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Theapproach of the regiment to Detroit had been observed by General Harrison, who immediately sent Major Todd with orders to Johnson to cross as quickly as possible. The men had not dismounted after their morning's ride before they received this order. They marched promptly to the river and prepared to cross. A few got over on the night of the thirtieth. A large proportion could not be conveyed over the river until the following morning.
Johnson had been ordered to bring his regiment over with the greatest possible rapidity, but Governor Shelby himself crossed from the Detroit side and communicated to Colonel Johnson the result of the council of war, which had decided to pursue Proctor by land, but owing to the high wind all the regiment was not gotten over till late in the evening. Each man vied with the other in energetic, persistent efforts to cross.
All the preparations were made on the night of the first for an early start. The hardy sons of Kentucky, who now composed the infantry, having left their horses at the Portage, were determined to show their endurance and their spirit by marching as infantry.
The country through which they were to pass had been exhausted of provisions. General Cass's brigade could not march, from the fact that their knapsacks and blankets had been left at Middle Island. The cavalry, after drawing their provisions, made ready to enter upon the pursuit, but such was the haste and desire to overtake the enemy, on the part of the troops, that the infantry marched twelve miles in the morning and there waited for the mounted men to come up.
It was found that the British and Indians, under Proctor and Tecumseh, either had not expected pursuit at all or had not expected it on the line along which it was made, and had left the bridges across the rivers and creeks which run north into Lake St. Clair. About four o'clock in the afternoon the mounted men in front met six British deserters, who informed them that at one o'clock, on the first, they had left Proctor fifteen miles up the river Thames, and that he had about seven hundred regulars and twelve hundred Indians.
Starting at sunrise and taking a brief rest at noon, by dark the infantry had made a march of twenty-five miles, a most extraordinary performance considering all the circumstances under which the distance was covered. While these troops at home were accustomed, a large portion of them, to agricultural pursuits and were hardy—their nerves trained to exercise—many of them had been called from mercantile pursuits ; but all had either been on their horses or in camp for the past thirty days. A noble spirit animated every man in the ranks, and for quite a large part