« ForrigeFortsett »
many shoals. The bottom is generally of a light yellowish sand; which being disturbed by storms, tinges the waters of the lake, at other times clear, and of a greenish colour. The nothern shore. is rude and rocky, but has several barbours for small vessels, and at fort Erie and Maiden, or (as the British call it) Anherstburg, large ships may ride safely. Long point, running from the north shore, is a narrow peninsula of sand, piled with mighty rocks, towards the north ; but on the other sides presents a fine beach..... « very convenient to haul the boats out of the surf upon it, when the lake is too rough for sailing and rowing.” The south side of Erie is generally a sand beach, and the harbours are all incommoded with bars at their entrance. But in some places, at Cayahoga particularly, there are immense ranges of rocks, rising perpendicularly out of the waters of the lake forty or fifty feet high, and several miles in length. The danger of passing these is so great in the time of a storm, that the Indians always offer a sacrifice of tobacco to the water, as they appruach them. The harbours on this side of the lake, best known to us, are Black Rock opposite fort Erie; Erie, at wbich is the United States' navy-yard, &c. here the water on the bar is not more than seven or eight feet, though there is depth enough within it: Cleveland, with six or seven feet water; Sandusky and Put in-bay, which last is spoken of as one of the “ finest barbours in America.” This bay is not laid down in the maps, nor is it mentioned in any of the books or papers we have : but we apprehend it is near the head of the lake, about forty miles above Sandusky, and from twenty to thirty from Malden. Passing Malden, where the Detroit river is about three miles wide, (though the channel is within the range of a musket shot from the fort, which is therefore the key of the bigher lakes) with a fine navigation of eighteen miles, you arrive at the town of Detroit, famous for Hull's capitulation, and the river here is only half a mile wide. Passing Detroit, the river again expands, and receives the waters of lake St. Clair by a mouth a mile and a half wide. This lake is about ninety miles in circumference. It is said to have a bar across the middle, running east and west, to pass which, vessels proceeding to or from lake Huron, must be unladen. We do not credit this assertion, but believe it may be navigated by any of the vessels we have on lake Erie, with safety. The river St. Clair, which unites the lake of that name with lake Huron, presents an easy entrance for vessels into the latter, and is about eighteen miles long.
“ Lake Huron is of a triangular shape, about one thousand miles in circunference, and navigable for large ships, though some say it is not safe for vessels drawing more than nine or ten feet, on account of the shoals ; perhaps chiefly because they are yet little known. The shores of this lake are represented as generally sterile, being composed of sand and small stones : but at some
distance back the soil is pretty good. On the northern parts are many valuable establishments for carrying on the fur trade, of great importance to the enemy, From the northern extremity of this lake there is a back passage to Montreal. It is by the Ottawas river, which has its source in the lake Timiskimaing, north of lake Huron, but the passage from which into lake Huron is by a portage of two miles to the navigable head of French river, which falls into lake Huren The Outawas river falls into the Cadaraqui from the north-west about ten miles above Montreal, and presents in the passage upwards from Montreal numerous rapids, the waters passable with difficulty by canoes, and port. ages over which every thing must be transported by human labour only : circumstances which render it inefficient for military uses, since a force passing upward must not only transport its mil. itary stores and provisions over these portages, but the supply and difficulty must be encreased with numbers. These facts, in the present posture of affairs, are very important, because they de. monstrate, that with the command of the lakes, which the United States can always possess when they determine to employ the ample and facile means they possess, the whole of the Indian trade of the British must fall, and their garrisons must surrender, or descend the Otawa river from mere necessity : we shall there. fore give a short sketch of the passage up this river as it is pursued by the traders, whose commodities for transport are much more manageable than military apparatus.
“ The navigation is conducted in canoes of birch, which carry about eight or ten men, and from forty to sixty packages of merchandize ; besides their provision, biscuit, pork, pease and lo. dian corn. In May they leave La Chine, about a mile below the entrance of the river Otawa, and proceed to St. Anne, about two miles from the western end of the island upon which stands Montreal, the two mountains being on the opposite side of the lake, here formed by the confluence of the Otawa with the Cadaraqui, and taking the name of the lake of the two mountains : at St. Ann's there is a rapid, where they are obliged to unlade part of their cargoes. This lake of the two mountains is twenty miles long, and about two miles wide, and cultivation is seen on both its sides : at its end the water contracts and assumes the name of Otawa river. 'Here the inland voyage is considered as begin. ning : and after a course of fifteen miles, the current is interrapt. ed by currents and cascades for a succession of ten miles, generally denominated rapids ; here the travellers are obliged to un. load and bear their burdens on slings or on their backs; whilst the canoes are towed up against the current with immense labour and patience. There are places where the ground will not admit of the carriage of large loads, and they are therefore carried at several times.
“ After about sixty miles of smooth current, where the river is generally more than a mile wide, they reach the portage of the lake Claudiere, where there is a cascade of twenty feet. The portage here is about half a mile, and canoes and all their lading are carried upon men's shoulders. Thence to the next portage des Chenes, is short, but the land carriage is about a third longer than the preceding, and is called portage du Chat; there are two smaller portages called des Sables and de la Montagne, in eighteen miles to the grand Calumet, where the current is again tranquil ; next the portage Dufort, which is two hundred fortyfive yards, over which canoes and cargoes must be all carried..... then the portage of the mountain, the Derige, where the loads must be carried three hundred eighty-five yards over one, and two hundred fifty over the other. The last portage of this river is a long one between Les Alumettes, Deux Joachins and Roche Captaine, and the discharge De Trou. The distance of the portages nearly two miles, and others over lofty and difficult rocks.... when at about four hundred miles from Montreal, Petit Reviere falls into the Otawa from the south westward; here the voyagers must turn off to the left, and pass this river of about sixty-five miles length, interrupted by rocks and cataracts to the number of thirteen to the high lands; when after the greatest difficulties, and a course of land carriage of about six miles, they reach lake Nipising, which is about thirty-six miles long, and about fifteen wide ; but the track of the canoes is much longer, as they must follow the coast.
“ Out of this lake flows French river before mentioned, precip. itating its flood over rocks of considerable height, called the Kettle falls, which necessarily infers another portage, of which there are not less than five more in a distance of about eighty miles to the entrance of lake Huron."
“ Lake Michigan communicates with Huron by the straits of Michillimackinac, which are about six miles long. This lake is entirely embosomed within the United States, which are separated from the British possesions by an imaginary line drawn through the middle of lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior, &c. The length of Michigan, from north to south, is estimated at two hundred eighty miles, and the breadth between sixty and seventy, and it has about the same depth of water as Huron. The island of Michillimackinac, on which stands the village and fort of that name, is situate near the entrance of the strait from Huron, being about seven miles in circumference, and four miles distant from the nearest land. It abounds with excellent water, and is high and healthy ; rising to the centre“ as to resemble when you approach it, a turtle's back from whence it derived its name, Miche illimackinac, or the turtle.”
« The fort, which stands on the S. E. side, is handsomely situated on a bluff rock, rising from one to two hundred feet from the water, almost perpendicular in many places, extending about half way round the island. It overlooks, and of course commands the harbour, a beautiful semicircular basin of about one mile in extent, and from one to five or six fathoms in depth, and sheltered from lake Huron by two islands stretching across its mouth, and leaving only a narrow ship channel, by which to enter the harbour. From the fort you have an uninterrupted view into lake Huron to the north east, and into lake Michigan on the west. It is entirely commanded by the high ground in its rear, where is only a stockade defended by two block-houses, with a brass six pounder in each. There are also two long nines on a battery in front, besides two howitz, and a brass three pounder, which commands the approach to the front gate.
“ The first growth of timber has been principally cut off, and the under-brush grown up, so that an invading enemy might approach within cannon shot (as was the case at its capture by the enemy) without being discovered by the centinels at the fort."
« The village contained about three hundred inhabitants in 1810, chiefly French Canadians ; and a very brisk trade was carried on with the neighbouring Indians. The export of furs in 1804 was valued at D. 238,936, and the duties received on goods imported from the British possegsions were D. 60,000 was in a very flourishing situation when the enemy possessed themselves of it in 1812, before the declaration of war was known to our commandant. The hostile force came from St. Joseph's, a post about forty miles north, situate at the foot of the straits of St. Marie, through which the waters of lake Superior are discharged into Huron. St. Josephs was held chiefly as a place of observation on Michillimackinac: which latter the Britisha gave up with great reluctance by Jay's treaty, in 1794, though they had conditioned to do it, immediately, in 1783, ten years be
Chicago, or fort Dearborn, famous for the murder of its garrison, (an account of which will be given in a future number] by the allies, is near the foot, or south end of Michigan, nearly two hundred fifty miles from Michillimackinac, and was the only post or settlement we had on the shores of the lake.
“ St. Josephs was garrisoned by two companies of Canadians, and a few regulars. It is assailable by water. The straits of St. Marie are forty miles long, and so rapid that they cannot be ascended even by canoes, though the decent is safe, if the pilots are good."
Operations of the army of the centre.....Battle of Queenstown
..... Bombardment of fort Niagara.....Attack on the British lines opposite and below Black Rock..... Geographical description of the Niagara frontier.
It was late in the season before a sufficient force was collected upon the Niagara frontiet to attempt offensive operations. In October, however, Gen. Van Rensselaer, of the New York militia, bad his head-quarters at Lewistown, with a force under his command of four thousand men, consisting of about fifteen hundred regulars, and the remainder militia. They were distributed along the river from fort Niagara to Buffalo. Nothing of importance occurred till the 12th, when the militia at Lewistown became impatient to attack the enemy's works opposite, at Queenstown. The attack was accordingly made on the 13th, the result of which, with the previous arrangements, and many important particulars, will be found in the following letter from Gen. Van Rensselaer to Maj. Gen. Dearborn, dated
Head-quarters, Lewistown, Oct. 14, 1812. SIR..... As the movements of the army under my command, since I had last the honour to address you on the 8th inst. have been of a very important character, producing consequences serious to many individuals ; establishing facts actually connected with the interest of the service and the safety of the army ; and as I stand prominently responsible for some of these consequences, I beg leave to explain to you sir, and through you, to my country, the situation and circumstances in which I have had to act, and the reasons and motives which have governed me : and if the result is not all that might have been evished, it is such that when the whole ground shall be viewed, I shall cheerfully submit myself to the judgment of my country.-