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Sketches Illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada
Chapter 17

Forays Along the St. Lawrence.—Unsuccessful Attack on Ogdensburg.— St. Regis Surprised.—Americans Repulsed at Fort Erie.—"General Van Bladder" and His Proclamations.—Naval Encounters.—Battle of Stoney Creek.— The Taking of Ogdensburg.—York Taken by the Americans, April 27th, 1813.

Along the St. Lawrence some attacks were made during the autumn on posts on either side. On the 4th October Colonel Lethbridge, who commanded at Fort Wellington (Prescott) determined to assault the American fort at Ogdensburg. He took with him eight artillerymen, two companies of the Canadian Fencibles, about forty of the Newfoundland regiment under Captain Skinner, and one hundred and my Glengarry militia, who, after travelling the whole night, had just 3rrived in carts from Cornwall, distant fortv-eight miles. There were other militia men at the post, but the Highlanders, fatigued as they necessarily must have been, were the only ones that would consent to accompany the regulars across to the attack. Colonel Lethbridge with his few men advanced towards Ogdensburg, and Captain Skinner, having his small detachment on board two gunboats, attacked and silenced the American battery upon the point below the town. The small force that had embarked could make little or no impression upon so strong a position, the boats therefore returned with a trifling loss. It afterwards was ascertained, however, that General Brown was preparing to abandon the Fort so that had all the men embarked the enterprise might have been brought to a successful conclusion. The American version of this affair is to the effect that the attacking force numbered over one thousand men.

On the 23rd of October, the Indian village of St. Regis was surprised by a force of four hundred men detailed from Plattsburg.

The outpost at this point consisted of twenty men and an officer of the Canadian Voyageurs, Lieutenant Rototte. Sergeant McGillivray and six men were killed, the remainder taken prisoners. In a cupboard of the wigwam of the Indian interpreter was found a Union Jack. This windfall of colours, as stated by Colonel Coffin, was grandiloquently announced to the world as "the capture of a stand of colours, the first colours taken during the War," whereas dozens of them might have been obtained at far less cost in any American shipyard.

This affront was resented forthwith. On the 23rd November, small parties of the Forty-Ninth Foot and Glengarry Light Infantry, supported by about seventy men of the Cornwall and Glengarry Militia, about one hundred and forty in all, under Lieutenant-Colonel McMillan, crossed the St. Lawrence and pounced on the American Fort at French Mills on Salmon River, opposite Summerstown—since called Fort Covington in honour of the American general of that name who was killed at the battle of Chrysler's Farm. The enemy took to the block-house, but finding themselves surrounded, surrendered prisoners of war. One captain, two subalterns and forty-one men were taken, with four batteaux and fifty-seven stand of arms No "stand of colours" was captured with the Americans; as it's not usual to confide standards to the guardianship of detached parties of forty or fifty men in any service (Coffin, page 69). Captain Duncan Greenfield Macdonell's company of the First Glengarry Regiment was, as I see by papers in my possession, in this engagement. Colonel Macmillan, who commanded, was married to his sister.

During the autumn, some fighting took place in the vicinity of Kingston, on the lake, in which our boats seem to have got somewhat the worst of it, though nothing occurred of any importance. The Lower Canadian frontier was threatened by General Dearborn, who had assembled some ten thousand men in the neighbourhood of Plattsburg, and an attack was made on a picket at Lacolle by a force from Champlain Town on the 20th November. Some frontier militia and Indians under Colonel McKay, of the Northwest Company, drove them back with some loss to the Americans. Dearborn then went into winter quarters.

In the West, between Port Erie and Chippewa, General Smythe detached some 2500 men "to take Canada," without any success. Colonel Bisshopp, a gallant officer who was killed in the following summer, with some six hundred regulars and militia, beat them off with considerable loss to the Americans in killed and wounded, while an aide-de-camp to the American General, some other officers and forty men were taken prisoners. General Smythe then despatched a flag of truce to Fort Erie, politely requesting a surrender, stating that it was desirable to "prevent the unnecessary effusion of blood by a surrender of Fort Erie to a force so superior as to render resistance hopeless," a suggestion which Colonel Bisshopp, with scarcely equal politeness, declined, sending Captain Fitzgerald with his answer: "Come and take it". Two other feints were made, after which General Smythe, having abandoned his intention of taking Canada for the present, went into winter quarters. The Americans, however, made it hot for this gallant soldier, whose inflated proclamations to '"the men of New York" must have made poor Hall green with envy, when he declared that the present is the hour of renown. You desire your share of fame; then seize the present moment. Advance to our aid. I will wait for you for a few days. I cannot give you the hour of my departure to plant the American standard in Canada. But come on. Come in companies, half companies, pairs or single." The peroration of his manifesto to the soldiers of the Array of the Centre was positively immense.

"Soldiers of every corps! It is your power to retrieve the honour of your country and to cover yourselves with glory. Every man who performs a gallant action shall have his name made known to the nation. Rewards and honours await the brave. Infamv and contempt are reserved for cowards. Companions in arms! You came to vanquish a valiant foe; I know the choice you will make. Come on, my heroes! And when you attack the enemies' batteries let your rallying word be, 'the cannon lost at Detroit or death'."

The Americans of those days liked a little highfaluting (let me dare the odious word), but the contrast between this and the result was a little too strongly marked. Military conventions were held, resolutions very disparaging to this Boanerges were passed, suggestions of a nice, close-fitting coat of tar-and-feathers were made, to escape which he went South, was summarily dismissed from the service without trial, and eventually found his proper sphere in the American Congress, though the appropriate soubriquet of' "General Van Bladder" conferred upon him by his grateful and admiring countrymen followed him to his grave!

During the first year of the war, therefore, Britain and British Canadians had decidedly the best of it on land in all except proclamations. In that field Generals Hull and Smythe positively annihilated the poor "Britishers."

At sea, however, it had been different. The admiralty could not or would not understand that the Americans were building vessels superior in all respects to those which constituted the fleet on the North American station, and the first engagement in which the British "Belvidere," in charge of a convoy bound for the West Indies, beat off Commodore Rogers with a squadron of three frigates and two sloops, rescued the merchantmen and saved herself, was calculated to impress them with the fact that it was impossible for Britain to be otherwise than supreme upon the sea. Moreover, the nominal strength in equipage and tonnage of the American vessels was not a fair criterion when compared with the nominal strength of the British. Their vessels were new, while the British were for the most part old; they had but one war on hand, while Britain had ships fighting on every sea; their crews were picked crews, while the British vessels were manned—in most cases under-manned at that—with motley crews, pressed into the service from every available quarter and largely undisciplined.

The British "Guerriere;" after an unequal contest, was obliged to strike her flag to the American vessel "Constitution," and in October the "Frolic" succumbed to the American ship "Wasp," the latter, however, being taken and the "Frolic" rescued the same day by "Poictiers." A few days later the "United States" beat the "Macedonian," and about the same time the British ship "Peacock'' was, after a desperate encounter, sunk by the American "Hornet," four of the American sailors nobly losing their lives in an effort to save the "Peacock's" crew. The British at last achieved a brilliant victory, however, in the celebrated battle between the "Shannon," Captain Broke commanding, and the "Chesapeake." It was probably one of the shortest and most spirited actions ever fought at sea, lasting only fifteen minutes. Eleven minutes from the firing of the first shot, Captain Broke boarded the "Chesapeake," and in four minutes more her flag was hauled down. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded, and died almost immediately after, with forty-seven of his officers and men killed and ninety-nine wounded, fourteen mortally. Captain Broke was severely wounded, his first lieutenant and twenty-three others killed and fifty-eight wounded.

The campaign of 1813 opened on the extreme western frontier, where, owing to the climate being less rigourous than in the east, they were naturally able to go to work earlier. Colonel Proctor had been left in command at Detroit by General Brock, when in the proceeding August the latter had gone to the Niagara frontier.

On the 19th January, he received information that a division of the American army under General Winchester was encamped at Frenchtown, some twenty-six miles from Detroit. He promptly determined to attack them before they could be reinforced by General Harrison, who was then three or four days' march in the rear. His disposable force was assembled at Brownstown on the 21st, consisting of five hundred regulars and militia, and six hundred Indians. The next morning he advanced some twelve miles to Stoney Creek, and made, at day-break, a resolute attack on the enemy's camp. General Winchester himself, soon after the commencement of the action, fell into the hands of the Wyandot Chief Roundhead, who surrendered him to Colonel Proctor. His forces retreated to the houses and enclosures, from which they made a vigourous resistance, but soon surrendered. Their loss in killed and wounded was between three hundred and four hundred men, while over five hundred men, with one Brigadier-General, three field officers, nine captains, twenty subalterns, surrendered prisoners of war. The British loss was twenty-four killed and one hundred and eighty-five wounded. The House of Assembly of Lower Canada, then in session, passed a vote of thanks to Colonel Proctor and to the officers and men of his force. Colonel Proctor was immediately promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General by the commander of the forces, which was approved of and confirmed by the Prince Regent.

The next engagement of moment, the assault and capture of Ogdensburg, was one in which the Glengarry Light Infantry and the Glengarry Militia played so important a part that I may be permitted to narrate if at greater length, as it must of necessity be of interest to-the descendants of those who principally earned the credit of it— nor is the credit denied them by any of those who have written on the subject of the war, all bearing testimony to the daring of the man who devised it, and who, acting on his own discretion, and without orders to do what he so gallantly accomplished, would probably have been broken had he failed.

Sir George Prevost, the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, having closed the Session of the Legislature, left Quebec on the 17th February on a journey to Upper Canada. On his arrival at Prescott Lieutenant-Colonel George Macdonell, second in command there, proposed to him, as he passed through, an attack on Ogdensburg in retaliation for an excursion by the enemy from thence upon Brockville some days previously, where a sentry had been wounded, some cattle pens sacked, some private houses and the gaol burned and fifty-two of the inhabitants taken into captivity, amongst them two majors, two captains and two lieutenants, elderly gentlemen who, as a compliment, retained their commissions in the miiitia.

Mr. James states that Colonel Macdonell had been sent across the river by Colonel Pearson, his senior officer, to remonstrate with the American commander at Ogdensburg against the commission of such depredations. Forsyth was exceedingly insolent to him and expressed a wish to meet Pearson and his men upon the ice, declaring in his own vernacular that he could "whip" him with the greatest ease, to which Macdonell replied that the command at Fort Wellington would in a few days devolve upon him and that he would have no objection to indulge Colonel Forsyth in the manner indicated by him.

Ogdensburg was then a fortified military post, garrisoned and armed, but still more effectually protected by the breadth of the St. Lawrence, at this point a mile and a quarter wide. One rash attempt upon it had, as we have seen, already failed. The Governor did not deem it expedient to order an attack, but as two men had deserted on the evening of his arrival, and had gone over to the enemy, who might, on ascertaining of the arrival of the Governor, waylay him on his route, it was determined that Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell should make a demonstration on the ice in front of Ogdensburg, as well with a view of engaging the attention of the enemy as by drawing out their forces to ascertain the strength of the garrison.

But such a thing as an attack was expressly forbidden, Sir George Prevost repeating more than once his prohibition in unequivocal terms. He particularly objected to the hazard of doing anything that might tend to interrupt the transport of stores then going on by land, and he would give no credit to the rumour then current and communicated to him by Colonel Macdonell, that the enemy were about to concentrate a large force at Ogdensburg for that very purpose. He strictly enjoined on Colonel Macdonell the necessity of great prudence on his part to justify the strong step he had taken on placing him (Macdonell) above all the majors in his army, a measure, he stated, that had already excited great murmurs among that class of officers. The only admission of the possibility of an attack that His Excellency would make, was that on the expected arrival at Prescott of Major Cotton and three hundred men of the King's Regiment, then some days' march distant, Colonel Macdonell might write to Major-General de Rottenhurg, commanding at Montreal, and act as that officer might be pleased to direct.

Colonel Coffin, in his account of the affair, states that Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell at this time commanded the Glengarry Light Infantry. This, however, is a mistake. It is true that on the occasion of the attack he commanded such of them as were present, as he did the other forces, but it was for the very reason that he did not receive the command of the regiment which he raised and completed in the additional establishment, that the local rank of Lieutenant Colonel and the command of the St. Lawrence frontier was conferred upon him The facts are stated in Colburn's Military Gazette of 1848, and as they are of interest and some importance, I quote them at length before giving an account of the engagement:

"It happened that in the end of January, 1813, the Glengarry-Highland Militia. Regiment, being much harassed by severe duties arising out of predatory excursions by the enemy's strong garrison at Ogdensburg, sent in a petition to the Governor-General that their personal acquaintance and clansman, Major Macdonell of the Glengarry Light Infantry, should (since deprived of that corps) be appoint-d to command them, and the highly vulnerable frontier they had charge of extending about one hundred miles, and more than half of it at that moment a bridge of ice, passable for artillery. This petition was of course undeniable: first, because, without disparagement to the brave and loyal English and Anglo-Dutch settlers, these Highlanders were, from the; numbers and peculiar locality, indisputably the sheet anchor of the English tenure of Canada, and secondly for the following reason:—The Governor-General had, most unfortunately on the eve of hostilities, by a very inconsiderate breach of public faith, (more, it is believed, the act of an interested official than himself) unjustly deprived Major Macdonell of the expressly stipulated command of the Glengarry Light Infantry, which he had raised and which, but for his local influence, never could have been attempted, and had placed in command, from private favour, an Irish officer, undoubtedly brave, but an utter stranger to the Highlanders in the Glengarry District. The immediate consequence of this unjust and dangerous act, was mutiny in the corps itself, and something not unlike an insurrection among their fathers and brothers in the settlement, a circumstance which can excite the surprise in anyone who has read Colonel David Stewart's "History of the Highland Regiments." True, the extreme forbearance of the Catholic Priest in Glengarry (the Chaplain of the Regiment) and the temperate fullness of Major Macdonell had allayed the effeivescence, but deep resentment still lurked in the breast of those sturdy Highlanders, many of whom could not speak one word of English, at the thought of their relative and clansman having been betrayed, as they alleged, by the Government, and placed tinier an Irish Protestant, an alien to them and their peculiar feelings, and as they not unnaturally but erroneously thought, a bitter enemy to their religion. The Governor-General appreciated the necessity of putting these brave and loyal men into good humour with him and the Government, and this he accomplished by placing Colonel Macdonell at their head and giving him the command in their own District.

On the morning of the 23rd February, Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell commenced his march on the ice with about two hundred and thirty militia and two hundred and fifty regulars, two thirds of the little force being Glengarry Highlanders. The distance across the river, in the direction of the point of attack, was about a mile and a half. Owing to the caution requisite in marching over ice with four hundred and eighty men, at a place which had never been crossed in the same manner, the troops and militia were divided into two columns and formed in extended order.

Obeying for some time the command of Prevost, Colonel Macdonell played with the enemy, but, as Mr. Rattray observes, the season for action had come. They needed no martial address or inflated proclamation. The Highland blood was up. 'These men did not plead qualms of conscience or constitutional scruples for not daring the ice which undulated and cracked and gaped beneath their feet. The American Commandant Forsyth was at his breakfast, and affected to ridicule the demonstration. Macdonell divided his force into two columns, having, as stated, advanced rapidly to the attack—speed and resolution alone could save him. The Americans, more wary than their chief, sprang to their guns; musketry and cannon opened on the advancing columns. The left, under Macdonell himself, rushed rapidly on, under a heavy fire, and through the deep snow ascended the river bank and swept from the ice into the village of Ogdensburg, overwhelming all opposition. Here, from the eastern bank of the Oswegatchie, he commanded to a great extent the flank and rear of the old French Fort Presentation and the batteries which raked the river; but his own guns were behind hand, they had stuck in the deep snowbank and rough ice, broken and piled, at the river bank. By furious efforts they were forced to the front, and not a moment too soon. While this was doing Captain Jenkins, of the Glengarry Fencibles, who commanded the right wing, a gallant New Brunswicker, was making a most desperate effort to carry out the part assigned to him. Seven pieces of artillery, backed by two hundred good troops, smashed the head of his advance; gallantly he rallied his broken column; not a living man shrank; springing forward with a cheer, his left arm was shattered by a shot; nothing daunted, forward and still cheering on, his upright right arm was disabled by a case shot; still disregarding all personal consideration, he nobly ran on, cheering his men, to the assault, till, exhausted by pain and loss of blood he became unable to move, his company gallantly continuing the charge under Lieutenant Macaulay. The Glengarries, with broken formation, through the deep snow, in front of the deadly battery, were reforming for a charge with the bayonet, when, fortunately, Macdonell's guns on the left got within range. Captain Eustace, with the men of the King's Regiment, crossed the Oswegatchie and captured the eastern battery, and, together, both attacks swarmed into the body of the place, to find it vacated, except by dead and dying—the enemy having withdrawn to the woods in their west rear, where there was no means of intercepting their retreat."

"The gallant little band—worthy sons of the Gaelic clans—had nobly vindicated their claim to ancestral valour. Ogdensburg was theirs and an end was put to frontier raids from the other side."

Eleven pieces of cannon and all the ordnance, mariial, commissariat and quartermaster-general's stores, four officers, seventy men were taken, and two armed schooners, two large gunboats and both the barracks burnt, twenty of the enemy killed and a large number wounded. Of the British seven were killed and seven officers (including Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell) and forty-one men wounded. Colonel Coffin suggests that on crossing the river a little of the old raiding temper had revived among the Highlandmen, and the word "spulzie" had passed and many facts glistened with glee at the hopeful prospect. This is the only case in which I find my old friend drawing upon his imagination for his facts!

On the day following this action Sir George Prevost was at dinner with the officers of his staff at Kingston when his Colonial Aide-de-Camp, Captain Percival, who had remained behind for a day at Montreal when Sir George left there, walked in, holding in his hand Colonel Macdonell's despatch announcing his success at Ogdensburg, and apologizing to the Governor-General for having dared to take it. His Excellency filled a bumper to the captor and that night wrote hima as follows ;—

"Kingston, 24th February, 1813.

* My Dear Sir,—Although you have rather exceeded my orders, I am well pleased with what you have done, and so I have just told you in a general order, which is to announce to the troops in British America your achievement.

"I am, yours faithfully,

"(Signed), George Prevost.

"Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell."

The general order stated that. "* * * " His Excellency feels much pleasure in publicly expressing his- entire approbation of the gallantry and judgment with which the taking of Ogdensburg appears to have been conducted. A salute to be fired immediately."

On the 8th March, 1813, the House of Assembly of Upper Canada passed a vote of thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell and his force for what the Speaker, in his letter transmitting it styled, "the splendid victory at Ogdensburg." Sir Roger Sheaffe, Lieutenant-Governor and Major-General commanding in Upper Canada, although a personal stranger to Colonel Macdonell, wrote to the latter from York a letter of congratulation on his recent success in the brilliant affair of Ogdensburg. The Governor-General recommended to the Horse Guards that Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, who had been severely wounded in the action, should receive by brevet a confirmation of the local rank in which he performed the service, and in consideration of the political importance even then visible, but not fully appreciated until afterwards, proposed to the Government that the capture of Ogdensburg be made a medal day. Indeed, even His Royal Highness the Duke of York himself, at a later period, also recommended that it should be made a medal day, but Lord Bathurst replied that the list had been closed and could not be re-opened. It seems scarcely fair that it should have been left to a civilian such as Lord Bathurst to pronounce upon and determine a matter purely military. A medal was given for the taking of Detroit, where not a life was lost on either side. A motion was made, some time after the vote of thanks was passed in the House of Assembly, that a sword of the value of one hundred guineas should be presented to Colonel Macdonell. It seems scarcely credible, and certainly is far from creditable-, that religious differences should have determined a matter such as this, but I fear it was so. The writer in the Military Gazette does not hesitate to state that it was because Colonel Macdonell was "a Papist" that the motion was allowed to drop, and declared that the then Speaker of the House boasted afterwards that he had quashed ir by using the "argument" that on account of his religion Colonel Macdonell ought not to receive from a Protestant House any recognition of his bravery and services. the name of his authority is given, Mr. John Cumming, of Kingston, then or afterward member for that town.

Sir George Prevost, in his proclamation to the inhabitants of His Majesty's Provinces in North America, of 12th January, 1814, in contrasting the conduct of the troops under his command with that of the American forces, refers to the conduct of the British on this occasion as follows : * * * "In the winter of the following year, when the success which attended the gallant enterprise against Ogdensburg had placed that populous and flourishing village in our possession, the generosity of the British character was again conspicuous in scrupulous preservation of every article which could be considered as private property, such public buildings only being destroyed as were used for the accommodation of troops and for public stores. The destruction of the defences of Ogdensburg and the dispersion of the enemy's force in that neighbourhood laid open the whole of the frontier on the St. Lawrence to the incursion of his His Majesty's troops, and Hamilton, as well as the other numerous settlements on the banks of the river might, at any hour, had such been the disposition of His Majesty's Government, or of those acting under it, been plundered and laid waste."

A correspondent in the United Service Magazine, 1848, part 1, page 452, does not hesitate to affirm that this important part was taken on that morning contrary to the most positive orders, verbal and written, of the Governor-General in person and on the spot only one-half hour previous to the attempt, and that when Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell hazarded the attack he was acting under something like a certainty of being cashiered by a court martial, if not indeed sentenced to be shot, for disobedience of orders in the event of failure. Nothing but success could justify the attempt—it was a case of do or die—and yet, when it was done, the despatch announcing it to the Home authorities and published in the London "Gazette" was altered, and Colonel Macdonell was made to say, over his own signature, that he had taken Ogdensburg "by the command of His Excellency."

Being constantly employed in remote parts of the upper country, Colonel Macdonell did not discover this misrepresentation of fact until November, 1816, and when he called the attention of the Colonial Military Secretary to it, the only reply he received was that such alterations were customary in the service. The matter was subsequently brought before the Duke of York, but the time had gone by and Colonel Macdonell was left without satisfaction. He was a rash young officer and did more than his duty, for which men are seldom thanked.

The statement has frequently been made that, having acted in disobedience of orders, he was obliged to leave the service. This, of course, is untrue. Though he never received for this and other important services rendered by him, any reward commensurate with his merits, he continued on the service, received one of the two gold medals given for Chateauguay, and in 1817 was made a Commander of the Bath. He afterwards commanded the 79th Highlanders.

When General Pike arrived at Ogdensburg in the week following with five thousand regular American troops, he found the garrison had fled to Sackett's Harbour, the barracks all burned down, the fort dismantled and all the artillery, stores and provisions transferred to our side of the river, and, having no food or cover for his men, and setting his grand plan of taking Prescott, and with it hampering all Upper Canada, anticipated and counteracted, he thought it prudent to abandon all idea of conquest and to hurry on to Lake Ontario. Thus the taking of Ogdensburg completely frustrated all the enemy's schemes; it forced him to remove the seat of war for six months thereafter three hundred miles further from Montreal, and so compel him to waste his time and strength in that, for him, remote and useless locality, and this too when time was everything for Britain, as it gave time for the arrival of troops.

The return of killed and wounded shows:—Royal Artillery, two rank and file killed  Eighth or King's Regiment, one sergeant killed, one subaltern, twelve rank and file wounded; Glengarry Light Infantry, two rank and file killed, one captain, one subaltern, three sergeants, nine rank and file wounded. Militia, nineteen wounded. The officers wounded were:—King's Regiment, Ensign Powell; Glengarry Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, Captain Jenkins and Ensign McKay; Militia, Captain Macdonell and Lieutenants Impey, McLean and Macdonell.

Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, in his despatch to Sir George Prevost, among other officers mentioned for their gallant conduct, Lieutenant Macaulay, and Ensigns Macdonell and Kerr, of the Glengarry Regiment, and Ensign Kerr, of the Militia, the two latter of whom had each charge of a field piece. Needless to say, the gallantry and devotion of Captain Jenkins was first recorded.

The following men of the Glengarry Militia Regiments, who were wounded at the taking of Ogdensburg, received a pension of twenty pounds each:

First Regiment Glengarry Militia:—D. McDermid, Farquhar McBean, Donald Macdonell, John Macdonell, Thomas Ross.

Charles Mackinnon and Finlay Munro were wounded near Cornwall on the 10th November, 1812, and also received a pension of twenty pounds.

To Glengarry and Glengarry men, I think I have shown, must that important achievement, one of the most daring of the war, be credited in greater part.

I have obtained, from the official records, a list of the officers and men of the flank companies of the Glengarry Militia Regiments who were present both at the taking of Ogdensburg and the capture of Fort Covington, in the same year, all of whom received grants of two hundred acres of land from the Crown for their services on the conclusion of the war, but I regret that want of space will net permit me to insert it.

When the Legislature of Upper Canada assembled at York on 25th February, 1813, General Sir Robert Sheaffe, commanding the forces in Upper Canada, and who had succeeded Sir Isaac Brock as President of the Province, in his address to the House stated, "It affords me satisfaction that the first time I am called upon to address you in this place, I have to offer you my cordial congratulations on the uniform success which has crowned His Majesty's arms in this Province. The enemy has been foiled in repeated attempts to invade it. Three of his armies have been surrendered or completely defeated, and two important posts wrested from him. In this glorious campaign, the valour and discipline of His Majesty's regular troops have been nobly supported by the zeal and bravery of our loyal militia."

The Americans' plan of campaign for this season included attacks on Kingston, Fort George, Niagara and York. Their superiority on the lake rendered the situation of these places very critical—that of York, which was entirely unprotected, extremely much so. It was then, as now, the capital of the Province, though in 1812, instead of a population of two hundred and sixteen thousand, it contained one thousand souls. The Legislative Buildings and Government Offices were there, and all official people were obliged to live in "Muddy little York," as people of other places then and for many years after called it. The British force stationed there consisted of but six hundred men under General Sheaffe.

In April, 1813, Commodore Chauncey, with a squadron of sixteen sail, and having on board of the various vessels General Dearborn and some two thousand five hundred American soldiers, left Sickett's Harbour, and on the 26th of that month arrived at York, which fell an easy prey on the following day. It was as well defended as could be expected, by the regular force, consisting of a company of the Glengarries, a company of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (which served in this Province throughout the whole War) and two companies of the Eighth Regiment (which happened to be at York en route from Kingston to Niagara), and the local militia; but successful resistance was out of the question. The enemy had virtually captured the place when an explosion occurred at the powder magazine, where some two hundred and fifty of the Americans were killed or wounded, including General Pike, their commander (General Dearborn appearing to have remained on board), as well as a few of the British, The American papers endeavoured, with their usual untruthfulness, to show that this was done intentionally, though the evidence was all to the contrary, and even if it had been it was perfectly consistent with the rules of Warfare.

General Sheaffe retired with the regular forces to Kingston, and the militia, to the number of two hundred and ninety three, with a few officers and men of the Royal Navy, surrendered prisoners of war. The Americans burned the public buildings with the libraries and all the records and papers of Parliament, and gained possession of a great quantity of naval and other stores. The British loss was sixty-two killed and seventy-two wounded. Of the Glengarry Regiment, two rank and file were killed, Ensign Robins and three rank and file wounded, and three rank and file missing. The militia rolls fell into the hands of the enemy, who claimed many as prisoners who never surrendered into their hands. York had a. fictitious importance, owing to its being, the capital 'of the Province, and we can easily understand, as the fact was, that the Americans made the most of its capture. Commodore Chauncey forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy the British standard which was taken, accompanied by the mace, and what he claimed was a human scalp which hung over it. Colonel Coffin says it was a peruke such as was commonly worn in those days, and very likely belonged to the Speaker, while Mr. Auchinleck suggests it was the scalp of an unfortunate Indian who was shot in a tree by the Americans, and was taken by Commodore Chauucey himself.

They held possession of York about a week, evacuating it on the 2nd May, when they proceeded to the Niagara frontier. The regular force in that district at the time consisted of the Forty-Ninth Regiment, and of detachments of the Eighth, Forty-First, Glengarry-Light Infantry, and Royal Newfoundland corps, with some artillery, the whole commanded by Brigadier-General Vincent. At Fort George were about a thousand of these, with three hundred militia and about fifty Indians, but unfortunately there was so great a scarcity of powder that they were able to mate but little use of the guns.

After being driven back in three separate efforts to land, the Americans on the 27th May obtained possession of the fort, which General Vincent abandoned, having lost three officers, one noncommissioned officer and forty-eight rank and file killed, eleven officers, four sergeants and twenty-nine men wounded and one officer, thirteen sergeants and two hundred and forty rank and file wounded and missing; and the Americans thirty-one killed and one hundred and eleven wounded. The Eighth Regiment, Glengarry Light Infantry and Royal Newfoundland detachments lost about half their united force. The Glengarry Regiment had one captain, one ensign, one sergeant, twenty-four rank and file killed; one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, three sergeants, twenty rank and file wounded; one lieutenant, two sergeants, twenty-three rank and file wounded and missing. The officers of the Glengarry Regiment killed were Captain Lidell and Ensign McLean; those wounded Captain Roxburgh, lieutenant Kerr and Ensign Kerr. General Vincent fell back to the head of the lake, the enemy not attempting to follow, and eventually encamped at Burlington Heights, when his supply of ammunition was reduced to ninety rounds per man. On the 5th June the enemy were encamped at Stoney Creek Mr Auchirdeck shows conclusively that their force was not less than from two thousand two hundred to two thousand five hundred men, while Genera! Vincent states it to have been three thousand five hundred, with two hundred and fifty cavalry. Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey (afterwards Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick:), who had been sent by General Vincent to reconnoitre, recommended a night attack, which General Vincent determined on and advanced with a force of seven hundred and four men. Colonel Harvey led the attack; the enemy was completely surprised. He was charged again and again, and before daybreak the battle was over; the first and second officers in command, Brigadier-Generals Chandler and Winters. and upwards of one hundred officers, non-commissioned officers and men made prisoners and the remainder of the survivors in lull retreat to Forty-Mile Creek, where a junction was effected with two thousand men who were on their march to reinforce him. The British loss was twenty-three killed, including one lieutenant, twelve officers, nine sergeants and one hundred and fifteen men wounded arid fifty-five missing. On the 14 June Colonel Boerstler, of the United States Army, with a force of five hundred and forty-one men, having been sent to surprise an outpost in the vicinity, and having been rather severely handled on the way by Colonel Bisshopp, Colonel Clark of the Lincoln Militia and a few Indians, was summoned to surrender by Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) Fitzgibbon, who was at the head of some thirty men and two hundred Indians, which with praiseworthy exaggeration he represented to be many times their number and the vanguard of a large army in the immediate vicinity. Colonel Boerstler threw up the sponge and surrendered to this imposing force. Just as the enemy were being drawn up, Major De Haren, of the Canadian Fencibles, arrived with two hundred and twenty-nine men, and articles of capitulation were agreed upon. Very naturally, there was a row in Congress over this succession of mortifying defeats. It culminated in the recall of General Dearborn, who bad been scarcely been more fortunate than Generals Hull and Smvthe, and the taking of York and Fort George were amply avenged.


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