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charge of the vessels, and it was therefore deemed imprudent to make the attempt at this time. He accordingly hauled off and beat up, under a heavy fire from the enemy, to Four-mile point, where the squadron anchored. During the night it blew heavy, with squalls from the westward, and there being every appearance of a gale of wind, the pilot became alarmed, and Chauncey thought it most prudent to get into a place of more safety, and therefore reluctantly deferred renewing the attack until a more favourable opportunity.

The signal was made to weigh at 7 next morning, and the squadron beat out of a very narrow channel, under a heavy press of sail, to the open lake. At 10 they fell in with the Governor Simcoe, which escaped into Kingston harbour by running over a reef of rocks, under a heavy fire from three of the schooners, during which all her people ran below. It now coming on to blow very heavy, Chauncey bore up for Sackett's Harbour, and on his way thither captured two schooners, one of which was burnt, after taking out her sails and rigging.

The Oneida, in this affair, had one man killed, and three slightly wounded, and a few shot through her sails. The schooners lost no men by the enemy's fire, and received but little injury in their hulls and sails. One of their guns, how- . ever burst early in the action, which wounded her commander badly, and a midshipmen and three men slightly. The Royal George received considerable injury in her hull and in men, as the gun-vessels, with their long thirty-two pounders, were seen to strike her almost every shot, and it was observed that she was reinforced with men three different times during the action.

On the 12th Chauncey learnt that the Earl Moira was off the False Ducks, and immediately put off in a snow storm, in the hope of cutting her off from Kingston. In this he was disappointed, as she escaped into the harbour. A vessel under her convoy, however, was captured, in which was captain Brock, brother to the general. Chauncey now blockaded Kingston until the 7th of December, when he returned to Sackett's Harbour, being no longer able to keep the lake on account of the ice. During the winter the ship Madison, of 24 guns, was launched and fitted out.

The capture of York and Fort George have already been noticed in the fifth chapter of this volume. After these events nothing of importance occurred until the end of July, Chauncey being unable to keep the lake, owing to several new vessels being fitted out by the British, and the arrival of sir James Yeo, with a large body of seamen, to take command of the British squadron on Lake Ontario.

It may be proper to mention,

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however, that the brig Duke of Gloucester was captured at York, and on the 18th of June lieutenant Chauncey, in the new schooner Lady of the Lake, captured, on the 16th of June, the schooner Lady Murray, laden with provisions and ammunition, and sixteen officers and privates, besides the seamen.

About the middle of July, the General Pike being ready to sail, which brought the two squadrons nearly to a state of equality, Chauncey sailed from Sackett's Harbour, and, stretching over for the enemy's shore, thence stood up the lake. He arrived off Niagara on the 27th. Here he was informed by general Boyd, that the enemy had a considerable deposit of provisions and stores at Burlington Bay, which he determined to attempt to destroy, and for that purpose embarked a small number of regulars. At six o'clock on the morning of the 28th, the fleet proceeded for the head of the lake, but, owing to light winds and calms, did not arrive there before the evening of the 29th. Two parties were immediately sent on shore, who surprised and took some of the inhabitants, from whom it was learned, that the enemy had received considerable reinforcements, and that his force in regulars was from six to eight hundred men. The troops, marines, and a few sailors were,

however, landed next morning, but, on reconnoitering the enemy's position, he was found posted on a peninsula of very high ground, strongly entrenched, and his camp defended by about eight pieces of cannon. In this situation it was not thought advisable to attack him with a force scarcely half his numbers, and without artillery ; more especially as they were deficient in boats, not having a sufficient number to cross the bay with all the troops at the same time. They accordingly re-embarked in the course of the afternoon, and in the evening weighed and stood for York, where they arrived on the afternoon of the 31st. The schooners ran into the inner harbour, where the marines and troops were landed without opposition. Several hundred barrels of flour and provisons were found in the public storehouse, together with five pieces of cannon, eleven boats, and a quantity of shot, shells, and other stores, all of which were either destroyed or brought away. Next morning, after burning the barracks and public storehouses, the men were re-embarked, and the fleet sailed for Niagara, where it arrived on the 3d of August.

§ 10. At day-light of the 7th, the enemy's fleet being discovered to windward, distant about five or six miles, Chauncey weighed and stood towards them. The whole of this and the next day was spent by the two squadrons in maneuvering to gain a favourable position, in which Chauncey was much baffled by the dull sailing of his schooners, two of which were lost in a squall in the night, and every soul on board perished except sixteen. In the evening of the 8th, it being very squally, with the appearance of its continuing so during the night, Chauncey ran in towards Niagara, and anchored outside of the bar.

The following morning (August 9th), Chauncey again weighed and stood towards the enemy, when a trial of nautical skill once more commenced between the two commanders, each entertaining too respectful an opinion of the other's force to come to an engagement without having the advantage of the wind. In the course of the day the wind frequently veered, which instantly changed the characters of the pursuers and the pursued. At length, towards midnight, Yeo, whose vessels sailed inuch better in squadron than those of Chauncey, succeeded in cutting off two of the American heavy-sailing schooners, which, added to Chauncey's loss in the squall, gave Yeo a considerable superiority of force over his opponent. Chauncey, therefore, ordered two of his dullest sailing vessels to run into Niagara, and stood with the rest of his squadron towards Sackett's Harbour, where he arrived on the 13th.

11. Having victualled his squadron, which was reinforced with a new schooner, Chauncey shortly after sailed on a cruise, and on the 7th of September, at day-light, while lying in Niagara river, discovered the enemy's fleet close in with the shore. The signal was instantly made to weigh, and the fleet stood out of the river after him. Yeo immediately made all sail to the northward, and Chauncev pursued for four days, but was prevented from closing with him by the heavy sailing of his schooners.

On the fourth day, while off Genesee river, Chauncey was favoured with a breeze, while Yeo lay becalmed until his opponent got within about three quarters of a mile of him, when he took the breeze. The squadrons now had a running fight for three hours and a half, when the British got out of gun-shot by their superior sailing. The next morning Yeo ran into Amherst bay, having been chased for five days without intermission. Amherst bay was so little known to the American pilots, and said to be so full of shoals, that they were not willing to take in the fleet; Chauncey, therefore, stationed his vessels off Duck island, with the intention of blockading the enemy, and preventing them from getting out upon the lake.

In the running fight which took place on the 11th, the British sustained considerable injury both in men and vessels. On board the American fleet not a man was hurt, and the vessels suffered no injury of any importance.

Chauncey continued his blockade until the 17th of September, when, the wind blowing heavy from the westward, and the enemy having run into Kingston, he left his station for Sackett's Harbour, where he arrived the same night. Next morning at day-light he again sailed, and on the 19th saw the enemy's fleet near the False Ducks, but took no notice of him, as he wished him to follow up the lake. The squadron'arrived in Niagara river on the 24th.

12. On the 26th, it was reported to Chauncey that the enemy's fleet was in York, when he immediately despatched the Lady of the Lake to ascertain the fact. She returned in the evening with the information that the enemy was in York bay. The squadron immediately weighed anchor, but, owing to a strong head wind, was not able to get out of the river till the evening of the 27th. Owing to the extreme darkness of the night a part of the squadron got separated, and did not join till next morning at eight, when the General Pike, Madison, and Sylph each took a schooner in tow, and made all sail for York, and soon after discovering the enemy's fleet under way in York bay, the squadron shaped their course for them, and prepared for action.

Yeo, perceiving that Chauncey intended to engage him in his position, tacked and stood out of the bay, with the wind at east. Chauncey formed the line and ran down for his centre, and when he approached within about three miles of him, Yeo made all sail to the southward. Chauncey's squadron then wore in succession, and stood on the same tack with him, edging down gradually in order to close; and about twelve o'clock, Yeo, finding he must either risk an action, or suffer his two rear vessels to be cut off, tacked his squadron in succession, beginning at the van, hoisted his colours, and commenced a well-directed fire at the Pike, for the purpose of covering his rear, and attacking the rear of his opponent as he passed to leeward. Chauncey perceived his intention, and therefore, as soon as the Wolfe, the enemy's leading ship, passed the centre, and got abeam of the American squadron, he bore up in succession, preserving the line, for the centre of the British squadron. This manæuvre

of Chauncey's not only covered his rear, but threw the enemy into confusion, and caused him immediately to bear away. Chauncey had now, however, closed so near as to bring his bear with effect, and in twenty minutes the main and mizen topmast and main yard of the Wolfe were shot away. Yeo immediately put before the wind, and set all sail upon his fore-mast; Chauncey made the signal for the fleet to make all sail ; but the enemy, by keeping dead before the wind, which brought all

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the sail upon one mast, and prevented his feeling the loss of his main and mizen topmast, was enabled to outsail most of Chauncey's squadron. The chase was continued till near three o'clock, during the whole of which the Pike, with the Asp in tow, was within point-blank shot of the enemy, and sustained the whole of his fire. Captain Crane in the Madison, and lieutenant Brown in the Oneida, used every exertion to close with the enemy; but the Madison having a heavy schooner in tow, and the Oneida sailing very dull before the wind, prevented those officers from closing near enough to do any execution with their carronades. The Governor Tompkins kept in her station, until her fore-mast was so badly wounded as to oblige her to shorten sail.

Commodore Chauncey now reluctantly relinquished the pursuit. The reasons which induced this determination are thus stated in his letter to the secretary of the navy:

" At the time I gave up the chase, this ship was making so much water, that it required all our pumps to keep her free (owing to our receiving several shot so much below the water edge, that we could not plug the holes from the outside); the Governor Tompkins with her fore-mast gone; and the squadron within about six miles of the head of the lake, it blowing a gale of wind from east, and increasing, with a heavy sea on, and every appearance of the equinox. I considered that if I chased the enemy to his anchorage at the head of the lake, I should be obliged to anchor also ; and although we might succeed in driving him on shore, the probability was, that we should go on shore also-he amongst his friends, we amongst our enemies; and after the gale abated, if he could succeed in getting off one or two vessels out of the two fleets, it would give him as completely the command of the lake as if he had twenty vessels. Moreover, he was covered at his anchorage by a part of his army, and several small batteries thrown up for the purpose. Therefore, if we could have rode out the gale, we should have been cut up by their shot from the shore: under all these circumstances, and taking into yiew the consequences resulting from the loss of our superiority on the lakes at this time, I without hesitation relinquished the opportunity then presenting itself, of acquiring individual reputation at the expense of my country.”

The loss sustained by the Pike, the commodore's ship, was considerable, owing to her being so long exposed to the fire of the whole of the enemy's fleet; but her most serious loss was occasioned by the bursting of one of her guns, which killed and wounded twenty-two men, and tore up the top-gallant fore-castle, which rendered the gun upon that deck useless. Four other

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VOL. II.

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