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found in the fort at Detroit was mounted, and every exertion was used by the officers to impress on the minds of the soldiery the necessity of strict discipline and obedience to orders.
On the 12th of July the army crossed into Canada, with the exception of a small part of one company of militia, that refused to pass the river. They encamped at Sandwich, a little below Detroit, where a proclamation was issued by general Hull. The inhabitants fled in the utmost consternation on the approach of the army, but on receiving the proclamation, many of them returned to their homes.
55. On the 14th a company of militia and a rifle corps, under colonel M Arthur, were detached to reconnoitre the country. They penetrated to M'Gregor's mills, upon the river La Tranche, or Thames, a short distance from the field of battle where the British army was captured fifteen months afterwards by general Harrison. On the 17th, they returned to camp, having collected a great quantity of provisions, and a number of blankets, besides a considerable quantity of ammunition and other military stores.
That part of Upper Canada traversed by the detachment is described by one of the volunteers that composed it as extremely fertile and beautiful. The fields of wheat and Indian corn were remarkably fine ; but as every male capable of bearing arms had been drafted for the defence of the province, vast quantities of the wheat remained ungathered.
56. On the 16th, another reconnoitering party of 280 men, under colonel Cass, was despatched in an opposite direction, towards Fort Malden, where the British and Indians had concentrated their forces.
Malden, or Amherstburgh, is situated near the junction of Detroit river with lake Erie, about thirteen miles south from the camp of general Hull at Sandwich. The road lies along the river, and crosses two creeks, and the river Aux Canards, the latter about four miles from Malden. Cass's detachment found the British advanced posts in possession of a bridge over the Aux Canards. After examining their position, the colonel posted a company of riflemen near the bridge, and forded the river about five miles above with the remainder of his force, with the intention of surprising the British post. For that purpose the riflemen were instructed to commence firing, in order to divert the attention of the enemy, as soon as they should perceive their companions on the opposite side of the river. Unfortunately, however, being entirely destitute of guides, the detachment marched too near the bank of the river, and found their progress checked by a creek, which obliged them to make a circuit of two or three miles. This gave the enemy time to make their arrangements, and prepare for their defence. On being attacked, however, they retreated to Malden, and left the bridge in possession of the detachment; but as colonel Cass had received no orders to keep possession of any post, but had been sent merely to reconnoitre, this bridge, which formed the principal obstruction between the American camp and Malden, was abandoned, and the detachment returned to camp.
97. Meanwhile the main body of the Americans remained inactive at Sandwich. Not a single cannon or mortar was on wheels suitable for the attack of Malden ; nor was it until the 7th of August that two 24 pounders and three howitzers were prepared. Previous to that day, however, a great change had taken place in the prospects of the Americans. The news of the surprise and capture of the island and fort of Michillimackinac* by a combined force of British and Indians, which took place on the 17th of July, reached the army on the 28th. The surrender of this post is stated by general Hull to have “opened the northern hive of Indians, and to have induced those who had hitherto been friendly to pass over to the British.
98. The policy observed by the British and American governments towards the Indians is of a diametrically opposite complexion. The American government is doing every thing in its power to civilize those unfortunate tribes who live within their limits, and to introduce among them the practice of agriculture and the mechanic arts, with a view to wean them from the hunter state, a state which is becoming daily more precarious and unprofitable from the increase of the population of the country, and which renders them extremely dangerous neighbours. The policy of the British, on the contrary, is to keep them in their hunter state, by which they not only supply a lucrative branch of trade, but furnish a powerful weapon in war. It is not to be wondered at, then, that the Indians, who delight in warfare, and all of whose habits are averse from the pursuits of civilized life, should cling to the British, and should view the Americans, from their rapid increase of population and strength, with jealousy and dislike. From this cause Canada has ever been a thorn in the side of the United States. While in possession of the French, by whom it was originally
Michillimackinac, or Makina, is a small island situated in the entrance of the strait between lakes Huron and Michigan. The fort is the most northern military post in the United States Here a great fair was annually held, previ. ous to the war, which was principally frequented by the Indian traders and the merchants of Montreal, for the purpose of exchanging the peltries of the unci. vilized regions for the manufactures of Great Britain.
settled, the most powerful efforts were made by the British and provincial troops to gain possession of the country.
In the French war of 1756, after three wholly disastrous campaigns, and one of mingled disaster and success, the Americans, assisted by powerful British aid, at last succeeded in uniting Canada to the British dominions, and thereby restoring peace to their harassed frontiers. The same complaints against the possessors of Canada for exciting the Indians to hostility were urged in those days, that are now repeated against their successors the British, and by none was the use of this weapon more reprobated than by those who now employ it. Such is the different lights in which a subject appears when it operates for or against us!
By the fall of Michillimackinac, the junction of the Indians, and the reinforcements, both of militia and regulars, which the inactivity of the Americans enabled the British to collect for the defence of Malden, it soon became evident that no effective measures towards the reduction of Canada could be undertaken by this army.
D 9. Several skirmishes happened between reconnoitering parties of the Americans and the Indian and British advanced posts towards the end of July and in the beginning of August, in which both sides claimed the victory. Most of these skirmishes took place near the river Aux Canards. By these parties it was discovered that the bridge over that river had been taken up by the British, except the sleepers; that a battery was erected at one end of it; and that the Queen Charlotte, which carried eighteen 24 pounders, lay in the Detroit river, at the mouth of the Aux Canards, about a mile from the bridge, with a gun-boat cruizing round her.
§ 10. In the mean time the Indians had crossed the Detroit, and cut off the communication of the American army with the state of Ohio, on which they depended for their supplies. As a small reinforcement of volunteers, with a quantity of provisions for the army, was daily expected by this route, a corps of 200 men was detached on the 4th of August to open the communication. This detachment fell into an ambuscade which was formed by the Indians at Brownstown, where they were totally defeated, and returned to camp without effecting the object of their expedition. About the same time an express arrived from general Hall, the American commander on the Niagara frontier, stating that there was no prospect of a co-operation from that
quarter. It being indispensably necessary to open the communication with Ohio, general Hull resolved to suspend the operations
against Malden, and to concentrate the main force of the army at Detroit. Unwilling, however, to abandon the inhabitants of Upper Canada, many of whom had accepted his protection under the proclamation, he established a fortress on the banks of the river, a little above Sandwich, where he left a garrison of 300 men.
The remainder of the army recrossed the river, and encamped at Detroit, on the evening of the 7th and the morning of the 8th of August.
11. In pursuance of the object of opening the communication, 600 men were immediately detached under lieutenantcolonel Miller. This detachment consisted principally of the regular troops, and a corps of artillerists, with one six pounder and a howitzer, a small body of cavalry, and detachments from the Ohio and Michigan volunteers. They marched from Detroit on the evening of the 8th of August, and on the 9th, about 4 P. M. the van guard was fired upon by an extensive line of British and Indians, at the lower part of Maguago, about 14 miles from Detroit. The van guard maintained their position in a most gallant manner, under a very heavy fire, until the line was formed, when the whole, excepting the rear guard, was brought into action. The enemy were formed behind a temporary breast-work of logs, the Indians extending in a thick wood on their left. The Americans advanced till within a small distance of the enemy, where they made a general discharge, and then proceeded with charged bayonets. The enemy maintained their position till forced at the point of the bayonet, when they commenced a retreat. They were pursued in the most vigorous manner, about two miles, when the pursuit was discontinued on account of the fatigue of the troops, the approach of evening, and the necessity of returning to take care of the wounded. The Indians in this battle were under the command of Tecumseh, and are said to have fought with great obstinacy,
The British regulars and volunteers in this action are stated in general Hull's despatch to have amounted to 400, with a larger number of Indians: the Americans were 600 in number. The American loss was 18 killed, and 64 wounded : the loss of the British was not ascertained. Four of their regulars were made prisoners, who stated that the commander, major Muir, and two subalterns, were wounded, and that 15 were killed and wounded of the 41st regiment; and as the militia and volunteers were in the severest part of the action, their loss must have been much greater. About 40 Indians were found dead on the field ; and Tecumseh, their leader, was slightly wounded; the number of wounded Indians was not ascertained.
Nothing, however, but honour was gained by this victory. The communication was opened no farther than the points of their bayonets extended; and the necessary care of the sick and wounded, and a severe storm of rain, rendered their return to camp indispensably necessary. Boats had been sent from Detroit to transport the wounded thither by water; but the attempt was found impracticable. The boats being descried from Malden, the Hunter and Queen Charlotte were despatched in pursuit, and they were forced to convey the wounded from the boats into the woods, and there leave them until waggons could be procured from Detroit.
$ 12. It was now determined entirely to abandon Canada, and accordingly the fort at Sandwich was 'evacuated and destroyed.
Suspicions of treachery in the general, which had begun to arise immediately after the return of the army to Detroit, had now become very prevalent among the troops. A letter was written to governor Meigs of Ohio, by five of the principal officers, begging him instantly to make every effort to open the communication, and informing him of their fears and suspicions.
| 13. On the 14th of August, another attempt was made to penetrate to the river Raisin, where it was understood the detachment from Ohio had arrived with the provisions. Colonels M'Arthur and Cass selected 400 of the most effective men, and set off by an upper route through the woods. The same day the British began to erect batteries opposite Detroit.
On the 15th, general Brock despatched two officers, with a flag of truce, from Sandwich, which had previously been taken possession of by the British, requiring the surrender of Fort Detroit to the arms of his Britannic majesty, and threatening that the lodians would be beyond his controul the moment the contest commenced. General Hull, in his answer, replied, that he was ready to meet any force which might be at his disposal, and any consequences which might result from his exertion of it. On the return of the flag of truce, the British commenced a fire upon Detroit from their batteries, which was vigorously returned from the American fort. The British continued to fire and throw shells till 10 o'clock that night, and at break of day the firing was renewed on both sides.
14. During the night the ships of war had moved up the river, nearly as high as Detroit, and the British and Indians landed under cover of their guns, and were advancing towards the fort, when general Hull ordered a white flag to be hoisted, and the firing to be discontinued. The firing from the oppo