blankets, they had found sweet and refreshing repose. There was no necessity to arouse them from their beds. The foe they had sought was either captured or fleeing, and so the sun was well up in the sky before the tired heroes were called into line to begin the duties of the day, which consisted of burying the dead, caring for the wounded, and securing and destroying all public property belonging to the enemy.

Rested, satisfied, full of patriotic contentment, on the morning of the seventh the homeward march was begun. The wounded and sick were, after a few miles' journey by land, placed in boats and floated down the Thames River to Lake St. Clair, thence to Detroit.

The infantry and cavalry marched to Sandwich, and a few miles below crossed the Detroit River to the American side, and from thence the footmen pursued their way to the camp on Portage River. The British prisoners were put in charge of the cavalry, but later were transferred to the infantry and guarded by Colonel Trotter's command, not one being lost by the way.1

1 These prisoners were brought to Frankfort, Kentucky, and confined for a considerable period in the State penitentiary. The officers vigorously resented this treatment, which they designated "ignominious." But little sympathy was aroused on their account. The murders and barbarity at Raisin and Meigs had not put these men of the Forty-first Regiment in a position to ask or expect much from Kentuckians. They were subsequently exchanged, but not for some months.

Thelake shore to the Portage River furnished much good road, but the weather had now become cold and quite an amount of snow fell during the march. The winds from the lake were sharp and penetrating. The troops were compelled to wade the rivers and creeks flowing from the west into the lake. The soldiers had expected to be conveyed by water to the Portage camp, and this failure produced a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction and complaint. These militiamen felt that they were entitled to fairer treatment. They had gone into Canada when others had refused. They had left their horses nearly two hundred miles from where they had found their foes and defeated them, and now that the whole purpose of the campaign had been so successfully accomplished, and every expectation of the government and State realized, they felt that being thus left under such disagreeable surroundings and conditions to find their way back to their horses and camp was neither grateful nor considerate.

It was necessary for General Harrison to explain publicly that the absence of the fleet was occasioned by the requirement for other and more important naval and military operations, and when this was known these brave men took up the burdens and endured the hardships of the long, desolate, and tiresome march of one hundred and twenty miles without further complaint or regret.

The infantry in its march reached the river Raisin on the 15th of October. Johnson's regiment, in the hurry of the ride to Detroit, had only partially buried the bones of those who had been killed or massacred by the Indians on January 2 2d previous. With reverent love and tenderness for those brave men who had fallen, Governor Shelby directed SimraH's regiment to make careful search for the bones of all who may have died and remained unburied, but the task was greater than anticipated, and General King's brigade was further detailed for this work.

They recovered sixty-five skeletons and gave them honorable and humane sepulture. The bones of these heroes had a sad and eventful history. After these burials most of them were reinterred in the cemetery in Monroe, Michigan, which city is on the site of the battle. This occurred on July 4, 1818. On August 18th a public meeting was called in Detroit by General Lewis Cass. A committee was appointed to bring the remains to Detroit, and there they were again interred in the Protestant burying-ground. In 1834 the boxes containing the bones were removed to the Clinton Street Cemetery in Detroit. In September of the same year they were once more exhumed, placed in boxes marked "Kentucky's gallant dead, January 18, 1813, River Raisin, Michigan," and at last and forever placed at rest in the State lot at Frankfort, Kentucky.

The animals and camp were found intact. Colonel Christopher Rife, with the detail under his command, had kept everything with scrupulous care and fidelity. The horses, with the abundant grazing on the peninsula, had fattened, and were now in good condition for the joyous and happy ride home. Willing hands, impelled by glad and satisfied souls, quickly packed all baggage and equipments. On October 20th, the day following their arrival, a general order was issued for the troops to return to Kentucky by way of Franklinton (Columbus), at which point those who had received government arms were to deposit them, and on the 4th of November, just sixty-five days from that on which the command met at Newport to be mustered in, they were discharged from further service and scattered to their homes.

The departure had been heroic and enthusiastic. The home-coming was illustrious and glorious. The news had preceded the troops by twelve days. The mustering out was at Maysville. Mason County had furnished two companies in Governor Shelby's army, those commanded by Captains Reed and Demitt, and one in Johnson's regiment commanded by John Payne. The welcome was not confined to these, but the whole command had all that gratitude or patriotism could desire or suggest.

Diverging at Maysville for all parts of the State, these heroes, drawn together by many sacrifices, much suffering, and severe hardships, and great dangers endured not only in this but many of the campaigns in which Kentucky soldiers had borne so conspicuous a part, separated from each other with deepest emotion. At all the county seats great crowds gathered to honor the returning conquerors. Public meetings in many places were called to express the grateful recognition by Kentucky of their patriotic devotion in their country's need, and for the next half a century to have been at the Thames was the ''open sesame" to public and political honor and preferment. Adair, Desha, and Crittenden were to become governors; Barry, McAfee, Charles A. Wickliffe, lieutenant-governors; Walker, Barry, Crittenden, Johnson, senators, and a score of them were sent as members of the House of Representatives, and to the State senate and house every year for a third of a century a large number of the men who fought at the Thames were chosen as the people's trusted law-makers.

These men who followed Governor Shelby dared all that patriots could dare. They faced all that courage

« 上一頁繼續 »