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$ 13. It was now evident that Yeo, availing himself of the darkness of the preceding night, had either run for Kingston, or down the lake for the purpose of intercepting the flotilla with the army, Chauncey, therefore, immediately made all sail, and shaped his course for the Ducks, with a view of intercepting him, or his prizes, if he should have made any. The wind blowjag a strong gale from the northward and westward, the fleet made a great run, and at three in the afternoon of the 5th, discovered seven sail near the False Ducks, to which, presuming they were the enemy's fleet, they instantly gave chase. In about an hour, however, they were discovered to be sloops and schooners, and were perceived to be separating on different tacks, on which the Sylph and the Lady of the Lake were dispatched after one part, and Chauncey in the Pike pursued the others. About five o'clock the enemy, finding that the Pike was fast gaining on him, took the people out of one of his gun vesvels which sailed worse than the rest, and set her on fire. This, however, availed them but little, for, at sun-down, three of their vessels were forced to strike to the Pike, and soon after the Sylph captured another. A fifth ran into the Ducks, but the Sylph, which was left to watch her, took possession of her early next morning. A small schooner was the only vessel that escaped, owing to the darkness of the night.
The captured vessels were found to be gun-vessels, with troops from the head of the lake, but last from York, bound to Kingston. Two of them were the Julia and Growler, which Chauncey had lost in the action of the 9th of August. The prisoners taken amounted to nearly 300, principally belonging to the De Watteville, a German regiment. From them it was learnt that the British fleet, in the action of the 28th of September,at the head of the lake, was very much cut up in their hulls andspars, and had a great many killed and wounded, particularly o board of the Wolfe and Royal George.
$ 1. Movements on lake Champlain. § 2. General Hampton intades
Canada. $ 3. Wilkinson moves down the St. Lawrence. $ 4. Battle of Williamsburgh. $ 5. Hampton declines a junction. 96. The arty moves into winter-quarters. 87. Evacuation of Fort George. $ & Fort Niagara taken by storm. 59. The Niagara frontier laid waste.
01. In addition to the army in Ohio, and that on the Niagara frontier, a considerable body of troops was collected in the sum. mer of 1812, upon lake Champlain; a number of vessels also were built to gain the command of those waters. In the campaign of that year, however, no important movement was made in this quarter. Towards the end of May, 1813, several of the British gun-boats having crossed the lines, for the purpose of capturing the craft upon the lake, two of the American armed sloops, the Eagle and Growler, sailed from Plattsburg on the 2d of June for their protection. They arrived within about a mile of the lines about dark, where they cast anchor for the night. Next morning, about day-break, they discovered three British gun-boats, to which they gave chase, but the wind being south, they unfortunately ran so far into the narrow channel that they found it difficult to return, and the Eagle, not being sufficiently strong for her weight of metal, became unmanageable, and at last went down; the water, however, being shoal, the crew were saved. The Growler, unwilling to abandon her companion, continued to fight until after the Eagle sunk, when she was compelled to strike to superior force. The enemyhad five gun-boats in the action, besides a considerable force in rusquetry on both sides of the channel, which was so narow as to place the sloops within their reach from both shores. An official account of this affair has not been published, butt is stated, on the authority of the enemy, that they had two kied, the Americans only one, but a considerable number of the liter were wounded. The British afterwards succeeded in raing the Eagle.
The loss of the sloops giving the British the superioriton the lake, on the 30th of July a considerable force crossed he lines in forty-four barges, protected by the Growler and Ede, three row-gallies, and a gun-boat, under the command of conel Murray. The following day they appeared off Plattsbig,
and a flag of truce was sent into the town to demand its surrender, with the assurance, that if no resistance was made, private property should be respected. There being no troops in the place, of course there was no resistance, and the enemy landed and burnt the public buildings, consisting of a blockhouse, barracks, arsenal, &c. when they again embarked.
On the 2d of August the enemy appeared off Burlington, on the other side of the lake, where the American army was stationed under general Hampton, and opened their fire from two sloops and a galley, which was returned from a battery in front of the town, the fire from which soon compelled them to make off. Several gun-boats and sloops lay under the battery, but were unable to pursue the enemy, having suffered severely in a gale a few days previous.
5 2. In the month of October, Hampton's army crossed the lake, and proceeded towards the Canada lines, which they crossed about the 20th or 21st. The army moved in two divisions, one on each side of the Chateaugay river, and on two different days drove in the British pickets, one of which they succeeded in capturing. Every precaution had been taken by the enemy to intercept the progress of the army. The roads were filled with trees, which had been previously felled in every direction; the bridges were destroyed, and the houses burnt or pulled down. Notwithstanding these impediments, however, they continued slowly to advance till the 26th, when the advanced guard was attacked on both sides of the river by a body of regulars, voltigeurs, and Indians, posted in strong positions in a wood, Aanked by the river and impassable swamps. The attack was several times renewed, and the enemy always driven behind their works. On the 27th one of the divisions forded the river, and the whole army returned within the American lines to Four Corners. The British claimed great merit from the splendid victory, as they call it, which they assert was achieved by a force of only 300 men, against Hampton's whole army, which consisted of 3000 or 3500. From their own statement, however, it would appear that their force was much larger than they represent it. They state it to have consisted of
"Captains Levesque and Debartzch, with their flank companies of the 5th battalion incorporated militia, together with about 200 of the Beauharnois division."
“ Lieutenant-colonel De Salaberry, with his voltigeurs, and captain Ferguson's light company of the Canadian regiment.”
Besides these are mentioned, in the course of the action, “ A large body of Indians under captain Lamothe.”
“ Lieutenant-colonel M‘Donnell, of the Glengary light infantry, with a part of his light brigade.”
These forces do not include the reinforcements which are stated to have arrived the following day. And yet we are gravely told, that, “ though it may appear incredible, the whole force engaged on our side did not exceed 300 men*.”
But even allowing their force to be as small as it is here represented, it by no means follows, either that a victory was gained, or that Hampton's measures were baffled. It does not appear that it was the intention of the American general to push on by this route to Montreal, for the reduction of which his small force was utterly incompetent, independent of the natural impediments which this part of the country presented to an invading army. There is no reason to doubt, indeed, that this movement was merely intended as a demonstration, to divert and distract the attention of the enemy from the movements on the St. Lawrence, and this end being completely attained, it was not the general's intention to risk the loss of any part, however small, of his army, by an attempt to force a position so strong as the British represent this to have been.
3. General Wilkinson having transported his army in safety from Fort George to Sackett's Harbour, in the beginning of October, in a few days they were again moved to Grenadier Island, with the intention of immediately proceeding down the St. Lawrence against Montreal. Considerable delay, however, took place, owing to the uncommon severity of the weather, and it was not until the 3d of November that he was enabled to move. On the evening of the 6th he reached Ogdensburg, whence he wrote to general Hampton at Four Corners (where he had established his head-quarters after his return from Canada), ordering him to form a junction with him on the St. Lawrence, and recommending St. Regis as the most suitable place, where he expected to be on the 9th. “ On the subject of provisions," continues Wilkinson, “I wish I could give a favourable information; our whole stock of bread may be computed at about fifteen days, and our meat at twenty. On speaking on this subject to the secretary of war, he informed me ample magazines were laid up on lake Champlain, and therefore I must request of you to order forward two or three month's supply by the safest route, in a direction to the proposed scene of action. I have submitted the state of provisions to my general officers, who unanimously agree that it should not prevent the progress of the ex'pedition; and they also agree in opinion, if you are not in force to face the enemy, you should meet us at St. Regis or its vicinity.”
* The statement here alluded to is not the official account. It is a detailed account, apparently written by an officer who was present at the affa
A short distance above Ogdensburg, on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence, stands Prescot, a fortified post commanding the river. The lateness of the season not admitting of delay, Wilkinson determined to pass it in the night, in place of stopping to reduce it. This was effected on the night of the 6th, without other loss than two privates killed and three wounded. In the course of the 8th the cavalry was crossed from the American to the Canada shore, and a detachment of the infantry was landed, to prevent the enemy, who had previously lined the shore with musquetry, from harassing the boats in their passage down the river. A considerable body of the enemy from Kingston also, in concert with a heavy galley and a few gun-boats, hung on the rear of the Americans, and considerably retarded their progress.
On the morning of the 10th, general Brown advanced down the river, for the purpose of clearing its banks, as a rapid, eight miles long, was expected to be passed in the course of the day, in the passage of which, without this precaution, the army would be much exposed. About noon, the army was apprized by the report of artillery, that Brown was engaged some distance below, and about the same time the enemy were observed in their rear. Their galley and gun-boats having approached the flotilla, and opened their fire, Wilkinson ordered a battery of eighteen pounders to be planted, the shot from which soon compelled the vessels of the enemy to retire, together with their troops, after some firing between the advanced parties.
94. The day was now so far spent, that the pilots did not dare to enter the rapid, and therefore the flotilla fell down about two miles, and came to for the night. Early next morning every thing was ready to move, but it was still deemed imprudent to commit the flotilla to the rapid until the result of general Brown's affair should be ascertained. At half past 10, an officer arrived with information that Brown had forced the enemy to retire, and that he would reach the foot of the rapid early in the day. Orders were now given for the flotilla to sail; but at this moment the enemy's gun-boats appeared and began to fire, and information was received from general Boyd, that the enemy's troops were advancing in column, on which Wilkinson sent him orders to attack them. This report was soon contradicted; but their gun-boats continued to annoy the flotilla, and such a variety of reports of the movements and counter-movements of the troops on shore was brought to Wilkinson, as convinced him of their determination to hazard an attack, when it could be done to advantage. He therefore resolved to anticipate them; and directions were accordingly sent to general Boyd to throw the detachments under his command into three columns, to march