloprogress of the invading force. On nel Ripley had assailed the left flank, the 7th of November, Colonel Macomb he forced the right by a determined onwas dispatched with twelve hundred set. Success appeared scarcely doubtmen to remove obstructions to the de-ful, when, unfortunately, General Covscent of the army, and disperse the ington, whose activity had rendered militia of the enemy; and on the 8th, him conspicuous, became a mark for General Brown, with his brigade, rein- the sharpshooters which the enemy forced Macomb, and took command of had stationed in Chrystler's house, and the advance corps. On the 10th, hav was shot from his horse. Notwithing arrived at a dangerous rapid, called standing his fall, the action was susthe Longue Sault, General Brown con tained with great bravery for more tinued the advance with caution and than two hours, when, by a movement vigilance, while General Boyd was sent of the British, the American infantry, against the British and Indians, who who had been left to cover their rewere harassing the rear of the expe- treat, were dislodged, and both parties dition. General Wilkinson was con
retired from the field, the enemy to fined to his boat by severe indisposi- their camp, and the Americans to their tion.*
boats. The next morning, when the flotilla According to Wilkinson's official rewas about to proceed down the rapid port, the force engaged amounted to from Williamsburg, alarm was given about seventeen hundred; the British that the British were advancing in col- probably numbered nearly the same, umn. The enemy's galleys were at the and had the immense advantage of besame time coming down for the purpose ing regular, disciplined troops. The of assailing the rear of the flotilla. American loss was over a hundred General Boyd having received orders killed, and more than two hundred to attack the foe, now led on his de- wounded. The loss on the part of the tachment formed in three columns, and enemy was probably not much if any directed a part of General Swartwout's less. brigade to move forward and bring the The following day, the army proenemy into action.
Colonel Ripley, ceeded on its route, and joined the accordingly, at the head of the twenty- advance under General Brown, at the
foot of the rapid, near BarnArmstrong, (vol. ii., p. 211,) gives the evidence to
hart. It was here that Wilprove that Wilkinson was frequently intoxicated. kinson received, to his “unspeakable
GENERAL HAMPTON'S PROCEEDINGS.
mortification and surprise," as he states, brigade under General Izard was to information from General Hampton, assail him in front. Purdy accordingly that he should not effect the junction crossed the river, bit misled by the which had been ordered to take place guides, he had not marched far, when at St. Regis. The reason which he his orders were countermanded. On gave was, the scantiness of Wilkinson's his return, he was attacked by the provisions, and the bad condition of enemy's infantry and Indians, and rethe roads to St. Regis. He intimated, pelled them, after a short contest, in however, that he had determined to which they threw his column, for a open a communication with the St. time, into great confusion. At the Lawrence at Caghnawaga, and would same moment they came out of their join Wilkinson lower down the river. works in front, and attacked General
General Hampton, between whom Izard, but soon after retired behind and General Wilkinson very cordial their defences. General Hampton, dislike and perpetual jealousy existed, now receiving information that the seems to have thought it best to proceed enemy were obtaining accessions conin his own way, with reference to the tinually, resolved, by the advice of contemplated attempt on Montreal. Ac- his officers, to retreat to the position cordingly, he marched to Chateaugay which he had occupied some days beat the close of September, where he fore, at Chateaugay Four Corners, at
waited for several weeks for which place he arrived on the last day
further news from Wilkinson, of the month. and to the discouragement of the troops Some days later, Hampton, in reply nnder his command. The British gen- to Wilkinson's call for a junction with eral had collected all his force to op- him at St. Regis, (which was about pose Hampton's advance. Leaving his twenty-five miles distant,) sent the anencampment on the 20th of October, swer which we have stated above. On Hampton crossed the line and proceed the receipt of this communication, a ed down the Chateaugay River to council of the principal officers was Ormstown. Here he ascertained that called by General Wilkinson, at which the British, about six hundred strong, it was determined, that the objects of occupied a position six miles below the campaign were no longer attainhim, on his route to Montreal. For able. It was therefore resolved, that the purpose of dispersing the enemy, the army should quit the Canadian who had obstructed the road by fallen side of the St. Lawrence, and retire timbers, and ambuscades of militia and into winter quarters at French Mills, on Indians, Colonel Purdy, on the 25th Salmon River. General Hampton, with of October, was ordered to cross the his troops, soon after retired to Plattsriver and march down on the opposite burg for the same purpose. He was side, until he should have passed the loudly censured by the popular voice enemy, when he was to re-cross and for his share in the failure of the atattack him in his rear; whilst the tempt on Montreal, and soon after, on