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On a small elevation, just west of the Longwood Road, at the northern end of the swamp, the English artillery was posted, and in the front the British soldiers, consisting of some seven hundred and fifty men of the Fortyfirst Regiment of English foot, were located in two lines, the men some three feet apart in line, and the two lines with one hundred feet between them. The English artillery was so disposed as to sweep Longwood Road for a thousand feet, and a quarter of a mile back of the artillery General Proctor and his staff took position. The space from the Longwood Road westward to the small swamp was possibly five hundred feet wide; then a small ridge intervened, and then the large swamp parallel with the Thames and extending north within these lines about two miles.
Proctor had hastily chosen the field of battle. It possessed many and strong strategic points. The Indians were posted in the brush along the eastern line of the great swamp, where they could sweep with deadliest rifle fire the narrow ridge between the two swamps, while the British regulars felt able to hold the limited space between the Longwood Road and the small swamp, supported by the artillery, the approach to which was covered by an unbroken forest filled with large beech, walnut, and maple trees.
The American troops had marched seventy miles in three and a half days. Their eagerness to meet their foes had hastened the tramp of their willing feet. They had already marched in line of battle about thirteen miles. They had kept well up with the cavalry, and the thought that a conflict was approaching filled their hearts with enthusiasm and courage. There was no time taken for the midday meal. They needed no incentive or support other than their ample bravery to keep them not only in line but with quick and steady tread along the narrow military trail.
The cavalry covered the front. A small number of pickets or spies protected the flank of the advancing column; but the eleven regiments, at most four abreast, and the artillery made a line over three miles in length. Fully an hour and a half was consumed in getting the infantry in position. The regiment of mounted men in the meantime was reconnoitering and holding the enemy under close watch.
Henry's division was composed of the best of material. At least one half the men had seen service in the previous days of the war, and it was officered with some of the coolest and nerviest men Kentucky had ever sent to battle.
To General George Trotter fell the post of honor. General Marquis Calmes, well advanced in years, was by reason of a severe attack of illness prevented from commanding the brigade. No indisposition, however, could prevent his presence with his men. He was carried with the troops, but the command devolved upon Colonel Trotter. The brigade was composed of the first and second regiments. The men were homogeneous. In the first regiment (Trotter's) three of the companies, Todd's, Megowan's, and Flournoy's, were from Fayette; two, Bowers' and Singleton's, were from Jessamine; and one, Christopher's, from Woodford.
In the second regiment, commanded by the gallant John Donaldson, two companies were from Clark, those of Cunningham and Simpson; two from Fleming, commanded by Matthews and Botts; one from Bath, commanded by Menifee; one from Montgomery, commanded by Mason.
George Trotter was one of the most gallant and distinguished soldiers the War of 1812 produced. He was only thirty-four years old at the time of the battle of the Thames, but he had already made his mark among the military men of that period. Distinguished by birth and chivalrous by nature, he had responded to the first call made by his country and had gone with Simrall's regiment of dragoons in August, 1812, and had rendered efficient service in the Fort Wayne campaign. With a